Strokes of genius

Charlestown's art show celebrates 20 years of local talent

Created date

July 26th, 2010

The oil paintings lighting up the walls of Irene Hebert s apartment home are proof that an artist can be born at any age. Hebert hadn t picked up a paintbrush before moving to Charlestown in 1990, where she enrolled in her first art class. Now, 20 years later, she can t put one down. Every Friday morning, Hebert heads down to a classroom in one of Charlestown s clubhouses where she paints for two hours. It s so much fun! It lets me focus on something other than the day-to-day stuff. It really relaxes me, she says. I think if you keep your mind active and you continue to pursue your passions, it keeps you young. Hebert prefers working with oil paint, noting it s easier to make changes. An admirer of French Impressionist painter Claude Monet, Hebert finds inspiration for her own paintings in his work. She says she has been fortunate to sell quite a few pieces of her art over the years, but some are too hard to let go. The ones I can t part with, I have given to my daughter, and the walls in my studio apartment are also covered with them, says Hebert.

Creative community

Hebert is not alone in her artistic pursuits. She was one of 32 artists featured in Charlestown s 20th Visual Art Show this spring, which recognized painters, sculptors, woodworkers, and various other artisans who live at the community. More than 600 people attended the two-day event held in Charlestown s on-site conference center. It was magnificent! says Charlestown s Community Resources Manager Mary Evans, who helped put together the event. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with the last 15 art shows here at Charlestown, and this was by far the best! There was a liveliness and spirit in the work on display and among the exhibitors that was energizing and contagious. It was a joy and a privilege to move about the artists and enthusiasts; [there was] a genuine feeling of fellowship, fun, and connectedness. All Charlestown residents are eligible to participate in the annual art show. They may submit artwork from any time period for display, but only work created in the last two years is eligible for judging. In addition, at least one piece of submitted artwork must be for sale. Artists were awarded first, second, and third-place ribbons in seven categories, including painting, drawing, photography, woodworking, and sculpture.

Winning design

Lifelong artist and Charlestown resident Richard Clarke designed the logo for the 20th Anniversary Visual Art Show. His was chosen from eight designs submitted by various Charlestown artists. The winning design will be used in all future art show publications. I feel honored, says Clarke, who as a child learned to draw by copying Dick Tracy cartoons out of the newspaper. It only took me about a day eight hours to come up with the design. For Clarke, a retired engineer, art was always his creative outlet for expressing himself. When I see a picture or a painting or maybe something in a magazine that sparks my interest, it will inspire me or give me an idea that I work off of, says Clarke, who tries to dedicate two to three days a week to his hobby. Clarke won second prize in this year s art show for Lady on Couch, a portrait in pastels of a woman in a yellow hat resting on a red sofa.