Clockwise from top left: Works by Alice Freeman, Laurie Klenkel, Lynn Zimmerman, Connie Evans, Kathy Greve, and Louise Zak.
Courtesy of Art Among Friends
Clockwise from top left: Works by Alice Freeman, Laurie Klenkel, Lynn Zimmerman, Connie Evans, Kathy Greve, and Louise Zak.

Watercolor exhibit celebrates edible delights

‘Yum!,’ at Brooks Memorial Library, features the work of six area artists portraying food

During March and April, Brooks Memorial Library hosts "Yum!," an exhibit of watercolors that portray food by the local group Art Among Friends.

Art Among Friends is a group of six local artists: Connie Evans, Alice Freeman, Kathy Greve, Laurie Klenkel, Louise Zak, and Lynn Zimmerman. This creative group met online during the pandemic to create not only art but also strong friendships.

According to a news release, the 15 pieces on display in this show "celebrate edible delights - from mousse to macarons, paella to potato chips, shortcake to strawberries."

The paintings were scanned and enlarged before printing large posters that will be displayed on panels above the Main Reading Room.

Prior to this show, Art Among Friends had a show at the Crowell Gallery in 2022, and another show, "Bloom!," at Brooks Memorial Library in April 2023.

The members of Art Among Friends choose a theme and a title for these shows usually by meeting for lunch and brainstorming as a group.

"The library loved it, and lots of people commented and whatnot, so we decided to do it again," Evans stated. "I think we probably will make it an annual thing."

The group is planning another show at the Crowell Gallery in June, where a reception will be held Saturday, June 8, at 1 p.m.

A colorful canvas and community

"I started this group back a few years before the pandemic, because I've wanted to make art with people - I really enjoy being with other people while I'm using my hands and my eyes," Alice Freeman said.

Freeman explained that the group is socially sustaining and also provides support and within this community they have created. They gather "probably once a month" for lunch and individually share connections with one another, she said.

"I rely on this group for critique and support," Freeman explained.

She explained why they choose watercolor painting as their form of art.

"It's the unexpectedness of it," Freeman said. "I also love the light coming through it, and the layers on it, but mostly it's the fact that it's hard to control and a lot of artists consider it to be very challenging and hard to do."

Freeman also noted one advantage of watercolor: its portability.

"You can go almost anywhere with a little box of watercolors, a flask of water, and your brush and paper," she said. "That's all you need."

Finding the art in life

For anyone looking to start this genre of art, Evans has a bit of advice: Just stick with it.

She explained that even in their group of six, so many styles have emerged. "It's really fun to see other people's styles developing," she said.

Evans acknowledged that watercolor art does require a lot of learning techniques and practice and thinks "it's helpful to have somebody who knows what they're doing guiding you at the beginning."

There are also resources online for people looking to begin this new art journey.

"Don't beat yourself up about what you think you can do. There is not just one way to paint." Evans explained.

"Since I started painting, I see the world differently. I see the colors; I see the incredible gradations in colors. I see details ,and I see shapes and all that in a way that I never did before. And that inspires me to want to capture all that stuff that I'm seeing," Evans said.

"I just love to paint, I love the color... and I that's why I keep doing it every day." Freeman said.

A reception for "Yum!" will take place at Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main St., Brattleboro, on Friday, March 1 at 4 p.m. The posters in the exhibit, as well as original paintings, prints, and cards will be available for purchase. Contact the Art Among Friends artists at [email protected].

This Arts item by Alyssa Grosso was written for The Commons.

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