Grandmother continues to learn, grow with art


July 16, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

OWEN BROWN resident Hjordis Bruce finds drawing portraits in pencil to be a meditative art form. It can take her up to 50 hours to finish one piece, but it's a very peaceful process, she said.

Bruce's work, along with those of two other east Columbia artists, is featured in the Howard Community College Invitational Art Exhibit that continues through July 28 at the Howard Community College Art Gallery. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The invitational is a summer exhibit of work by five outstanding students or alumni.

A retired grandmother of two, Bruce began her art career when her children were babies. She started making crafts to keep her mind stimulated - in addition to being a mother, she said. As her children grew, she moved on to painting, photography and, eventually, drawing.

Three years ago, Bruce retired from her 18-year job as a health club manager.

"I knew art would take a very important role in my life when I retired," Bruce said. "I just had to decide what kind of artist I wanted to be."

She turned to drawing because she found it to be freeing.

"I was always hesitant about construction and structure when working in the other art forms," Bruce said. "Drawing is where I really wanted to go. I love to see the form start to emerge - it's wonderful and exciting.

"Through the courses at the college, I'm learning how to see things more deeply, not just from the surface," she added. "I'm trying to come at it from the whole person."

Bruce doesn't begin a piece with an outline. "I start in the center and work out; it makes me feel like I am part of it," she said. "[The model's] personality comes through in the drawing. I never take a photograph and copy from it. I always use live models. That's why I do self-portraits; I'm always available."

For Bruce, art is more than a hobby. "Making my art gives me a chance to grow," she said. "It's a chance to overcome obstacles, not just technical, but those in my mind."

Also featured in the exhibition are ceramics by Stephen Markel of Owen Brown.

"Steve is a very bright young man with an interest in archaeology," said James Adkins, director of visual arts and the show's coordinator.

"His works look like they are from another country, in another time. What's interesting is they look like they are from different parts of the world. He uses ancient techniques to form his work. He has a real gift."

Photographs by retired cartographer Toshiko Mecklenburg of Oakland Mills are also on display. "Toshiko is interested in places and spaces after working as a cartographer," Adkins noted.

"I look for hidden beauty in the environment," Mecklenburg said. "When I see it, I just have to take a picture."

Photography is the perfect medium for her, she said, because it involves science, technology and fine art. She enjoys "photo-painting," a word she coined for manipulating pictures using computer programs such as Photoshop.

Information: James Adkins, 410-772-4512.

Seniors picnic

The Kings Contrivance Village Board is sponsoring a lunch for senior village residents at 11 a.m. Aug. 5 at Amherst House.

A main course and beverages will be provided. Guests are asked to bring a dessert to share.

"The picnic has been an annual event for several years," said Anne Dodd, the village manager. "It's a nice way to get the community together."

This year's event includes something special, Dodd said. The Golden Girls tap dance troupe, a senior dance group based at Florence Bain Senior Center, will entertain.

The event is free, but registration is required.

Information or registration: 410-381-9600 by Aug. 1.

`Live at Lake Elkhorn'

The free concerts in the bowl area at the Lake Elkhorn Spillway continue at 7 p.m. tomorrow with music by Jay Smar. The concerts are sponsored by the four east Columbia villages.

"The concerts are our way of saying `thank you' to the community," said Sarah Uphouse, Long Reach village manager. "It's a nice atmosphere where the kids can run and play. Parents can bring a picnic. It's not a formal crowd. It's nice summer fun."

In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held in the pavilion.

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