Fireside Art Committee Thrives at Charlestown

CATONSVILLE, MD (March 8, 2017) -- Thirty Charlestown residents -- among them a former teacher, college dean, journalist, engineer, accountant, housewife, and spy -- get together each Friday morning for a few hours in the retirement community's newly-refurbished art studio. They work on their watercolor, acrylic, pen and ink, and oil paintings, as well as their pottery.

They are members of the Fireside Art Committee, and this studio is their creative oasis of sorts. Each artist has his or her own locked storage cabinet and drawer. The studio is equipped with a kiln for firing pottery, spacious work tables and lots of natural light. It is located across the hall from a music studio where musicians entertain as the artists work.

Art produced by the group's members is found throughout the State of Maryland in art galleries, public libraries, college art departments, and business venues. Everyday their art is exhibited in The Gallery at Charlestown.

"When an artist is involved in painting, he or she is removed from the stress of daily life and immersed in a world of creation," said Joni Guhne, a former newspaper reporter who works mainly in watercolor, creating beautiful portraits, landscapes and interiors on canvas. "Time passes unnoticed. The resulting picture or object brings utter satisfaction to the soul of the artist.

"The popular saying is that 'Artwork is work,' but don't let that fool you," she said. “The artist wouldn't wish to be doing anything else."

Guhne likes to say she was born with a pencil in her hand. Her father was a draftsman in the U.S. Navy and she inherited his love of art. She took a pastel painting class at Anne Arundel Community College where she studied with several outstanding art instructors. Her work has hung in galleries and has been featured in shows throughout Anne Arundel County and at the University of Maryland. Her paintings are owned by many collectors.

Artists of all skill levels can find a home in the Fireside Art Committee. "Each of us strives for the next great painting -- whether it's our first or our 100th -- that we know is just a brush stroke away," she said.

More information about the Fireside Art Committee can be obtained by emailing Guhne at: jonijune507@gmail.com