Mack’s Apples Farm Stand was the place to be this past weekend. Ice cream is always a treat at Mack’s this time of year but this spring weekend there was more than a double dip ice cream cone as the treat. Nearly thirty fine artists made this spot their home base during “Art in Action”. Sponsored by the Londonderry Arts Council, Saturday May 5th and Sunday May 6th showcased area artists at work using their medium of choice. Bins of apples were replaced by easels and moveable walls were adorned with the many varied artwork on display and for sale.
Nearly every one of the thirty artists here for “Art in Action” were working on a fine art piece showing the patience, skill, and vision that was apparent in each one’s unique style. Susan Monty was working on a commissioned portrait of a homeowner’s two dogs. Placing two animals from unrelated photos into one image was the challenge of the drawing. Maria Williams was thoughtfully applying delicate strokes of oil paint to her latest floral creation.
As one of the artists demonstrating their art during the two days, I was happy to participate. Three large panels depicting boat themes I worked on were nearly finished by 5 pm on Sunday. I brought several Red Sox baseball panels for conversation starters. Many adults brought their children, friends and family coaxing the young ones to really “see” the painting or picture. It was great to see them promote the arts to the young ones.
One young boy around age nine commented about one of my panels as he told me of his interest in lots of different sports. I took the opportunity to engage him further in conversation. Two of the panels showed pitchers; one contemplating a throw, the other throwing a pitch to the batter and right over the plate. As we talked about his interest in sports I said, “What type of pitch do you think he is throwing?”. He studied the body language of the image and offered thoughtful observations. “How about the other one(Red Sox pitcher Wakefield)? Do you think he’s about to throw a knuckle ball?” The boy noticed the hands holding the baseball and went on and on about what, perhaps, the pitcher was thinking. He began to notice colors and details and the background. It was very uplifting to have a thoughtful conversation with a young person who had lots of intelligent things to say.
Guitar playing was echoed by a familiar player who you may have seen in front of Coffeeberries or at the Coffee Factory. He played throughout the two days wandering about as a minstrel adding a pleasant addition to the event.
On either side of the location where I was designated (located just inside the farm building’s barn doors) was Steve Sullivan, a 2003 graduate of Londonderry High School and John Sweeney, a Derry resident. Both men are world travelers. Steve has recently returned from Africa and John has been to his wife’s native Thailand more than a few times. Both areas of the world are reflected in their work. Each one’s style very different yet quite engaging to the audience they attracted.
“The most rewarding part of ‘Art in Action’ was getting the opportunity to share my service in the Peace Corps. with the public and show how it has shaped my work since returning home,” said Steve Sullivan. “It was nice to have people appreciate not only my art but also the cross-cultural experience inspiring it.”
“I love bright colors and paint mostly animals and birds sometimes at unusual angles and close ups,” said John Sweeney. “I primarily paint in oil and watercolor. ‘Art in Action’ was well organized and Mack’s Apples (farm stand) was very accommodating (to the artists).”
Mimi Johnson, an art teacher at Londonderry High School for many years brought a novel form of art to the day. Interested students were given the opportunity to become “living statues” for the event . Six or seven students were either cast as bronze or porcelain characters from bygone eras. Literally they were sprayed, clothes and skin, to resemble a real statue. Several friends in support of their classmates took this opportunity to sketch these “still life’s”. Another ukulele-playing student added an ambience of support to the statues as they stood perfectly still marking their time. The living statues gave a very creative twist to this community event and showed a unique art form that enhanced the day.
Look for another “Art in Action” happening this fall.
Debbie Curtin writes stories about people, places, events and other topics of interest that engage the reader. As a member of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Debbie keeps ‘in the game’ with other like minded people. She has been an artist and creative person all her life and uses the unlimited sources of inspiration that abound everywhere in her writing as another art form.