ANN SCHLUEDERBERG'S vocation is the field of virology, but her avocation is painting.
For more than 35 years, Schluederberg worked as a virologist for such prestigious institutions as Yale University, the National Institutes of Health and the Johns Hopkins University. Yet she yearned for a creative outlet.
She found it the day her husband, Richard, gave her a paint set.
"I didn't know I was art-starved," she said. "I loved it."
While raising five children, Schluederberg would try to find free time to indulge her passion for painting. "Because I worked, I had very little time," she said.
She began taking lessons in drawing and painting and soon decided on watercolors as her preferred medium. "Watercolor is portable so it's not a problem like oils," she said.
Oil painting requires a lot of clean-up time, and canvases must dry completely before they are stored.
Now 71, the Wilde Lake resident has discovered a new way to satisfy her creative passions: digital visual art. An exhibit of her work, titled "Transformation," is on display at Artists' Gallery in Town Center.
It's not surprising that Schluederberg, a scientist, is comfortable working with technology.
"A lot of the digital stuff, it's very helpful if you understand the math involved," she said.
But she didn't realize how much fun computers could be until recently.
"My husband and I go to Florida for the winter," she said. "A couple of years ago, I noticed that there was a Digital Fine Artists Association there. I joined the organization and went to its annual symposium."
It was luck - literally - that led Schluederberg to produce digital visual art. At the symposium, she entered a drawing for a computer graphics software package. She won.
"Being a watercolorist, I was interested in using digital art to reproduce my watercolors, but I didn't imagine that I would use it in an abstract fashion," she said.
Using a digital camera, Schluederberg began taking pictures of patterns in the sand. She loaded the pictures on the computer and began playing with the images.
"On the computer, you can experiment with composition and value patterns such as light and dark contrast, and color," she said.
She was intrigued with the results. Schluederberg said the images she generated reminded her of the cosmos and cells dividing.
Schluederberg has 10 compositions in the exhibit at Artists' Gallery this month. Jing-Jy Chen, an Oriental brush-painting artist, is the other featured artist this month. The show runs through July 28.
Artists' Gallery is in the American City Building, 10227 Wincopin Circle, Columbia.
In recognition of their contributions to community service, four west Columbia high school graduates have been selected as winners of this year's Spirit of Columbia Scholarship Awards. Each recipient will receive a $2,500 college scholarship from the Columbia Council.
Hickory Ridge resident Remy Taylor is a graduate of Atholton High School. She is a member of the National Honor Society and served on Atholton's Student Government Association and the Black Student Achievement Program Student Advisory Council. She volunteers at Sunrise Assisted-Living, the Howard County Track Camp and has been a peer mediator.
Remy plans to attend Temple University.
A graduate of Wilde Lake High School, Corina Snoeren lives in Wilde Lake. She volunteered as a chemistry tutor and Girl Scout leader, and she worked with the Hope Doll Project and Project Promise.
Corina will attend the College of William and Mary.
Michael Romano, a resident of Hickory Ridge, graduated from River Hill High School. Michael developed and implemented the Alcohol Education/Awareness Program at his school. He also volunteers at a soup kitchen and a nursing home. He was active in the National Honor Society and Student Government Association, and he volunteered as a peer mediator and tutor.
Michael will attend Cornell University.
Robin Black of Dorsey's Search graduated from Wilde Lake High School. Robin organized a variety show to benefit the Maryland Food Bank, served as a mentor for the Big Brother/Big Sister program at Bryant Woods Elementary School and organized AIDS awareness activities. She founded Students Against Violent Encounters, which teaches students alternatives to violence.
Robin plans to attend Goucher College.
East Columbia residents Matthew Charamella, a graduate of River Hill High School, and Kathryn Delaney, a graduate of Howard High School, also received $2,500 scholarships.