Plein air paintings on display at Adkins Arboretum
ROCK HALL — “Four Seasons,” Julia Sutliff’s fourth solo show at Adkins Arboretum, on display through Sept. 30, features oil paintings of bright flowers dancing among meadow grasses, water glinting under trees heavy with summer leaves, and cattails standing brave and brittle in thin winter sunshine.
Meet the artist at a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13.
Sutliff paints outdoors. She finds it doesn’t work for her to paint from photos or memory, so she searches out pockets of nature surviving in the suburban sprawl near her home in Cockeysville, north of Baltimore.
“I try to catch nature in a free state, without interference from us,” she said. “So I haunt woods, ponds, streams and fields, looking for images that express the riotous celebration of life all around me.”
She often paints in places someone else might pass and never even notice. She finds weather and the changing seasons constantly renewing the landscape and celebrates the shifting scenes they create, painting milkweed plants caught in the full sunlight just as their seedpods are swelling, then later as their color fades under cloudy autumn skies, and again in winter, stark and brittle against the snow.
Like many artists, she returns to similar themes to explore them in depth. Again and again, she paints cattails, branches leaning over water and fields scattered with wildflowers.
“I need to express grandeur, beauty, respect, awe,” Sutliff said. “But I think playfulness trumps them all, because it’s powerful enough to overcome the frustration of trying to get something ‘right’ and to somehow let you participate in the beauty around you.”
For more information, call 410–634–2847, ext. 0, or or email email@example.com. ----Online: www.adkinsarboretum.org
“Bright Reeds and Blue” by Julia Sutliff