A crowd of art lovers enjoyed a double treat at the Friday evening opening at the Marion Art Center of Lynne Schulte’s oil paintings. Schulte’s paintings filled both the Cecil Clark Davis Gallery with a show titled “New England Shores,” as well as the Patsy Francis Gallery with “Remembrance: The Pink Chair Project.”
Schulte’s mother, Carolyn Elizabeth Pedersen Schulte, died of heart failure in June of 2011, prompting a soul-searching painting project. Schulte was in Maine, the day after the funeral, staying at a friend’s cottage, which had a pink Adirondack chair that matched the shutters on the house. “I looked at it and thought how my Mother would have really liked it, because pink was her favorite color,” said Schulte.
Inspiration called, and Schulte put the chair in her car and drove to places she and her mother had gone to and places she thought her mother would have enjoyed seeing if she were still alive. One thing led to another, and soon there were 22 works of art with the pink chair somewhere in the painting.
“There is a story behind each painting,” Schulte said. “You can read them at the MAC or on my blog at pinkchairpaintings.blogspot.com.” Schulte calls the project “other worldly,” because she felt her mother’s presence so many times while painting and locating places to pose the chair for a painting. “She was with me; I could feel her presence very strongly,” Schulte said. A book about her mother sits on the piano in the upper gallery and visitors are free to look through it to learn more about Ms. Pedersen Schulte.
The exhibit includes a desk with a pink chair for gallery browsers to stop, sit, and write about their thoughts on what they are seeing or feeling. There is also a post-it board where people can jot a feeling or note or comment. One note was from a child who had lost her pet and another that states, “Mom, I’m so glad you are still with us.” Schulte planned the project to be interactive, with people feeling an emotion about loss or appreciation for life in general. Several in the crowd became emotional while reading the stories behind the paintings.
The paintings are for delayed sale, which means that they can be purchased, but must wait until the exhibit has finished its tour in September of 2014. The exhibit was recently hung in the breast cancer waiting room at Massachusetts General Hospital, and was featured in many libraries and galleries all over Massachusetts. The works range from 8 by 8 inches to 3 by 4 feet.
The New England Shores exhibit, also by Schulte, features 50 paintings of Massachusetts and Maine shorelines. Forty-nine are oil paintings, and one is acrylic-based.
The exhibits will run through November 15.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 1:00 to 5:00 pm; Saturday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. The Marion Art Center is located at 80 Pleasant St. at the corner of Main and Pleasant streets. To learn more, call 508-748-1266 or visit www.marionartcenter.org.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry