Paintings and Drawings by William Willis at Adkins Arboretum

Share

A powerful and mysterious energy runs through William Willis’s work. In Presence and Place, his show of paintings and drawings on view through Dec. 1 at the Adkins Arboretum Visitor’s Center, his compelling, semi-abstracted trees and water, snakes and flying birds pulse with a vitality that is barely held in check. There will be a reception to meet the artist on Sat., Oct. 21 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Being out in nature is key to Willis’s art. At least once a week, he bicycles with his son and other members of the Talbot Mountain Bike group on the trails in Tuckahoe State Park. Many of the paintings in this show grew from encounters with the park’s trees and waterways, and a strong feeling that they are living entities permeates the show.

Anyone familiar with the way Tuckahoe Creek swells in a rainstorm and floods into the forest will recognize the trees rising from swirling water in “After the Rain.” As water streams around their trunks, gray paint marked with white scratches identifies a beech, while peculiar cream-colored spots on a bluish trunk denote one of the forest’s many sycamores.

“After the Rain” by William Willis

Willis’s need to be out in nature came early. Growing up in Florida, he often visited the woods near his home and began developing his keen sense of observation. Although he taught for two decades at the Corcoran School of Art and several other colleges and universities and has exhibited in numerous solo museum and gallery shows, he has continued to spend time hiking, bicycling and camping since settling in the Eastern Shore town of Preston in 1980.

Willis is keenly interested in how a sense of living presence can be picked up by honing one’s awareness. He has long been interested in Hindu and Buddhist philosophies that emphasize developing awareness, but he also traces this back to earlier times when it was essential for humans to use all their senses in order to survive.

Noting how a hunter will sit still for hours on end, not focusing on anything specific but being aware of everything around him, Willis said, “There’s a kind of side vision, a kind of indirect approach where your vision starts to open up to everything. There’s an obvious theory that meditation came from that kind of silent watching and sitting still. As they say, when you do that, the world comes to you—you don’t have to go to the world.”

Whenever he paints or draws, Willis goes through a deeply intuitive process of search and discovery. It’s obvious that the finished image doesn’t come easily. The trees, logs and meandering vines he paints are almost cartoonishly simple, but they are scarred and worn. Often, seemingly unrelated images partially show through from underneath. It’s as if he is thinking on the canvas, painting, then scraping parts of the image away, then painting some more. He may even cut up a canvas and collage part of it into another artwork. It’s a process of intense interaction, paring it down and building it up again in new ways until it hums with energy.

Certain motifs frequently recur in Willis’s work. There are pine trees with sweeping zigzag branches, sinuous lines that evoke snakes or twisting vines, and concentric rings of water borrowed from traditional Japanese screen paintings. Each of these contributes to the multilayered themes that give his work its astonishing richness. One favorite image is a flying goose.

“That image happened when I moved out here from the D.C. area and I was into lots of Hindu mythology,” he explained. “My friends teased me, ‘So you’re doing waterfowl paintings now.’ Hamsa is a Hindu mantra, but it’s also the goose. The whole thing is about how the goose can dive down out of the darkness and live on the surface of the water. At the same time, it can fly away to freedom.”

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Dec. 1 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Rd. near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

First Friday: RiverArts Reception and Exhibit

Share

Opening Reception: First Friday, October 6, 5 – 8 pm.  Join us for refreshments and the new Artists Exhibit for October. Be sure to vote for your favorite in the People’s Choice award. The exhibit will be on view through October 29.

Join the HP Festival fun with RiverArts!

This is your chance to

learn how to mix magic spells and potions to take home! 

Friday 5pm-7:30pm: Register here

Saturday 10am-4pm: Register here

 

 

 

At KidSpot – Friday5-7pm

 

Collage created by students at Kent County Schools with Aimee Boumeia

Concentric Circle Quilt by Kindergarten and 1st Grade classes

Triangle designs by 2nd and 3rd-grade classes

Wall Hanging by 4th and 5th-grade classes

Want to learn more about upcoming events, exhibits, classes?

Read all about it on our website.

Paintings by Kathryn O’Grady on View at Adkins Arboretum

Share

Artist Kathryn O’Grady will make you think differently about the flocks of blackbirds that are such a familiar sight in the Chesapeake region. In “Four and Twenty,” a series of blackbird “portraits” on view in Adkins Arboretum’s Visitor’s Center through Sept. 29, every bird is an individual with its own quirky personality.

