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The art of shopping in Ellicott City

Bonita Glaser, "Ellicott City Train Station," watercolor
Bonita Glaser, "Ellicott City Train Station," watercolor (Courtesy photo)

A lot of the foot traffic along Main Street in Ellicott City in December is the result of consumers who want to shop local during the holiday season. The artist members of the Artists’ Gallery have a group exhibit whose title, “The Gift of Art,” qualifies as truth in advertising.

Exhibiting work in various mediums, these artists offer artwork you won'’ find at a standard big-box store. Although they exhibit similar work in this space throughout the year, this is the season when you really find yourself wondering what would look nice hanging above the fireplace or, for that matter, what would fit inside a stocking.

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As the season officially becomes winter, you can’t be blamed for noticing pieces of art that reflect its snowy whiteness.

Jing-Jy Chen has watercolor and ink works on paper that in some cases represent birds perched on snow-covered branches. In “Red Berries,” the birds are so small that your attention initially may go instead to the bright red berries that stand in such vivid contrast to the snowy surroundings.

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An artist who immerses a human subject in the season is Cheryl Lucente, whose oil painting “Russian Winter” features a well-dressed woman seated in a plush chair that’s resting in a snow-covered field that’s backed by conifers and mountains. Although the woman wears a long dress and has a fur hat atop her head, you can’t help thinking it’s a tad chilly out there. There’s no need to worry, judging from the placid expression on her face. She’s a Russian lady, after all, who seems perfectly comfortable out there.

Other winter subjects include John Stier’s photograph “Icicles and Aspens,” a spare and bright image comprised of a few bare trees and a red-sided building with long icicles dangling from it.

Actually, most of the art in this show is not winter-themed. Much of it is sensitive to natural subject matter, however, and it’s interesting to see how these artists approach nature in different ways.

Jing-Jy Chen has a watercolor and ink “Blue Heron” in which the artist pays considerable attention to detailing its feathers. By stylistic contrast, Deborah Hoeper’s acrylic painting “Golden Fall” relies upon melting orange, yellow and green tones to convey a sense of that season’s blurry blending of foliage colors; and Ellen Corddry’s white line color woodcut “Wyman Park, Baltimore” utilizes white-outlined blocks of natural colors to suggest the pictorial building blocks of a landscape composition.

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Additional landscape subjects include several watercolors by Bonita Glaser depicting Ellicott City’s train station, churches and other buildings. You can look at her art and then step outside and see the real thing.

Among other artists displaying their work, the craftiest include the woodworkers. Ron Brown’s “Ambrosia Maple Bowl” and Jordon Kitt’s “Walnut Wedge” are two of the pieces emphasizing subtle variations in wood grain and natural coloration. It’s an opportunity to slow down your holiday rush and contemplate art.

“The Gift of Art” runs through Jan. 7 at the Artists’ Gallery, 8197 Main St. in Ellicott City. Call 443-325-5936 or go to artistsgalleryec.com

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