Artist captures shore humor in her beach 'people-scapes'

At the BEACH

July 09, 1993|By Audrey Haar | Audrey Haar,Staff Writer

Salisbury -- Artist Barbara Lee Petterson calls them her "people-scapes."

Forget the beautiful people who spend hours primping for a day at the beach.

The subjects of her beach paintings have tan lines, cellulite and beer bellies. Just call them the normal bodies who would never win a "best body on the beach" contest.

Ms. Petterson's collection of "Humorous Beach People" is on exhibit at the Salisbury Art Institute through July 16.

"People look at them and smile and look again. Then it's my job to keep them [looking]," says Ms. Petterson. "I call it photo realism -- as people really appear at the beach.

"You take a non-stuffy subject and make it a serious subject."

L These are beach scenes you've probably seen countless times.

One frame has a pot-bellied man with a beer can in hand leering at a woman passing by. Another is of three boys industriously building a sand castle while a man snaps their picture.

There is one painting of a woman clutching more beach bags than she can carry, and a rear view of two overweight women walking away.

It was natural that the artist who lives in the beach community of Lewes, Del., would eventually start doing beach scenes. It's just that sand dunes and sea gulls didn't inspire her. People did.

"To me the subject matter is an excuse to paint," says Ms. Petterson. "I was well-grounded in figurative painting, and I love the beach."


What: "Humorous Beach People" by Barbara Lee Petterson

Where: Salisbury Art Institute and Gallery, U.S. 50 and Lemmon Hill Lane, Salisbury

Hours: Noon to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; through July 16

$ Call: (410) 546-4748

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