Nearly 60 Artists at Chester Gallery’s Annual Postcard Exhibition

CHESTER — Art, big or small, can transport the viewer into other places and other worlds. That’s the power of the Chester Gallery’s Postcard Exhibition show, which is packed with paintings, collages, photographs and drawings — each the size of a postcard or smaller. “We loved the idea of doing art the size of a postcard and it’s not a juried show so anyone who wants to enter can,” said Sosse Baker, who owns the building and ran the gallery for many years with her husband, Jack Baker who died three years ago. Baker now rents the space to Nancy

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EF Watermelon Celebrates 40 Years

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Jewelry, geodes, objets d’art are specialties of EF Watermelon, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this weekend. Jim Elliott and Richard Freeman are the “E” and “F” of EF Watermelon. They met in graduate school, but after Jim discovered gemstones, the two began traveling the world to look for interesting stones and materials.  The duo became enamored with tourmalines, especially the striking watermelon variety, which can range in color from white to green to pink. And, inspired by the 1970’s ad that began with, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen,” the name EF Watermelon was born.  Spouses Cathy Elliott and

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Ivoryton Designer CAIT SHEA Opens Boutique and Coffee Bar, Talks “Slow Fashion”

ESSEX — Ivoryton designer Cait Shea, says she prioritizes ethical consumer practices, and styles designed to last, in an era of retail fashion meant to sell fast and wear out soon. “It’s all about going back to basics and focusing on the quality,” Cait Shea Clark said. “Trends are constantly moving, but a classic white linen shirt will never go out of style.” After about eighteen months at a previous location in Chester, on October 12 Clark opened CAIT SHEA + Sprouted Coffee Bar at 104 Main Street in Ivoryton. Clark’s family has lived in Ivoryton since she was 12.

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After a Dozen Years in Storage, Connecticut College Opens Nut Museum Exhibition

NEW LONDON — Elizabeth Tashjian, a visual and performance artist who curated and ran the Nut Museum in Old Lyme, is finding her place as an outsider in the art world. Examples of her paintings and drawings, performances, interviews and nut collection will be exhibited in “Revisiting the Nut Museum: Visionary Art of Elizabeth Tashjian” at the Cummings Arts Center and Shain Library from October 21 to December 6. The show is curated by Christopher Steiner, Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Connecticut College, with assistance from students in the “Bad Art: Looking Beyond the Canon,” a class that’s

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Turner Show Opens at Mystic … “as good an overview … as can be imagined.”

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At just under a hundred works — ninety-two watercolors and four oils — the William Turner show now at the Mystic Seaport Museum is as good an overview of the artist’s career in the medium as can be imagined. And what an overview it is of one of the greatest and most inventive watercolorists curated by the Tate’s Manton Senior Curator of British Art 1790-1850, David Blayney Brown. Turner intended to secure his legacy by leaving a hundred oils to the National Gallery, but in 1856 the Chancery Court decided that was an insufficient bequest to Great Britain, and the

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I-Park Kicks off Seventh Art Biennale in East Haddam

EAST HADDAM — At night, animals, birds, flowers, and even mushroom spores become active, moving about, making sounds and leaving traces, mostly unbeknownst to humans.  Participants in artist Moira Williams’ sound walk called “Fissures, Holes, Limbs: breathing dislocated scales,” were invited Sunday to shift from “daylight to moonlight” and experience night sounds and images she had recorded onsite at I-Park, an international artist-in-residence program founded in 2001.  Williams, a New-York-City-based artist, is one of nine artists in I-Park’s seventh Site-Responsive Art Biennale who spent three weeks on the program’s 450-acre campus “creating ephemeral artworks that respond to the property’s natural

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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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