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The Mature Students of Northlight's Art Class


Now an anticipated tradition, the Northlight Art Center’s 12th annual adult student exhibition opened at the Sharon Historical Society’s gallery space in Sharon, Conn., on Saturday, March 11, drawing a significant turnout to see and purchase the works.

The sense of “being creative” has sustained Wallie MacMillan’s interest in the sessions at Northlight Art Center since she started as a beginner in 2018, working in black and white first with a type of charcoal pencil. She is now pleased to be one of this year’s ten exhibitors. A total of 28 works are in the students’ show, including media such as oil sticks, pastels, watercolors, and colored pencils.

“It’s fun,” MacMillan said, adding “a nice group of people.” She said that her progress is due to “Pieter’s patience,” referring to Pieter Lefferts, the art teacher and founder of Northlight.

Among the early transactions of the evening was Kathleen Kulig’s pastel “Winter Stream,” enthusiastically purchased by Sharon resident Jodi Smith.

“You’re immediately there,” Smith said. “It’s so Sharon, so this area.”

“I look forward to this event each year, delighted with the range and quality,” Sharon Historical Society’s Executive Director Christine Beer commented. She applauded that “certain kind of attitude among the student artists as they support one another.”

Beer drew a parallel between the Northlight student show and the historical society’s mission of strengthening the community.

“I bought the chicken,” said Paddy Rossbach, referring to artist Cathleen Halloran’s colorful interpretation of an alert rooster, “Mr. Marketplace.” She said that the painting is to be a gift to a friend, most likely. Cathleen Halloran is in her class at Northlight, she explained, indicating that next year, Halloran may be going to tackle a donkey as a subject.

“I absolutely love the exhibit,” said Pieter Lefferts, who leads Northlight. For the past seven years, Lefferts has offered art sessions within the Northlight space in the Fudgy’s Plaza, in Amenia, N.Y. A few of the artists admitted to frequenting Fudgy’s Ice Cream before or after their art sessions.

Drawing a distinction between an art teacher and a teaching artist, Lefferts said that he is the latter. “I teach to the individual,” he said. “I get an impression of how each student would benefit from my teaching. It can be technical or philosophical.”

Before his move to the Amenia space, Lefferts said that Northlight had been located in Sharon, at the site of the present Sharon Country Inn.

“I love it,” Lefferts said. “I love the opportunity to bring out what is in a person through art.”

“Learning to draw will set you free as an artist,” Lefferts said. “You develop a skill set that brings confidence to explore other modes of expression.”

“And I get to watch them do it,” Lefferts added, “and I serve tea.”


The Northlight exhibit will be on view at Sharon Histroical Society through May 5.

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