In Close to the Big Pond, her show of oil paintings and watercolors augmented with crayon and metallic pigment, O’Grady zeros in on nature’s mind-boggling diversity and its irrepressible energy. There will be a reception on Sat., Aug. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. to meet the artist and learn how she became so entranced with Maryland’s birds and rural landscapes.

O’Grady has always been in love with color.

“It’s a deep-seated obsession,” she admitted. “I remember when I found out that Crayolas came in more than eight colors when I was two or three, I felt like my mother had been holding out on me.”

“Panic, Mayhem and Ullabee” by Kathryn O’Grady

Exhibiting at the Arboretum courtesy of Baltimore’s Steven Scott Gallery, O’Grady earned her BFA from Michigan State University and an MFA from the University of Texas and has shown her work widely in the U.S. In 1997, she moved from Texas to the tiny, rural town of Tracys Landing, south of Annapolis, where she has been painting the landscapes and birds near her house ever since.

“When we first moved here from Texas, my first overwhelming impression was I’ve got to find more colors of green paint,” she said.

As it turned out, she began to discover the many colors that underlie the green of plants and make it so lively. Like an Impressionist artist, when she painted an old tobacco barn sagging under the weight of a complicated tangle of vines, she did it with thousands of tiny strokes of scarlet, maroon, yellow, lime, pine green and shadowy blue. A riot of color and activity, it brilliantly captures how plants reclaim any building or field left vacant.

“I like seeing the plants take over,” O’Grady explained. “In Texas, it’s so hot and dry, it takes a lot longer for the plant life to reclaim the structures. Here it happens as soon as you turn your back.”

O’Grady had already been keeping chickens and peacocks when her daughter rescued a lost mallard duckling eight years ago and brought it home. Less than a day old, the exhausted bird fell asleep in O’Grady’s hand. Rather than put it in the aviary with her other birds, she raised it in the house until it was old enough to move to a nearby pond. Not long afterward, the duck returned, bringing along a new mate that she presented to O’Grady. The pair soon nested and began an extended family that still lives near the artist’s home.

“It changed the way I look at all birds,” O’Grady said. “I learned from my ducks that birds are individuals.”

In several portraits she has painted of her ducks, there’s no doubt of this. Each bird has its own distinctive personality. To make it even better, some of the portraits are accompanied by the ducks’ own stories engagingly told by writer Peter Guttmacher.

Throughout her paintings, O’Grady has a knack for capturing the vivacious energy of birds and plants, amiably conveying her awe of the indomitable spirit and incredible complexity of the natural world.

This show is part of Adkins Arboretum’s ongoing exhibition series of work on natural themes by regional artists. It is on view through Sept. 29 at the Arboretum Visitor’s Center located at 12610 Eveland Road near Tuckahoe State Park in Ridgely. Contact the Arboretum at 410–634–2847, ext. 0 or info@adkinsarboretum.org for gallery hours.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum is the region’s resource for native plants and education programs about nature, ecology and wildlife conservation gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

First Friday: See the Luminous Art of Steve Bleinberger at The Artists Gallery

Share

Port Tack” watercolor by Steve Bleinberger

On First Friday, August 4th, the Artists’ Gallery will present the work of Steve Bleinberger in “Water, Water, Everywhere,” with a reception to meet the artist that evening from 5-8 pm.   The show will hang in The Artists’ Gallery throughout the month of August.

Growing up as a teenager on the shores of Thomas Point, Maryland, Steve was surrounded by water and within the sight and sound of an active lighthouse.  It was there that he experienced firsthand, the waters of the Chesapeake in all forms- from capping waves to beautiful glassy calms and everything in between.  “Painting in the most wonderfully fluid of mediums – watercolor – I strive to capture the look and most importantly, the feel of an authentic Maryland treasure:  The Chesapeake Bay.”

“Bay’s Magic Light” watercolor by Steve Bleinberger

Steve Bleinberger holds a BFA degree with advanced art studies from Richmond’s Virginia Commonwealth University.  He is a member of local, regional and national art clubs, conducts watercolor workshops and demos, and judges creative competitions.  His work is exhibited throughout the mid-Atlantic region and has gained respect and admiration for depicting Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Chesapeake Bay waterscapes, Bay work boats and the dwindling ranks of those that man them.   Steve’s paintings can be found in private collections as well as the homes and offices of Chesapeake racing skippers, “Tall Ship” captains, Bay Pilots, tugboat owners, naval officers, a noted marine historian and a President of the United States.

