New Artists on RiverArts 19th Annual Studio Tour


Brady Hart, photo courtesy Sherrie von Sternberg

The RiverArts’ 19th Annual Studio Tour promises to be better than ever! This free, self-guided tour will take place October 20-21 and 27-28, 10;00-5:00, rain or shine. This year will be a banner year with 66 participants of which 21 are new to the tour. For the convenience of tour visitors, a number of artists will display their work together at a common venue other than their own studios. Nevertheless, visitors will get to chat with artists about their techniques and inspirations, see demonstrations, and can buy original art at studio prices.

The Brady Hart Gallery represents a vast collection of investment quality fine art as well as host studio tour artists. Brady will be showcasing some of his own creations as well as works by returning fiber artist, Judith Gunter, and artists new to the tour, Katherine Johnson, and Jim Gerkin.

Brady has been an art dealer for the past twenty years but was originally trained as a studio artist. His artwork includes nudes done in pencil, oil pastels and watercolor.  He also enjoys painting log canoe sailboats, trees, and landscapes.

Katherine Johnson designs one-of-a-kind hand-painted scarves, garments, accessories, and wall art. Nature is her main inspiration as well as her travels both locally and abroad, bringing in the rich colors and textures as seen in her work. She incorporates bold colors as well as softer shades using fiber reactive dye on silk.

Jim Gerkin is an Ohio artist who has clearly spent time painting people and places in Kent County. His watercolors are realistic interpretations of what he sees. His subject matter is broad: barns, farmsteads, boats, trucks and portraits, all with character. His paintings revolve around dramatic vantage points such as his painting of part of the Sultana’s mast during uprigging.

Along with returning artist, Jodi Bortz of Blue Canary Press, will be David Biehler at Maryland Heritage Properties. David considers himself a landscape photographer. His subjects are primarily of the natural world but are augmented by people and objects that fit into the natural setting. David embraces the facets of technology that free him from mundane tasks allowing him to create a feeling. Photos will include those from his travels to such places as Alaska, the U.S. Southwest, Canada, Italy, and the Great Smokies.

The RiverArts Education Center will have six booths of which one will be shared by new artist, Mary Coady, and her mentor since childhood, Heidi Wetzel. Both are fiber artists and basket weavers. They use unique and indigenous materials as well as materials brought back from travels. Their work ranges from traditional to sculptural to contemporary. Some are utilitarian and decorative while others are strictly decorative.

Capt. John Sharp

Photographer Linda Roy Walls will host two new artists. John Sharp, aka Captain John, depicts the culture and way of life working on the water, a way of life that may soon disappear, as well as the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay and the Eastern Shore. His oil paintings reflect his observations, memories, and experiences. Of late, he has expanded his focus to include other natural landscapes.

William Trainor likes to photograph points of interest and beauty as he walks and drives about. He particularly enjoys photographing landscapes and capturing scenes that have patterns and “abstractions.”   Bill works in both black and white and color. Generally, he prints his own photographs.

The Historical Society of Kent County will host returning artist, Allen Johnson, a woodcarver and painter, and new artist, Samuel Moore. Samuel uses his computer and tablet to create works that generate emotions. He chooses a photograph that he transposes to another photograph. Then he mixes and matches them to create works that are totally abstract or somewhat abstract with recognizable elements. His acrylic paintings have similar imagery with a lot of texture that is developed by layering his paints.

Farther afield, in Betterton, visit the studio of Cindy Stafford, a watercolor artist, who will be hosting returning jewelry artist, Joy Berghaus, and new artist, Martha Pileggi. Cindy’s studio is housed in a 100 year-old barn that has been completely renovated.

Martha Pileggi concentrates mainly on realistic plein air oil paintings of the Eastern Shore landscape including farms, wetlands, countryside and waterfronts. She likes to portray the open spaces and quietness of the landscape in its many forms and weather conditions. Martha wants viewers to feel a sense of peace and beauty when they look at her paintings.

To see the works of all the artists on the tour, visit the RiverArts Gallery, 315 High Street, in the breezeway. This month-long show opens First Friday, October 5th. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 11:00-5:30, Saturday, 10:00-5:30, Sunday 11-3, open until 8:00 on First Friday. During the tour Saturday and Sunday hours are 10:00-5:30.  Pick up a brochure at any number of area restaurants and businesses and visit the tour’s website, These will help you plan your tour.

Thanks go to the tour’s sponsors; Chesapeake Bank and Trust, Kent County Office of Tourism and Development and Baltimore radio station, WYPR.

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