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“Late March Nocturne” by Colleen McGuire, an oil on panel, is one of the works in the show “Five” at North Elm Home from Oct. 9. Photo submitted

The Fruits of a Summer of Thinking and Painting in ‘Five’

Art

A show called “Five” and featuring the work of five accomplished female painters from the Tri-state region will be on display at the North Elm Home furnishings shop on Route 22 in Millerton, N.Y., until January. 

There will be an artist reception on Friday, Oct. 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. but the show of roughly 15 oil paintings and encaustic works can be seen at North Elm Home during its open hours. The five painters are Lilly Woodworth of Sharon, Conn., Susan Rand of Salisbury, Conn., Colleen McGuire of Sharon, Lesley Ehlers of Wassaic, N.Y., and Sallie Ketcham of Salisbury.

Woodworth, who has helped organize the show, noted that, “First of all, we are grateful to Cindy Dunleavy and John Scutieri, owners of North Elm Home, for taking on an exhibition during these uncertain times of COVID-19.”

All social distance rules and mask requirements will be observed. Which sounds kind of dire and grim when really this is an extremely upbeat and joyful show, about creating beauty and loving light, color, texture and the surrounding world. 

All five painters are known locally, and have used their time during the quarantine to try some new things. 

“This spring and summer, I painted large and small oil paintings while thinking about all the change in the air,” Woodworth said. “I continue to work in the studio, drawing and redrawing the trees, near and far, bright and moody, until I arrive at an image that seems true to me. 

“I suppose lockdown gave me new-found freedom to explore movement and color in the forest and flora. There is something going on in these winds of change.” 

With the work of all five artists, Woodworth said, “You will notice attention to the process itself, nature and color, but there is so much more to each of our pictures than that.”

Rand, who often paints buildings in the countryside, sometimes dark and moody, sometimes bright like something you’d see on the Riviera, is now doing a series on “water, light and swimmers in oil paint.” 

Of the others, Woodworth said, “Lesley’s imagery dances and brims with  joy and delight.  She is a graphic artist by trade but internalizes her considerable appreciation of plants, gardens, the wild, and the state of the environment. She cares deeply and decidedly channels her discoveries into her encaustic surfaces, brimming with wonder, delight and optimism. 

“Colleen studies — with clear devotion — her neighborhood.” Like Rand, McGuire is constantly experimenting with ways to reproduce the world around her, with oil on canvas paintings that always feel as though something interesting is just about to happen offstage somewhere. They are lovely and full of possibility.  

“Sallie continues to translate her wooded environs with confidence and acute painting strokes. She is  a photographer originally, a master printer, having worked extensively with Zea Printers in North Hampton, Mass. Her work is visually astute and exploratory. On the surface she paints woods, reflections in water and flowers, but she is a painters’ painter, always looking.”

Dunleavy and Scutieri are happy to have visitors come in on what Woodworth calls “art pilgrimmages.” 

North Elm Home is at 5938 N. Elm Ave. in Millerton. For store hours, go to www.northelmhome.com or call 518-789-3848.

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