First Friday, August 4, exhibit and reception for artist Steve Bleinberger from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. The Artists’ Gallery is located at 239 High Street in Chestertown and is open daily from 10-5, Tuesday through Saturday, and Sundays from 12:30-4:30.  For more information, please see the Artists Gallery website or call 410-778-2425.  

“Skipjacks” watercolor by Steve Bleinberger

“Dawn Patrol” watercolor by Steve Bleinberger

“Cap’n, We are Flyin’ Home!” watercolor by Steve Bleinberger

###

Chainsaw Art at the Kent County Fair

Share

Josh Miller is a Kent County boy.  Born and raised.  He grew up in Chestertown, attended Kent County High School and graduated from there in 1999.  Then he began his wandering. First, he went to Nashville, Tennessee, to an automotive painting school.  He had always had an artistic side. That led to a career in building and custom-painting motorcycles.  Did I mention that he also had a mechanical side?  A very good one, too. Well, one thing led to another and pretty soon he was custom-painting drones for the military.  They loved his work.  In fact, they loved it so much that one of them was chosen to be hung in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum where you can go see it any day.

This weekend, Josh Miller is wandering back to his old stomping grounds.  You can see him in action at the Kent County Fair this weekend, where he will be demonstrating the latest turn in his artistic and mechanical career – chainsaw art – specifically chainsaw wood sculptures.  Josh will be on-site all three days of the fair.  Several of his sculptures will be included in the Saturday evening auction.  Don’t miss your chance to own your own chainsaw sculpture!

For the past two years, Miller has been on the Eastern Shore, living in Felton, Delaware, with his wife and two daughters. Before then the family was in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania.  It was there that Miller was first inspired to turn his chainsaw into an artist’s tool.  He had to cut down a tree and thought why not have some fun, turn this into art.  Thus was born Josh Miller’s chainsaw sculpture career.  He’s been making and selling chainsaw sculptures ever since.

Miller’s subjects range from the sacred to the profane, the ridiculous to the sublime, with an emphasis on nature.  His bears are especially popular.  His birds are beautifully detailed.  His humor is home-spun and pun-full, some visual puns, some verbal.  To see more, be sure to stop by his FaceBook page.  After you’ve been to the fair, of course.

Chainsaw sculpture by Kent County native Josh Miller.

 

Rifle-stand with boots. Every cowboy needs one!

Carving a bear

Three-person “butt bench” – we didn’t ask who the model was.

Horse bench – on display this weekend at the Kent County Fair

 

 

 

The Artists Gallery Features the Work of Barbara Zuehlke on First Friday

Share

 

Quiet Evening 2, watercolor by Barbara Zuehlke

This First Friday, July 7th, the Artists Gallery will feature the work of one of their partners, Barbara Zuehlke, with a reception to meet the artist that evening from 5-8 pm.  The show will hang throughout the month of July.

This body of work entitled, “Shadows and Patterns,” was inspired by the dramatic colors, glow and shadows of landscapes often found in late daylight, and by the cast shadows that create contrast and drama in still life and floral paintings.   Zuehlke says, “I feel that so much of good painting is about light. I am a triad watercolor painter, so all the paintings are created from three pigments: one red, one yellow, and one blue.”  Examples of three pigments Barbara uses are: Indigo, Quinacridone Gold, and Brown Madder or Permanent Rose, Indanthrene Blue and Lemon Yellow.

Having Tea, watercolor by Barbara Zuehlke

Barbara Zuehlke is an award winning Eastern Shore artist, and works in various mediums from serigraph to oil, with a primary focus on watercolor.  She enjoys working wet on wet (wet pigment on wet paper,) creating a softness and flow while combining the sharp edges of working on dry paper.  She believes that good drawing is the basis for good painting and the observer needs to feel the flow of watercolor or the rich gooeyness of oil.

The artist is a native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan and attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she earned a BFA in graphics and painting.  Her commercial experience began with J.L. Hudson Company in Detroit, Michigan designing large-scale animated and still display promotions, followed by display coordination management of John Wannamakers in Philadelphia.  She has also worked free-lance in wrapping paper and logo designs.

