Plein air paint­ings on dis­play at Ad­kins Ar­bore­tum

Record Observer - - Arts & Entertainment -

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 info@ad­kin­sar­bore­tum.org. ----On­line: www.ad­kin­sar­bore­tum.org

“Bright Reeds and Blue” by Ju­lia Sut­liff

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