A 'Very Good Year' for Valley Art Association

January 05, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

Members of the Valley Art Association are bringing in the new year with memories of 2005.

Starting Friday, Jan. 6, the association's January all-member show will be "It Was a Very Good Year." The title also serves as the theme. Artists have interpreted that theme through images of nature, homesteads and farms. One work shows a bikini-clad woman splashing in ocean waves, and another captures a child's excitement opening a Christmas present.

"Starting the year out, we thought this would be a good theme," says Donna Mason, president of the art association. "It's whatever anybody's concept is of 'it was a very good year.'"

Mason's addition to the show is an oil painting of her grandson Andrew ripping wrapping paper off a Christmas gift.

"I named the painting, 'Is It a Firetruck?'" Mason explains. For Christmas 2004, Andrew kept asking for a firetruck, but not until Christmas 2005 did he receive the long awaited red engine.


"He finally got his firetruck this past Christmas, so it was a very good year for him," Mason says.

Artist Anna Hogbin revisited her year with a watercolor painting of a rocky Maine sea shore.

"I think in our year we need to touch base with Mother Nature quite frequently," Hogbin says. Her painting shows several strands of kelp washed over rocks at the point where the ocean meets the rocky shore.

"I love the reflective qualities of the wet sand and the rocks," she says.

Elaine Schleigh sees a good year in the beauty of the land. Two of her works are part of the January exhibition. The watercolor "Harvest Home" shows an idyllic country home nestled among planted fields. "I just thought it was bright and cheery, like it's going to be a good harvest year," Schleigh says.

Her other watercolor work, "Going Home," was inspired by a photograph her father took at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Md.

Schleigh's version of the photo shows a snow-covered bridge on the battlefield grounds. Her father is a volunteer at the battlefield and enjoys taking pictures on snowy days when no one is visiting, she says.

"It's always a good year when my father can walk through the battlefield," Schleigh says.

The Valley Art Association also is planning to have a good year in 2006. The next all-member show, which could showcase any number of the approximately 100 Valley Art members, is scheduled for March. Entitled "How Does Your Garden Grow?" the show will feature floral works and special events tied in with the theme. For example, the association plans to invite local garden clubs to come for a tea during the show. During an open house, association members will give demonstrations of painting floral still lifes.

In June, in connection with the Western Maryland Blues Fest, the association will hold a juried miniature show, where all paintings must be smaller than an index card.

The association's monthly feature show often highlights the work of one artist or a small group of artists. In February, the north gallery of the Mansion House Gallery in Hagerstown's City Park will feature the work of Lynn Johnson. In April, Diane Wollard will have her own show, and June Savannah is scheduled to display her work in May.

If you go ...

WHAT: "It Was A Very Good Year," Valley Art Association's January all-member show

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays, starting Friday, Jan. 6, through Sunday, Jan. 29.

WHERE: The Mansion House Gallery, City Park, Hagerstown

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, call 301-797-6813.

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