After Workshops in Old Lyme, Artist-Instructor Jesus Villarreal Reflects

When artist Jesus Emmanuel Villarreal teaches painting, he doesn’t just talk about it, he paints right alongside his students so they can see what he’s working on.  “I think that’s the best way to learn … I don’t believe in those teachers who just tell you and they don’t show you anything,” said Villarreal, a realist painter who taught four one-week painting classes sponsored by Florence Academy of Art, on the campus of Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, in August. Villarreal, who spoke with CT Examiner by phone, said he likes to start his classes by showing students images of

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Chad Floyd, Centerbrook Architects, on Metaphor, Public, and Place

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ESSEX — There were two choices for Chad Floyd as he designed the Thompson Exhibition Building in Mystic — the literal or the metaphorical. “The basic idea was to respond to Mystic Seaport’s desire to have a building that would symbolize the institution,” said Floyd, a principal and founding member of Centerbrook Architects and Planners, in a conversation at his office on Friday. 14,000-square foot structure opened in September 2016 and has remained a topic of conversation in the region ever since. “You could approach it in two general directions — what had been tried before by architects, which was

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Artemisia in Old Lyme Offers Fabric, Inspiration, Design

OLD LYME — Whether for gathering inspiration, buying pillows and antiques or going for an entire home redesign, Artemisia has something to offer those who appreciate textiles, craftsmanship and home design.  In a building located behind the Cooley Gallery at 23 Lyme St., the store has retail space in the front, lined with pillows, fabrics, art and furniture, and a studio workroom in the back where co-owner Rosemarie Padovano sews and designs.  “I started the company in 2013 and this is the first time I’m doing retail — I opened the shop one year ago,” said Padovano Tuesday at her

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Fragile Earth at the Florence Griswold Museum Immerses Visitors in Art and Conservation

Rather than viewing the art, I felt immersed in it. Alarmingly large insects, somehow beautiful in their geometric arrangement, covered the walls. Every piece of furniture displayed not a flower or ornament under a glass bell jar, but an intricate scene with every part played by an insect. Cicadas, beetles, moths, dragon flies, butterflies, nearly every insect I’d ever swatted away, somehow made to look enticing as they led you through the entirety of the first floor of the Griswold house at the Florence Griswold Museum. “Jennifer wrote this fictional narrative about the artists in the house. She wants you

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Local Artists Reflect on the Florence Griswold Lawn, Site of New Artist Trail in Old Lyme

OLD LYME — For artists and art lovers, the lawn, the gardens, the light, and the views at the Florence Griswold Museum are iconic, hallowed by the footsteps and brushstrokes of the Old Lyme art colony and the many painters who have followed and continue to flock to the site.  On Monday, the museum will reveal a new vision for the 12-acre property, including a new artists’ trail, that will be dedicated to Robert F. Schumann, a trustee and patron of the museum for nearly two decades. The Robert F. Schumann Foundation awarded the museum a $1 million grant in

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Off to New York and the 2019 Whitney Biennial

NEW YORK — The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Biennial is about the “now” of art and reflects the new in architecture through its Renzo Piano structure and the ever-changing nature of New York City. But it’s also a reminder of the “then,” the many artists and biennials that came before, the museum’s previous home in the Marcel Breuer building on the Upper East Side, and the move to Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district of lower Manhattan.  As a contemporary art lover, and sometimes hater, I consider the Biennial a rite of passage every two years, taking me forward

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Whale Bone Cove: VI

I had no idea what was involved in all of it, planting it, caring for it, even just keeping it alive. I knew deer ate yew bushes, cedar trees, prickly holly and, in rough winters, even really prickly roses, but it never occurred to me that they ate tulips or lilacs or the buds off the hundreds of day lilies I would plant along the road, just as they were about to flower.

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Whale Bone Cove: Part V

I suppose I had wanted a garden for some time. But gardening wasn't a childhood obsession like my yearning for a house. I mean, there is an old black and white photograph of me, age six, planting pansies in our garden with my mother. I love the look and especially the smells of gardens. But it wasn’t until I put in my first garden, in the Peace Corps, in Tanzania in the late 1960s, that I developed any real for passion for gardening itself.

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Whale Bone Cove: Part IV

I had always wanted a house of my own. The grandchild of an architect -- dead long before I was born -- I had always thought I wanted to be an architect as well. All the time I drew houses. Houses down the road. Houses my parents' friends lived in. Houses I saw in books or traveling. Houses I made up. Many were houses I thought I wanted to own. They became, for a time anyway, my house, the house I would live in… until I saw something I liked better.

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Whale Bone Cove III

In what looked to have been the smaller front parlor, the fireplace had been bricked up, a toilet put in where the hearth had been, and a bathtub installed against the end wall. But we found it charming, or I did certainly with its old windows and mantels, splendid random-width oak floorboards. I even thought the old gnarly radiators were charming.

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Whalebone Cove – Part II

At the bottom of the hill we turned onto Ferry Road, and then as we came around a corner and over a rise, Whalebone Cove opened out in front of us. Mostly it was frozen, but there were still open channels crowded with busy, flapping ducks, numbers of geese landing, seagulls and a pair of swans, heads held high, gliding among them.

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Whalebone Cove

“Go away. You're early,” said George. “Go have a look around and come back around sunset.” He shut the door. Not a very auspicious beginning, I thought. But I said to Christian, “let me at least show you where we are,” and we headed back the way we'd come, and onto the road that leads up the east side of the river.

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