‘Out of Africa, Paint­ings on Sa­fari’ fea­tures lo­cal artists

Record Observer - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

GRA­SONVILLE — On May 5, an ex­hibit will open at A.M. Gravely Gallery in St. Michaels, one of the new­est gal­leries on the East­ern Shore. “Out of Africa, Paint­ings from Sa­fari” will show­case more than 25 paint­ings by two lo­cal artists, Joan Hart of Prospect Bay and Ge­or­gette Toews of Gra­sonville, based on their sep­a­rate trav­els to var­i­ous coun­tries within the con­ti­nent of Africa. Both of th­ese artists had very busy ca­reers be­fore re­tire­ment. Yet both say they found new pur­pose and un­ex­pected plea­sure through travel and art in their lives.

Hart is a Wash­ing­ton na­tive who moved to the East­ern Shore eight years ago upon re­tir­ing from her psy­chother­apy prac­tice. She also is an artist who has shown her work in the Wash­ing­ton area, An­napo­lis and the East­ern Shore. She said re­tire­ment has al­lowed her more time to pur­sue her art and her love of travel. “Out of Africa, Paint­ings from Sa­fari” com­bines both loves in a very spe­cial way.

Hart said she had al­ways been drawn to an­i­mals and longed to see the mag­nif­i­cent wildlife of Africa in their na­tive habi­tat. The trip to Tan­za­nia in 2014 ful­filled and sur­passed this life­long dream.

With cam­era and hus­band in tow, she was able to see the an­i­mals of the Serengeti as they in­ter­acted with each other in their “haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful land.” She said she was touched by the beauty, warmth and dig­nity of the African peo­ple she met.

As many oth­ers have ex­pressed, “vis­it­ing Africa is like com­ing home. It is an ex­pe­ri­ence not to be missed if at all pos­si­ble,” Hart said.

Toews is a New York na­tive and Air Force per­son­nel of­fi­cer who ser ved more than 30 years, re­tir­ing out of the Pen­tagon in 2000. Fol­low­ing re­tire­ment, she be­gan trav­el­ing the world, bik­ing and hik­ing Ire­land, Por­tu­gal, New Zealand and other ex­otic lo­cales.

Af­ter mov­ing to the East­ern Shore of Mary­land in 2001, she also dis­cov­ered a to­tally new world of art when in­tro­duced to the lo­cal art league, Kent Is­land Fed­er­a­tion of Arts. In­spired by the beauty of the lo­cal area, she be­gan paint­ing in wa­ter­color, acrylics, pas­tels and oil.

She has shown and sold her work in An­napo­lis and through­out the East­ern Shore and is a cur­rently a reg­u­lar mem­ber of Grafton Gal­leries in Eas­ton. In Septem­ber 2015 she ven­tured to Cape Town, South Africa, and went on Sa­fari to Zim­babwe, Botswana an Namibia. The beauty of Africa and the mag­nif­i­cence of the an­i­mals were so in­spir­ing she be­gan paint­ing im­me­di­ately upon re­turn­ing.

“From the ele­phants to the ze­bras, an­te­lope to lions, leop­ards and in­cred­i­ble bird life there is so much to see, not to men­tion the mag­nif­i­cent sun­sets,” she said.

If you have been to Africa, are think­ing of go­ing or just want to see parts of the con­ti­nent through the eyes of two trav­el­ers, come out to the “Out of Africa” show, the artists urge.

Be pre­pared to see the an­i­mals, landscapes and peo­ples of Africa through the eyes of th­ese two pain­ters.

“Many of the an­i­mals pic­tured are en­dan­gered by loss of habi­tat, ivory poach­ing and hunt­ing. To see the wild an­i­mals and habi­tat in bal­ance is a pro­found les­son to us of what we have lost in our modern lives and need to find in some way again. In an­other gen­er­a­tion or two, many of the mag­nif­i­cent an­i­mals of Africa may be ex­tinct in the wild,” Toews said.

Lit­er­a­ture will be avail­able at the show from the Wildlife Conser va­tion Net­work, one of the best or­ga­ni­za­tions work­ing to­ward sav­ing habi­tat for our an­i­mal part­ners, she added.

In ad­di­tion to paint­ings, Hart and Toews have dec­o­rated fab­ric wrapped African an­i­mals that will be for sale. A work­shop pro­vid­ing the chance to wrap and dec­o­rate your own an­i­mal will be held on Satur­day, May 20, at the A.M. Gravely Gallery. The work­shop will be con­ducted by Can­dace Lic­cione of Wye River De­signs of Gra­sonville and is suit­able for both adults and chil­dren.

The show opens Fri­day, May 5, and runs through Sun­day, May 28. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fri­day and Satur­day and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sun­day, Mon­day and Tues­day.

A re­cep­tion to meet the artists will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Satur­day, May 13.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call 410-745-5059.

“Mates,” oil, by Ge­or­gette Toews

This photo shows the Queen Anne’s County all-star base­ball team in 1924. It was on an an­tique post­card pro­vided to the Queen Anne’s Mu­seum of East­ern Shore Life by Dan Tabler, colum­nist and for­mer ed­i­tor of the

Ge­or­gette Toews, artist

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