Willowbrook artists like to get together

Howard County Times

The 18 artists in an exhibit titled “Capturing the Light” are no strangers when it comes to having their artwork in the same room. That’s because they’re affiliated with Willowbrook Studio, where many of them have been taking art classes for years.

Besides these weekly classes at Willowbrook’s facility in Clarksville, they occasionally exhibit together elsewhere. The “Capturing the Light” exhibit taking place on Nov. 16 and 17 at Oliver’s Carriage House in Columbia is their 13th annual art show.

Faithful visitors to this show therefore will be seeing paintings, watercolors and works in other two-dimensional mediums done by long-familiar artists. This year, however, will be marked by a bit of a departure in terms of the artistic mediums.

“People who are creative love painting, but they also want to experiment with other things,” explained Willowbrook Studio owner Martha Lohaus. “We have expanded this year with fiber, assemblage and some three-dimensional work.”

Lohaus, whose own training was at the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Maine College of Art, began teaching painting in Maryland in 2003. She built the current Willowbrook Studio facility in Clarksville in 2006.

When she began teaching classes at this private art program, she relied upon the conventional teacher-student dynamic. In more recent years, though, she has encouraged a somewhat different approach.

“It’s more of a group at this stage. It’s not so much about teaching and more about group work,” Lohaus noted. “They’re working much more independently now. Many of them have bloomed and are showing their work in a variety of places.”

Among the regular participants is Allison Korn, who describes the weekly sessions as “a very nurturing environment with a beautiful room and group of people. It’s the highlight of my week.”

The artwork created and discussed in that beautiful room has a small initial audience, of course, but the annual show at Oliver’s Carriage House places the work on public display.

Where the upcoming exhibit is concerned, Lohaus will have five paintings on view. Stylistically, her work ranges from representational to abstract. “I love both and am going back and forth between them,” Lohaus observed.

Allison Korn will have five watercolors in the show. Her subject matter encompasses exterior “house portraits,” as well as domestic interiors. Describing one of the latter pieces, Korn said: “I love a peaceful room with sunlight streaming in. Bright light resonates with a viewer.”

As is the case with Lohaus, Korn likes to alternate between representational and abstract work. If much of her work is realistic, other pieces venture into abstraction. In the upcoming show, Korn has watercolors depicting abstracted floral patterns that were inspired by the designs on Tiffany lamps.

In addition to the exhibit, the artists will have a variety of things on display in an accompanying art market.

Korn, for instance, makes greeting cards whose images relate very directly to her artwork. Indeed, she takes watercolors she is discarding, cuts out small sections that please her, and then affixes these painted pieces of paper to blank cards.

“This is a technique I use to salvage unsuccessful paintings and make them into usable cards. If a painting is less than pleasing, I can reuse it,” Korn said about her unusual form of artistic recycling.

The individual cards are placed in protective plastic sleeves and then sold for $4 apiece.

Speaking of sales, the iWillowbrook exhibit benefits a good cause. Lohaus explained that 10 percent of proceeds will go to Grassroots Day Resource Center, an organization that assists homeless people in Howard County.

“A number of us volunteer there,” Lohaus said.

It’s yet another example of how local artists give to the community in various ways.

Willowbrook Studio’s “Capturing the Light” exhibit opens with a reception on Friday, Nov. 16, from 5:30- 8 p.m., and then runs on Saturday, Nov. 17 from noon to 3 p.m. at Oliver’s Carriage House, 5410 Leaf Treader Way in Columbia. Call 410-446-7584 or go to willowbrookpainters.com

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