November 8, 2010

A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTISTS

Artist Patricia Crowley of Windham turns garlic into art. 
By CAROL ROBIDOUX
Union Leader Correspondent
LONDONDERRY -- On Sunday, Will White was making the most of his open air art demo at Mack’s Apples, part of the two-day New Hampshire Open Doors tourism event that showcased the work of local artists, artisans and craftsmen across the state.
Using a dozen shades of Rustoleum spray paint, some stencils, household objects in various shapes and a flick of his Bic disposable lighter, White was on fire — almost literally — cranking out some impressive works of contemporary art. “I’m a spray paint artist,” said White, igniting a spray of clear fixative to create a burst
 of heat to flash-dry his finished piece. “A friend of mine at Londonderry High School used to do this and so I started doing it, too, and it became my favorite pastime,” said the 2010 Londonderry grad, who is pursuing a career in art therapy with a minor in psychology. 
Will White uses creates a flash drying system
 with a lighter and some fixative.
“Yeah, I’ve learned that art is soothing — it lets you express yourself,” said White. 
His process includes hapless layering of color, then haphazard blotting of said color with random scraps of newsprint or magazine pages, then more colorful layers and more reckless blotting until a landscape emerges. Then White selects a fitting stencil and it’s spritz, flick, boom — a new work of art is born. 

The statewide event put a focus on handcrafted wares, distributing a map of destinations to businesses which was also posted online at www.nhopendoors.com by event co-sponsors, League of N.H. Craftsmen and New Hampshire Made. 
Due to a planning glitch, Londonderry lucked out and had two Open Doors venues going simultaneously, said Elaine Farmer, a Londonderry artist who organized a group of local fine artists to display their work down the road from Mack’s, at American Kenpo Academy. 
“We were planning to be part of the Open Doors event anyway, but I didn’t know Mack’s was a host site, and we’d already arranged to be in this space, so we just sort of cross-promoted with Mack’s,” said Farmer. As artists go, she counts herself among the fortunate. 
“I also teach — it’s the classes that sustain me. If I had to rely on sales, I couldn’t do it. Artists have to diversify what they’re doing if they’re going to make it on art alone,” Farmer said. 
Or they have day jobs, like Patricia Crowley of Windham, who works at Parkland Medical Center when she’s not painting a landscape, a still life or, on this particular day, a clove of garlic. 
“I sell some originals, but mostly I do prints and sell them as cards or unframed prints,” said Crowley. “Most of us do this as a hobby — New Hampshire just isn’t that kind of community, where you can sell enough art to live. Plus, it’s a tough economy.” 
For Corinne Dodge, art was a way to pass the time while her students were gaining some social skills. 
“I worked with severely handicapped children for the Derry school district for years, and part of our socialization process included taking them into woodworking or art classes. I found that while in the art class, they were so busy with the other kids that there wasn’t much for me to do, so I started doing what the seventh grade art class was doing, which was pen and ink, and found that I loved it,” said Dodge, who retired three years ago from the district, but continues to work two jobs, with Easter Seals and as a massage therapist. 
Prior to that she’d never considered herself an artist. Now, she is a compulsive painter. 
Her body of work consists mainly of beach rocks rendered in ink and watercolor. 
“I just love the feel of them, when you find them on the beach and hold them in your hands,” said Dodge. “When they’re wet the colors are so vibrant, and that’s what I try to capture. They’re so much more than just brown or gray rocks — I use so many different colors to give the perception of gray and brown, there’s a depth here, especially when the light hits them,” Dodge said. 
Several visitors to both Open Doors locations came in just to watch the artists create, or to browse. A few people even made purchases. 
“We were watching him painting this one when we arrived, and I knew I was going to buy it,” said Bill Gianci of Hudson, who was fascinated with White’s flaming spray paint technique. He and his companion, Ann Lamper, were shopping at Mack’s and emerged with a bag of goodies — jams and jellies and a pumpkin whoopie pie. 
“As soon as I saw this one, I just loved it,” said Gianci, who paid $10 for one of White’s originals, which looked like a Saharan moonscape at sunset with a shadow giraffe. 
“I was just so impressed with the way he was creating it, and I will think about that every time I look at this painting,” said Lamper. 

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