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WSG Gallery owners branch out

March 15, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Looking toward the front door from the kitchen, the scene jumps out at you.

After Carl and Jody Wright moved into the 109-year-old, two-story home, they replaced the glass in the double door with a stained-glass piece they created.

It's a country scene with rolling hills, and in a transom window above the door, the date 1895 appears in the glass.

Carl Wright said the scene is designed to show what the view from their house would have been before the houses and other buildings popped up along Winchester Avenue over the years.

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But that now represents a previous life for the Wrights.

After producing thousands of pieces of stained glass since 1988, the duo is exploring other art forms. The two say it is part of the process of changing and growing as artists.

"It's a question of floating your boat. Aren't you to be enthusiastic about what you are doing in this world?" said Carl Wright.

The Wrights own and operate WSG Gallery, which is behind the Wrights' home at Winchester Avenue and Stephen Street. It is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For Jody Wright, the enthusiasm has meant paying tribute to all the animals she has known.

The Wrights have a soft spot in their hearts for animals, especially stray cats and dogs.

Jody Wright, who has painted through the years, decided to put her memories on canvas.

But these are not simply paintings of the pets.

If Jody were to simply paint one of the animals like a photograph, it would not do much for the viewer, the Wrights said. What she strives to illustrate in the paintings is the character of the animals.

She achieves it through colors that one may not normally associate with certain animals.

The warm, magenta-like color that appears on the face of the Chihuahua "Poco" is meant to reflect his shy nature, said Jody.

Looking at a German shepherd may cause one to hesitate. That's why Jody's painting of "Protector" shows eyes that "look like he's shaping you up for dinner," said Carl Wright. The blue used in the dog's face shows its warmer side.

Jody Wright said she wanted to create the paintings to help people understand the beauty in animals, which some people throw away.

"I'm after the spirit," said Jody Wright, who reserves a percentage of her art sales for a local no-kill animal shelter.

Carl Wright's start in sculpture was an evolution.

He always was intrigued by three-dimensional objects and has designed some of his own furniture, which once was shown at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown.

Carl took a few classes in sculpture and never looked back.

His first works combined wood and stone, like his illustration of a dolphin breaking the surface of water.

The dolphin's head is carved of stone and it appears at the edge of a wooden table that resembles a section of trailing water.

Now Carl's pieces are all stone, often made of alabaster. They are abstract, so people often see different messages or pictures in the works.

Using tools like a hammer and chisel, Carl turns rough boulders weighing up to 350 pounds into works of art in a shop behind the couple's home. It can take him up to six weeks to create a piece and the work has shown him that not all stone can be manipulated.

"I broke a good set of tools on West Virginia limestone," Carl said.

Carl and Jody Wright have had their works shown in various galleries in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., at Tamarack in Beckley, W.Va., Washington, D.C., and Colorado.

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