She lives and teaches art

Whiteford woman keeps creativity alive in her home, garden and studio

October 22, 2006|By Mary Ellen Graybill | Mary Ellen Graybill,Special to The Sun

The artist "is the real seer of life," said Carol Wolosik, an artist-educator, sitting in her garden at her "conversation herbal retreat" home and teaching studio in rural Whiteford.

"Art is life itself," she added. From the ground up, her garden bursts with colorful flowers in summer, interesting lines of plants and trees in fall, snowy atmosphere in winter. There are inviting slate pathways, and surprising and fun sculptures, such as a big cow sitting on the wooded hillside.

Inside the art studio, newsprint-covered tables and still-life objects await the eager artist, child or adult. There's a mirror for self-portraits, a printing press doubling as a flower press, and brushes, pastels and colored pencils that scent the air with that distinctive artist's studio smell.

"This is their studio because they know it. They know the materials, and this is their experimental spot," Wolosik said of her students.

"I love to walk around and be surprised by something, and I think my students like that as well," she said. "I just love that."

At her place in the country, art is everywhere. There's an outdoor tub in which to cool off after working in the garden, candles galore, wicker and green-painted wooden chairs on a deck that wraps around the house. As if a master designer is at work, a few feline friends sleep as streaks of sunlight silently land in shapes on their furry backs through the wooded canopy.

Carol Wolosik lives and teaches art, according to friends and colleagues.

Wolosik has worked in art in Harford County schools -- Hickory Elementary, Youths Benefit Elementary and Harford Community College. While working with Mary Woodward of Creative People in Bel Air, she observed that students liked having their art on display at the Bel Air Public Library. That set in motion an idea that just now is coming into being.

"I have a little niche," she said, "a rotating exhibit of my students' work at the Whiteford Library." She puts an announcement with photos of the artist and his or her work in the local paper, and finds that the children are thrilled to get some recognition.

Wolosik is also at the forefront of the movement to establish a Center for the Arts in Harford County, with Jim Butcher, musician Duke Thompson and others.

Her work as museum curator at the historic 200-acre Liriodendron estate has kept her in touch with the artists and musicians of the area. "She's the driving force behind the museum gallery at Liriodendron," said Ellen Pons, equine photographer and owner of the Country Life farm.

"When I was small, we all lived together on the farm," Wolosik said about a favorite grandmother and expert seamstress, Edith Hopkins, and a great-uncle, Marvin, who inspired her to learn about nature.

Wolosik received a degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art and moved to Whiteford from Baltimore County in 1976. She has raised a daughter, Heather, and now shares the property next door with her daughter and granddaughter, Lydia, who is carrying on the family tradition in art, winning awards for her efforts.

Wolosik's husband, David, is a retired telephone lineman and builder of the rustic barn studio building and their home.

"We really live in another world, and we like it like that," Wolosik said.

Fellow multimedia artist Carole Jean Bertsch recalled setting up a craft booth in Wolosik's garden, where up to 500 people gathered at an annual party to enjoy the arts.

This year, Carol and David will go back to the drawing board to create a garden party idea. They hope to create an event where artists such as Dave DeRan will show work, and musicians such as Pat Tanther of York, Pa., will play and sing.

Cooking up some treats might be in the plan, too. "She's a wonderful cook," said Roxanne DeRan, retired fourth-grade teacher at North Harford Elementary School.

With a new barn studio on the premises, and flexible classes, the options for artists are many, and all ages welcome, Wolosik said. Classes are planned on request. With six people in a class, the organizer gets the class free; and the cost for other participants is $25 per person, Wolosik said.

The motto these days is, "Anything we can do to keep the arts alive," she said.

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