Sunday, April 24, 2022

Art in Bloom


Wonderful Lily in our garden

This is the time of year when I am out in my garden inspecting the progress my plants have made after a long, cold winter.  Our new home in the Egypt Hills doesn't have the same square contours as our old home in Brighton which years ago seemed to me to have been built on a mound of old bricks.

Our new home on a hilltop that was once an orchard has terrific soil rather than the clay and bricks we found on Elmwood Avenue.  But I did establish a garden many years ago and each spring and summer I might sit outside and paint a watercolor or two.  I plan to do that once again where we are now, but I want to see how our new garden grows and what comes into bloom.  In my  teaching career at Rochester Institute of Technology I always brought my students to the greenhouse in Highland Park to draw and paint plants as part of my course in Zoological and Botanical Art.

Students from R.I.T. drew and painted from plants in a greenhouse

One can be inspired to work the soil by visiting places like the gardens at Sonnenberg  in Canandaigua or west in Pavilion, New York at  Linwood Gardens.  At Linwood you can find beautiful tree peonies in May that would be a real challenge to draw and paint.  My comments come from years of experience both with working in watercolor and studying complex plants like a peony or a rose.  Working with botanical art takes skill and patience!

Carol Acquilano at Axom Gallery, Rochester, NY
"Growth in the Chord of C"

It was a pleasure to see Carol Acquilano's new show at Axom Gallery in the South Wedge which opened this past Saturday.  Carol has put together a show of impressive watercolor paintings that feature landscapes filled with buds and flowers and her artwork has a distinctive sense of color and an ease with which she composes and fills her work with joy.

Carol is an old friend and I have watched her art change and evolve over many years.  Her new works have a very specific nature which calls to our attention the composition and a certain tactility - pools of color and light.  In her painting called: " Growth In The Chord of C " ( see above ) I find a resemblance also to the paintings of Charles Burchfield from early in the 20th Century ( see below ).  Maybe it is a certain glow which both artists seem to possess.

Charles Burchfield

Carol Acquilano has been working at The Memorial Art Gallery for over thirty years and she has just stepped away and retired from her position.  She prepared art for exhibitions and I am sure she will be missed by her colleagues at The MAG.  Now she will have more time to head out to Linwood Gardens or even travel for a stay over in Cortona, Italy where she painted the watercolor "Broom in Bloom" in 2010.

"Broom in Bloom", watercolor, 2010 by Carol Acquilano

Our landscape here in western New York surely offers opportunities for artists to get outside into the fresh air and take on the challenges in the portrayal of nature.  I can't wait to get at it myself!

"Amaranth" watercolor by Carol Acquilano at Axom Gallery, Rochester, New York