Backlit Lilies, watercolor by Barbara Zuehlke

Barbara continues to show her work extensively, from a one-person show at The Dorchester Center for the Arts to the Academy Arts Museum in Easton, the annual Oxford Art Show and Local Color in Easton.  She has garnered numerous awards and a multitude of recognition for her outstanding work.  In addition to her partnership with The Artists’ Gallery, Barbara is an active member of The Working Artists Forum in Easton.  She presently operates her art studio and a quality frame shop in her Eastern Shore home.

Western Glow, watercolor by Barbara Zuehlke

The Artists’ Gallery is located at 239 High Street in Chestertown and is open daily from 10-5, Tuesday through Saturday, and Sundays from 12:30-4:30.  For more information about Barbara’s work, please visit The Artists Gallery ‘s website or call 410-778-2425.

RiverArts 18th Annual Studio Tour

Share

Come visit behind the scenes at various artists’ studios during the Chestertown RiverArts Studio Tour during the last two weekends in October.

Ever wonder how an artist can look at an old, dilapidated barn and make it “pop” on canvas or paper? Would you like to visit with a metal artist who makes delicate vessels, unique wall art, and large outdoor sculpture, some of it displayed in his own sculpture garden? How is intricate jewelry made from polymer clay or from precious and semi-precious stones that sometimes have meanings associated with them? What are the different decorative techniques in pottery? How does the boldness of the Talavera style of painting on pottery compare to a multi-layered spray application of glaze that makes a piece of porcelain look so lacy and delicate?

Find the answers on the RiverArts 18th Annual Studio Tour that takes place over two weekends, October 21-22 and 28-29, 10:00-5:00, rain or shine. This free self-guided tour on the picturesque Eastern Shore of Maryland includes close to 50 artists, many of them nationally-known, who will invite you into their studios to talk about their art, demonstrate their techniques and offer original art for sale at studio prices.

“Sheds and Silos” – pastel by Mary Pritchard

The art is as diverse as the artists who create it, with styles ranging from traditional to avant-garde, expressed in a variety of media that include painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork, pottery, fiber, woodcraft, jewelry, furniture, glass, and more. The venues vary from galleries and independent studios in small art complexes to artists’ homes – some detached from the main house and some inside the house itself.

Situated on a scenic peninsula where the Chester and Sassafras Rivers meander into the Chesapeake Bay, Kent County has retained its serene beauty despite the passage of time. Historic Chestertown, located on the banks of the Chester River, is the oldest mid-Atlantic port of entry in the state dating back to the 1640s. It has been designated by the state of Maryland as an Arts and Entertainment District. Its Mayor, Chris Cerino, remarked, “The downtown arts scene has grown by leaps and bounds in the past decade….Chestertown is fast becoming a regional arts destination.” In addition to the charm of Chestertown, out-of-towners often remark on how much they enjoy the tranquility of the countryside, water views, and small, friendly towns.

Wearable Art by Joy Berghaus

Visitors are encouraged to start their tour at the RiverArts Gallery, 315 High Street – in the breezeway, by viewing an exhibit representing work by the various Studio Tour artists. The exhibit opens on First Friday, October 6, 11:00 am-8:00 pm and is up through November 29. Studio Tour brochures may be found at the Gallery and at restaurants and shops throughout Kent County.

If you are digitally inclined, note that the website is mobile ready and contains many features that will facilitate navigation, including interactive maps and pre-planned routes. Each artist is listed by name, location, and medium. It will even give you a list of the studios that are handicap-accessible, and find other attractions such as restaurants and B&B’s.

Combine your Studio Tour with other events! On Downrigging Weekend, October 28-29. Chestertown’s schooner, Sultana, is joined by many historic tall ships and Chesapeake Buy-Boats. Many of the art studios are within an easy walking distance of the ships. All this makes for a fun family outing.

“Japanese Maple Sphere” – metal sculpture by Rob Glebe

Just outside of town the Olde Kent Quilters Guild Show and Market includes approximately 60 quilts of all colors, shapes, and sizes at the Kent Center, 215 Scheeler Road. The show is also open on the 28th and 29th. For more information call 410-490-7102.

