Summer Show variety is nonstop

If anyone needs convincing of the artistic talent of Wilton residents, there are 92 examples right now at Wilton Library. They are the entries from scores of Wiltonians in the library’s annual Summer Show. This 74th rendition will be on view through Aug. 28.

The works run the gamut from those done in oil, watercolor, and pastel, to pencil, encaustic, ink, uniball, and mixed media. The materials they are done on range from paper, canvas, sanded paper, silk, linen, and artist board. There are also four sculptures.

Drawing a lot of attention at the opening reception on July 13 were Erasmo Signore’s two oil paintings. The first, called Mary, This is My Son, is a colorful image of the Virgin Mary with the Holy Eucharist. Signore said he was inspired by a painting done by an Irish artist.

The original depicted Mary with the Eucharist surrounded by roses and crying tears of blood. Signore eliminated both, saying “they did nothing for me.”

“I try to pray before the composition to see how the Holy Spirit inspires me,” he said. “I had the gift but never used it until now.” To finish the painting he added a chalice, bread and grapes, drawn from the Last Supper.

His second painting, called (Young Man) Derek, is an oil on paper of a live model he executed at the Silvermine School of Art. Its proximity to his painting of Mary made a number of people ask if it was a painting of Jesus, given the 24-year-old model’s likeness to Christ as depicted by many artists.

“He has so much soul on his face,” one admirer remarked.

Another work garnering praise from those at the reception was Ronda Lanzi’s Hot & Cool Triptych, a silk painting on canvas. One woman called it “the best thing in the show.”

Lanzi, who paints silk scarves, painted this silk with a French dye and wrapped it over canvas. There is one larger piece with two smaller squares.

An electrical engineer by profession, Lanzi learned the art of silk painting while living in England some years ago and also studied in France. The free expression of her art complements the technical side of her work, she said.

Lanzi described her triptych as having “a watery feel, like coral underwater,” but she emphasized “it’s abstract. I had no intention to represent anything in particular.”

Well known for her work with the Wilton Arts Council in putting on the Focus photography shows, Beth Schneider also likes to paint. She started with pastels in school but had put them away until a few years ago when she got together with a friend for a painting workshop.

That led to taking a class from a master pastel artist in Vermont. Her two entries in the Summer Show belie her love of flowers. Dahlias Unfurling is a pastel that originally started out as a photograph, as do most of her paintings.

“I was taking pictures to do paintings of,” Schneider explained, “but the photos were really good. So, some are photos and some become paintings.”

Her second entry, Artist Proof for Amaryllis, is a black and white pointillism executed in pen and ink. She had a negative made of the original and transferred it to a plate and then printed it. Schneider is working on creating enough images to put together a calendar.

Francie Grace’s giclée prints were last-minute entries into the show by the artist who has lived here since 2011. Originally a broadcast journalist, Grace said she learned to illustrate from her colleagues at CBS and she eventually moved from telling stories to illustrating stories for the network. After CBS she moved to a think tank and then became a social media strategist.

Of her artwork, she said, “I have a lot of creativity but don’t have the physical talent” other artists have. “I couldn’t make a picture of a filing cabinet,” she said. Hence, her digital images, Brainstorm and Thinking of You.

She compared the computer as a tool to a paintbrush. “The pictures just come in,” she said. “I don’t have much to do with it.” She focuses on bright and humorous images, some with words.

She has been in two juried shows and will have her first solo show at Pour Me in Danbury.

More than art, Grace wanted to praise the library for its “nurturing of the community of all ages and abilities” that she described as “thrilling.”

Show curator Ed MacEwen said the fun for him “is not having any idea what we’ll get. I’m always worried if everything is going to fit. The variety is nonstop.”