Although the phrase ‘stepping out of the comfort zone’ implies an uneasy sense of misdirection, four females artists of the Mispillion Art League have made the mantra their sole purpose of their next art exhibit, to be held at the Studios Upstairs on Friday September 6 and Saturday September 7.
The exhibit arose from an experience all four women shared during an intensive summer painting workshop by Marcia Reed, owner of Milford’s newest downtown art gallery, Gallery 37. Wanting to explore art rather than just tackle fundamentals, Marcia chose experienced art students as her subjects. By allowing her students to drive the direction of their own art, spontaneity and creativity was able to thrive as the artists continued to bring new art to each class where it would be discussed and critiqued by the other artists. One photograph Reed shared with the group, which depicted eighty to ninety undocked, overturned ships after a hurricane, hit a resonating chord with the ladies as they started to travel outside of their comfort zone and paint with colors, techniques and emotions they had never before.
“Most of the artists were used to painting realistic paintings and who would want to paint that disaster,” commented Reed. “I saw some gorgeous paintings come from the disaster in that photograph. They were able to put their own personality in those paintings.”
Looking at the very realistic photograph of the scene, artist Betsy Rybczynski felt the need to capture the energy that was represented in the photo. She designed several painting depicting the boats, all of which reflected each other in some way but had their own unique interpretation.
“I knew I wanted the painting to be based in reality, I wanted to design the elements but not the detail. The contrasts, the darks and lights, I wanted to capture that,” commented Rybczynski. “I wanted the end result of the painting to capture the process, the process is what is art to me. The painting is just an end.”
Artist Rosemary Connelly felt that the workshop taught by Reed helped her to experience other aspects of her artistic creativity that she usually would not have focused on. Comfortably creating her artwork in ink pen and watercolors for years, Rosemary stepped outside her comfort zone paining with a brush and acrylics.
“I did not know what to do with the photograph, I know I did not want to do a realistic interpretation but I wanted to treat it in a real way,” commented Connelly. “Wanting to make something beautiful from this disastrous photograph was a challenge.”
The No Comfort Zone exhibit will be held at the Studios Upstairs at 4 Park Avenue in downtown Milford, above the Mispillion Art League. Artists Rosemary Connelly, Gwen Guerke, Olaive Jones & Betsy Rybczynski will each be showcasing several works from the summer workshop, holding an opening reception on Friday, September 6. The gallery will remain open on Saturday, September 7 from 11am to 4pm. The Studios Upstairs, part of Angelucci Studios & Artists’ Gallery, are working artists studios open to the public every Wednesday through Friday from 11am to 6pm and Saturday 10am to 4pm.