Chestertown is 90 miles from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia, all well situated for a day trip. However, there are so many artists on the tour, it might prove enjoyable to spend a weekend or two. To help you plan your trip, go to the RiverArts Studio Tour’s website. You may also call 410-778-6300 or email us at info@chestertownriverarts.org. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11:00-4:00, Saturday, 10:00-4:00, Sunday 11:00-3:00. During the tour, hours are Saturday and Sunday 10:00-5:00.

For information on lodging, restaurants, and other attractions go to the Kent County website or contact our Tourism Development Office at 410-778-0416 or email tourism@kentcounty.com.

RiverFest – June 28 – A Celebration of Art & the River

Share

At 6:00 pm Wednesday, June 28,  RiverArts invites everyone to gather along the Chester River to celebrate the unveiling of new sculptures by three truly creative artists: Cindy Fulton, Rob Glebe, and Morgan Raimond. The unveiling will be followed by a party and dinner cruise aboard the Chester River Packet.  The artwork will be situated along the waterfront foot bridge between High Street and the marina and will remain up through Labor Day Weekend.

It will be visible in the evening as well, via solar lighting.

River Orrery by Patti & Dave Hegland & Breon Gilleran at the 2016 RiverFest

Cindy Fulton has created a 7 foot sculpture titled “Neptune’s Grasses” made of weathered copper. “My copper sculptures are reflective of things that I see in nature. We live in a forest next to a creek so I get my inspiration from grasses, trees, and bushes.” Cindy uses different types of copper and bends and pounds it into shapes that she sees around her. The colors of the copper vary depending on how oxidized it has become. The copper for “Neptune’s Grasses” has had many years of weathering helped by a bit of Cindy’s oxidation procedures.

Rob Glebe has created a 6 foot high bee hive, entitiled “Beekind.”  It is  made of Corten steel, which will develop a nice patina over time. “Last year I had a bee hive sighted on my property. And it has been a real learning experience. So I guess my thoughts are a continuing theme of how to bring attention to the world of bees. They play such an important role in our life cycle and people forget all they do for us. All they want is a little respect!”

Morgan Raimond’s sculpture, “Feeling the Pinch” is an  8 foot tall,  site specific copper sculpture of a Chesapeake Bay blue crab reaching out of the Chester River. The iconic blue crab claw represents aspects of the region presently. The dichotomy of the strong, menacing claw is juxtaposed with the fragile eco-system of its environment in its current threatened state.

Tickets are $75 and include a two-hour party and cruise on the Chester River Packet, a 1920 style, 65’ classic yacht completely restored by local craftsmen, as well as a champagne reception, appetizers, and dinner.

This is a celebration as well as a fundraiser for RiverArts. It helps keep the doors open at KIDspot, buy new equipment for the Clay Studio and supports our new ArtsAlive! Education Center. Half of the cost is tax deductible.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.chestertownriverarts.net  and click on Events. You may also call the RiverArts Gallery at 410-778-6300 or visit the gallery at 315 High Street (at the end of the breezeway). Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11-4, Saturday 10-4, and Sunday, 11-3

All are welcome! Come for a delightful evening on the water while supporting one of Chestertown’s great community assets.

RiverFest – June 28 – 6:00 pm  at the Chester River along the foot bridge between High Street and the marina for unveiling of new statuary .  The art will remain up through Labor Day Weekend.

Mid-Shore Arts: The Beauty of Catch and Release with Photographer Todd Forsgren

Share

When you first look at Todd Forsgren’s photography, it is hard not to be slightly unnerved by the images that he captures. Some of the world’s most beautiful birds are photographed at the time they have entered into a ornithologists research net, and it’s difficult not to assume that the animal is under severe duress.

But after you find out that Todd has worked with some of the leading ornithology labs in the world on this project, and that it is part of an international effort to save these bird species, you warm up to this very brief moment of incarceration. In fact, you are left seeing them and their extraordinary grace on their own.

Todd’s photography, which is on display at the Academy Art Museum until the end of the month, is a striking reminder of how phenomenal these creatures are which makes it all the more important that they sometimes temporarily fall victim to a researcher’s net.

The Spy caught up with Todd as he was hanging his show to discuss his passion for his subjects, and the delicacy of his images.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about Todd Forsgren’s exhibition at the AAM, please go here.

Todd Forsgren: Birdwatcher And Ecologist
Academy Art Museum 
April 22, 2017 – May 30, 2017