Tuesday, September 29, 2015

History and collage

Elizabeth Cappello says in her artist statement that she seeks inspiration from lost and forgotten images adapted in a personal way. Her current exhibit at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh brings her vision to viewers, combining the old and the overlooked. Some of the exhibited photographs feature pastel blue pottery by 18th century potter Josiah Wedgwood set in the gritty urban outdoors. 

Elizabeth is an adjunct instructor of art at the college and the exhibit is at the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center in the Dominican Center. It also includes her collage work, with patterns exploring themes of identity and cultural differences.

The potter Josiah Wedgwood was a prominent abolitionist and his legacy incudes the "Am I Not a Man and a Brother" anti-slavery medallion. The popular image, a cameo of the seal for the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, was mass produced and appeared in paintings, print and even ladies fashion. Wedgwood pottery is highly valued in today's market, a fitting legacy for an artist who used his talent not only to make art, but to spread a message to society about the wrongs of slavery. 

Elizabeth Cappello: www.elizabethjanedesigns.com

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sponge to the canvas

Thursday evening it was pouring rain, but that didn't bother my cousin and I who had signed up for a class at the Wallkill River School of Art in Montgomery. Our teacher, artist Nancy Reed Jones, guided us through our own landscape scene using acrylic paint and sea sponges.

Our class was part of the school's Paint & Sip lineup. These 2-hour $30 classes are perfect for beginners and great for groups. Held in the warm and cozy historic Patchett House that houses the school, you're invited to bring your own beverages to sip during your creation. After the class we walked out not only holding a painting of our own, but also having learned some basic art techniques. I was surprised to learn that the first element to go on our canvas was the sky, the furthest away, and ended with the final closeups of white flowers.

The school offers regular Paint & Sip parties, and they're not limited to sea sponges and landscapes. You can register online and even check out the painting the group will be working on before enrolling.

The school is home to an unlimited combination of art activities. There's a changing gallery of artists, regular receptions, and dozens of classes for adults, kids, beginners and advanced artists. Mediums include acrylic, drawing, oil, pastel and watercolor.

Our experience was lovely and we plan to return for another class. What a way to spend an evening, raining or not.

Wallkill River School of Art: www.wallkillriverschool.com