Art Watch: Three cheers for Randall Graham

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First Friday events blanket the county this weekend

By Lele Galer, Columnist, The Times

utcollogogalerFor this first week in November, there are fun First Friday November 4th art openings from Kennett Square to Wilmington, and thus the kickoff to the holiday season has officially begun.

Before getting to those exciting events, we must cheer the talents and most recent award for local Chester County artist Randall Graham who won first prize at the famous Plein Air Brandywine Valley event hosted by Winterthur this past week, to benefit Children’s Beach House of Delaware. This year hundreds of artists from all over the country descended on the Brandywine Valley to paint outdoors for a plein air contest that culminated in a fabulous show and sale at Winterthur.

October Roses by Randall Graham

October Roses by Randall Graham

The judge for the awards was the renowned editor of Plein Air Magazine, Steve Doherty, and the winning painting was “October Roses” painted by Randall Graham at the Jamie Wyeth “Point Lookout” location. If any of you have ever wanted to take the plunge into a fun plein air contest – this is an annual terrific week long painting adventure at gorgeous locations throughout our area. It is very well organized and they provide lunches and first class treatment of the art and the artists. Randall shows often in many Chester County shows, and also teaches plein air painting at Chester County Art Association, The Creamery and many other places in the county. To check out his current show, which closes November 12th, head out to the new Gallery 222 in Malvern where you can also see the big award winner on display. Congratulations to Randall Graham! Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

Before the weekend begins, check out two great museum art talks. November 2 at 2pm, Christine B. Podmaniczky, curator of the N.C. Wyeth collections at The Brandywine River Museum of Art, will give a free talk focused on the N.C Wyeth paintings included in their incredible new exhibition “Rural Modern.

And, at The Delaware Museum of Art, Friday November 4th 12-1pm, their “Art is Tasty” series has local contemporary realist artist Robert Jackson speaking to “Enough with the Bubbles”. This lunch and talk starts at 12noon with a 30 minute tour through their astounding “Behind the Easel” show of 19 major artists, with artist Robert Jackson chatting, then followed by a lunch at the museum. The lunch and tour are $12 for members and $14 for non-members.

First Friday openings are here again, starting in Kennett Square at Mala Galleria at 206 East State Street in Kennett Square, showcasing the sculptures and paintings of Karen Delaney in the front room November 4 – 28th, and in the back gallery shows the works of many local artists including Jill Beech, Rachel Romano, Jeff Schaller, Lele Galer and Margaret Saylor. Owner Stella Scott has a terrific eye for choosing varied, beautiful artworks that can be purchased at reasonable prices made by local and international artists. Also in Kennett Square, at The Longwood Art Gallery, artist Sue Ciccone will exhibit paintings of brightly painted landscapes and farm animals for her November show “Serendipity” November 4-26th. Opening reception for the event is Friday November 4th 6-9pm, with food, wine and live music.

In Chadds Ford, Chester County native and impressionist plein air painter Jacalyn Beam has a solo show entitled “Tricks and Treats” at Chadds Ford Gallery located at 1609 Baltimore Pike (Route 1) in Chadds Ford. The show kicked off with a Halloween themed opening reception on October 28 and continues the show through November 13.

In Phoenixville, The Phoenix Village Art Center is holding their Holiday Exhibit November 3rd – December 24. This is a “cash and carry” exhibit designed to sell art for holiday gift giving, where artwork is constantly replenished as it sells – so keep coming back to The Phoenix Village Art Center for the next two months! Also remember to check out Diving Cat Studio Gallery across the street which is filled to the ceiling with fun, creative artisan works, clothes, jewelry, and ceramics. Two doors down from The Diving Cat Studio is the Artisans Gallery and Café which not only serves delicious coffee and bakery treats, but has a large, varied collection of local ceramic artist’s work for sale, including beautiful pieces by artist Susan Bankert. A great holiday gift.

William Montgomery's 'Citiscape.'

William Montgomery’s ‘Citiscape.’

In Wilmington, Blue Streak Gallery, at 1721-1723 Delaware Avenue in Wilmington, exhibits the work of community leader turned oil painter William Montgomery in “Painting The Town and All Around” November 4-29th, with opening reception November 4th 5-8pm.

Off Route 52, at 3922 Kennett Pike, The Station Gallery shows the plein air paintings of Michele Green “Over the Marsh- New Paintings” November 4-23. Friday November 4th, 5-8pm is the artist’s opening for this show, with food, refreshments, a live bluegrass band and book signing. Also in Wilmington, The Delaware Museum of Art continues it blockbuster show “Truth and Vision: 21st Century Realism” through January 22, one of my favorite art exhibitions of all time.

Twelve by Margaret Bowland.

Twelve by Margaret Bowland.

The concurrent show “Behind the Easel” with the same 19 artist’s work exhibited for sale at Somerville Manning Gallery in Greenville Delaware, continues through November 19. If you have never been to this small gem of a gallery, now is the time. Specializing in works by Andrew and Jamie Wyeth, the gallery also represents many of the other finest realist artist in America. This particular show is hung so perfectly, that every painting has its own “wow” moment.

16-iamcvillepc_oct17In Coatesville, Art Partner’s Studio is currently showing a portrait photography exhibit “I am Coatesville” at the Coatesville Savings Bank located at 185 East Lincoln Highway in Coatesville, November through December 29. “I Am Coatesville” was initiated by two professional photographers, Dave Eastburn and Krista Niles “to engage neighbors in a portrait art project to build community.”

The artists mentored teen and adult photography students—introducing them to the work of eminent portrait photographers, discussing how to build a successful and dynamic relationship between sitter and photographer, and finally inviting them to create portraits of fellow Coatesville residents in a professionally equipped “pop-up” portrait studio at the Art Partners Studio under the portico of the former Benner School. Bravo to Art Partner’s Studio for giving voice to such a creative project that teaches, mentors, exhibits, and reflects back on the community that they are a part of.

As well as the new shows opening this weekend for November, this is also the last weekend to see some other terrific local art shows, including the Philip Jamison “Works from Five Decades” fabulous and important watercolor exhibit at Church Street Gallery in West Chester, “Mirage” at The Art Trust in West Chester, “Intuition” at Chester County Art Association, and in Oxford at The Oxford Arts Alliance its fascinating local history inspired show “Art, Architecture and Archives – Celebrating Oxford” continues through November 11. This exhibit includes paintings by local artists, and historical collections and artifacts from the Oxford Area Historical Association archives – a wonderful history and art show for the whole family. In Villanova, Chester County painter Monique Sarkessian has a solo show “Garden of Miracles: Finding the Divine in Everyday Life” at the Villanova University Art Gallery through November28. The art gallery is located at 800 Lancaster Avenue, the Villanova campus. Monique’s paintings of landscapes, flowers and still life all have a signature style, full of vibrant jewel-tone colors, expressive brushstrokes and lush textures.

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