The works of five local artists are on display this month at the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts gallery in Tunkhannock.
Which is appropriate, given the fact that the theme of this month’s exhibit is ‘Five for the New Year.’
“We just wanted to do something different,” according to Gallery Director Marion Stroka.
Stroka explained that previously, no shows were scheduled in January. But because the Century 21 Real Estate office where the gallery is housed is open, it was decided the gallery would host a show in January.
Artists James Dougher of Lemon, Rita Eddy, of Birchardville, Richard Griffith, of Montrose, Maureen Van Nostrand of Montrose and Mary Sadauckas of Hop Bottom were on hand during the open house at the gallery on Sunday, showing to patrons their various works on display. Hanging on the walls are paintings done in oils, watercolors, acrylic, and pastel. There was even some sculpture by Dougher.
“I like found objects,” Dougher explained about his work. “I’m influenced by primitive cultures, tribal cultures and African cultures.”
One can easily see the influence in Dougher’s work. One display looks like a long stick, painted with various colors and symbols, titled ‘Totem.’ What might, at first glance, be thought of as a Boy Scout project, is actually an artistic interpretation of primitive symbolism.
“I took a tree branch, cut it and put it on a base,” he said. “I painted it different colors with different types of paint. I started at the top and worked my way down.”
Eddy has three different mediums on display at the gallery - watercolor, acrylic and pastel. She explained that she takes classes from Sue Hands of Dallas, and her mother was also a big influence on her decision to paint.
“I’ve been doing it since 1982,” she explained.
Eddy has been previously been featured at the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts Gallery before. She said she likes working in various mediums because each offers its own advantages and challenges.
Van Nostrand’s medium is oil.
“I’ve preferred it all my life,” she explained.
Van Nostrand graduated from Elk Lake in 1987, and has been interested in art all her life.
“I’ve always liked to doodle and draw,” she said.
After her second son was born, Van Nostrand became a ‘stay at home’ mom. But instead of cooking and cleaning, she decided to dedicate her time to painting.
“I got a Bob Ross kit for Christmas,” she said, explaining the kit featured step by step instructions on how to create an oil painting. Van Nostrand fell in love with the medium, and has been painting in oils ever since. Many artists often choose to work in acrylic, because oil takes considerable time to dry.
“I prefer the length of dry time,” Van Nostrand explained. “The creams of the oils, I like to watch them blend.”
For about a year-and-a-half, Sadauckas has been working with the Plein Air Ladies at the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts. Sadauckas’ work depicts many outdoor scenes in watercolors.
“I have a bachelor’s degree in Art Therapy from Marywood University,” Sadauckas explained.
Art Therapy is used as alternative medicine in helping people deal with trauma and other issues in their lives, she said.
Griffith has been interested in art since he was five years old.
“I do it as a hobby,” he explained. “I’ve been doing it off and on for years. I really started working on it since I retired 14 years ago.”
Griffith works in both pastels and watercolors.
“I like pastels because of the ability to change and make corrections,” Griffith explained. “I work with watercolor because it is very, very frustrating.”
With watercolor, Griffith said, one cannot make changes. A mistake cannot be easily corrected as with pastels. But he likes the challenge of working with the medium.
“I love it,” said Victoria Switzer of Dimock, who attended the open house on Sunday. “I’m a starving artist myself, so I like to support the arts.”
Switzer said she taught social studies for many years at Mill City Elementary. She explained that art exhibits like the ones offered by the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts are important to remind people of the importance of art to a community. Many schools look to cut art programs to save money which she believes is a mistake, Switzer explained.
The exhibit will remain on display at the gallery through Jan. 28.