Holidays evoke many emotions

By Clyde Davis: Local Columnist

Along about mid-December, few of us can be blamed, or even held accountable, if we begin to get a bit Scroogified about the season. That might be especially true if one hasn’t done all of one’s shopping, and knows that the other schedule-challenged shoppers will be out there, running around as well.

Wait a minute. How about a place where you can do both? By that I mean, in the words of Gallery 15 team member, Teresa, find a haven of “respite and rest during the busyness of the holiday season” while simultaneously finding something for the special person on your list who deserves a piece of original art, possibly locally created.

The Gallery in Farwell is home to many genres, from jewelry to glicee to watercolors.

Gallery 15 held an open house Thursday. The featured artist was Shirley DeMaio, a prolific and talented local oil painter.

Pam, who has been attending the event for the three years the Gallery has been located in Farwell, pointed me toward some of DeMaio’s oils that, as Pam described, “capture a moment in time. The technique as well as the subject … hold that feeling and aura of the ’30s and ’40s.”

A man in a broad-brimmed hat slouches against a building exterior wall on what appears to be a rainy day. This just completed series evokes a mood.

A mood giving birth to an impression? Mary mentioned the series as also being her favorite, but to her they spoke of being “more French looking — kind of an Impressionistic, Monet style.” I could see that as well — a time and place where subjects are not photographically precise, but rather a mood and a moment in time are conveyed.

The artist mentioned that work of this type — figurative, not still life — embraces her passion.

“Each kind of work, each piece, presents different challenges —with a lot depending on my own emotional involvement.”
Emotional involvement, in this situation would be high.

I was curious as to know from where the subjects emerged. Imagination? A story?

The first guess was best — they are inspired by old photographs, but mostly family, not strangers. In this case, too, the paintings “capture an era that is maybe for people of our generation to romanticize — because we didn’t have to survive it.”
It’s impossible to complete a column on this open house without mentioning the food. Teresa and friends prepared a wondrous selection of gourmet goodies for the party, augmented by pizza.

There were hors d’oeuvres with olives, tomato slices, pasta delicacies, brownies — you name it.

The holidays, after all, are much like art. They are what you make of them, if you can follow your own voice and taste.