Show gets artists painting outside the lines

Arts Council exhibit encourages artisans to try `Something New'

February 04, 2007|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Sun Reporter

Dorothy Eby does not normally paint in watercolor. Felisa Flecker does not use silk as a medium for paintings. Carolyn Seabolt does not do portraits of people. William Weaver had never painted a snow scene, nor had Beverly Mey painted an elephant.

The recurring theme of the Carroll County Arts Council's exhibit, Something New, is just that - 41 new works by 25 members of the Carroll County Artists Guild.

"We wanted to do something different beyond what's normally shown in these kinds of exhibits," said Pat Brodowski, the Artists Guild's exhibit committee chairwoman. The Artists Guild is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

"We wanted everybody to stretch - whether they did a new medium, subject, approach or concept - a new way of looking at things they've seen before."

Eby's watercolor Blue Ridge Rhapsody was her first attempt with that medium. She normally uses acrylic, as in her painting Zinnias in an Old Pot, or oils.

"Blue Ridge Rhapsody was completely different in watercolor," said Eby, of Westminster. "I was very selective with my colors to get them to blend and to bring the mountains out. I just let the colors flow and blend together, and it worked out beautifully."

While creating the mountain scene - landscapes and florals are standard subjects for her - Eby found watercolor to be "very temperamental, completely different from any other medium. It's a one-shot thing. You either get it right or you don't," she said.

Flecker, whose background is in watercolor, deviated to painting dyes on silk with Isabel's Gift, sparkling red roses on a pastel green background of silk, textured using salt.

"I took classes in doing dyes in silk, but I did my own thing on blending the colors," Flecker said. "The texture on the background, after you do the roses and leaves and everything else, you put water on it, and you do it with salt. The salt breaks down the colors, and separates the colors, and gives you the texture."

She also created, on impulse, a translucent layered fish in red, orange and yellow in watercolor, acrylic and paper. Originally from Cuba, the Reisterstown resident also is accomplished in acrylics, woodwork and collage.

Brodowski has two somewhat abstract pieces in the show - one a farm scene and one an imaginative aerial road view - that vary from her usual detailed landscapes.

"I looked at the satellite photos on the Internet of Snydersburg and Cape Horn roads and tried to imagine what the road looks like before you get to it," Brodowski said of the mostly blue and green rural scene crossed by a lavender and orange road.

The colorful farm scene shows a winding road, with orangy-red toothpick-style poles on either side, leading to the yellow, dark blue and orange farm buildings beneath a cobalt blue sky.

Other striking paintings in the show include a highly detailed close-up oil painting of an elephant's head by Mey; a snow scene of the farmhouse where he grew up by Weaver, painted from a photo he took 55 years ago; a shimmering painting of apple blossoms in oil on sheets of copper leaf by Barbara Schnell; a Westminster street scene by Lucille Kerns; a woman's portrait by Seabolt, who normally paints cats; and an eye-catching acrylic portrait of her husband by Anna Stewart.

The one non-painting is a photograph by Carmen Blosveren of a sculpture of red flames at the Israeli pavilion at the Biennial of Architecture 2006 held in Venice.

Brodowski said the show is colorful.

"It's hard to ask people to do something different in four or five months' time," she said.

A recent reception for the exhibit brought out about 100 people who voted for their favorite paintings in four categories. The winners were: Eby, for "greatest artistic leap" for her mountain watercolor; Flecker for "creative use of media" for the roses on silk; Ray Hartland for "best presentation" for a fall scene of hunting dogs; and Mey for "intriguing concept" for the elephant head.

"I commend them for challenging themselves to do something new," said Sandy Oxx, executive director of the Carroll County Arts Council. "It's a nice collection of work representing a lot of stretching artistically."

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