Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Way of the Brush & Scroll Saw Designs

During the month of graduations and weddings the Library's Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery will play host to THE WAY OF THE BRUSH, paintings by Nell Ruth Brown & Peggy Underwood and SCROLL SAW DESIGNS by Curt L. Wilkins. Their exhibit will run from Tuesday, May 31 until Thursday, June 30, 2011.

Nell Rose Brown has been a member of our community for the past three years. She paints every first and third Tuesday morning at the Rotary Jail Museum with a mixed group of artists who enjoy sharing their knowledge in different mediums with one another. All are welcome in this group from beginners to more experienced artists. On the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, Nell Rose paints with Mike Bowman at the Library from 6:00 pm to 8 pm. This class is also an informal group who share information on art and welcome all ages and talents. The first art medium Nell Rose became acquainted with several years ago was oil which she continues to paint in today. She has no formal art training, but has taken classes from various artists, read books and done a lot of practicing. "Practice," says Nell Ruth "is the key to anything you love to do". Art remains a hobby for her, but she loves looking at a blank canvas and bringing it to life with brushes and paint. Nell Ruth is currently a member of the Covered Bridge Art Gallery in Rockville, Indiana and shows her paintings there and is a Jailhouse Artist.

This past winter was unusually snowy and seemed to last much longer than usual, causing sometimes noisy complaints from the multitudes. But Peggy Underwood was not one of them. This artist/photographer enjoyed great beauty each day of the winter just by looking out her window at the graceful maple tree fitted with a large bird feeder hanging from one of its limbs. There she found so many birds awaiting their turn at the feeder that the tree appeared to be filled with color. She saw bright red male Cardinals, the rose chest and heads of the House Finch, the bright yellow of the American Goldfinch and the soft down hues of the Dove. Occasional Blue Jays made their appearance at the call of angry, hungry squirrels. Several dead branches on the tree provided food for the downy, red-headed and pileated woodpeckers. These colors, combined with the morning sunlight spilling onto freshly fallen snow, made the winter season spectacular for Peggy Underwood who, with her camera, made it memorable. The more photos she took, the more bird varieties appeared in her camera's eye. These included Hawks, and Bald Eagles. Peggy asks us to browse through the gallery, enjoying the extraordinary color and beauty of Indiana birds and wildlife that perhaps you may have missed during the enduring cold, icy season Hoosiers call WINTER!

This exhibit has expanded from her previous exhibit of oil paintings to include her newer hobby of photography. She started photography as a serious hobby over 30 years ago. With guidance from a then local wedding photographer, she became adept at seeing beauty through the lens of the camera. She has done wedding photography, baby and senior portraits in the past, but much refers to focus on florals and animals as a hobby. Her photography background also enhances her reference material for painting.
With her exhibit at the Library's Mary Bishop Memorial Art Gallery, Peggy has her paintings hanging at the Rotary Jail Museum, Country Hearts and Flowers, Turkey Run Inn and in the Covered Bridge Art Gallery in Rockville. She is a Jailhouse Artist, part of Mike Bowman's Library Art group and plans to join the Paint-In artists in Montgomery County later this year.

Throughout his life Curt L. Wilkins has always enjoyed building and refurbishing furniture as a hobby. After retirement, his wife suggested he find something to occupy his time and keep him out of the house! While walking through a mall one day they came upon a man who demonstrated carving names out of wood. While the gentleman was carving his wife's name, she asked Curt if he could do that. With his male ego intact he said "well of course I can!" Soon after, to Curt's surprise a scroll saw arrived at his home where he was informed it was a Birthday, Father's Day and Christmas present all rolled into one. This was in 1998 and he has enjoyed working with it ever since. Curt found local mills where he could gather his supply of oak, cherry, walnut and pine woods. This lumber had to be planed, stacked, and dried. Wood selection is very important to a piece. After deciding what he wants to create, he has to choose the color and even which way the grain is flowing. Knot holes and even blemishes can be worked into the project. While waiting for the wood to become ready, Curt started looking for and buying patterns and practicing them on pieces of scrap lumber he had around. Family members received lots of wood pieces as gifts that year. His first pieces were sold to friends of friends and through word of mouth his reputation spread like wild fire. Soon he began receiving requests. Now his projects may be seen at art fairs and galleries throughout Indiana and Florida.
His greatest pleasure comes from doing animals, most especially wolves which are his favorites. By using the grain of the wood he can bring out the animal's features. Sometimes he even leaves bark on the edges to help a picture look more rustic.

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