By Marilyn Delk
Local artist Jean Selanders’ lovely work currently on display at the Anna Bier Gallery will brighten your days and lighten your spirit during the dreary month of February! Perhaps I should mention that I might be biased about the talents displayed by this sweet, smart lady with whom I used to work to create advertising brochures for a couple of my former employers, but I would be very surprised to find anyone who disagrees with that opening statement.
Jean loves to paint, and since retiring from her commercial design business has devoted her time to gaining and enhancing her knowledge and artistic skills. After taking art classes at Edison College and Miami University, she began working with Union City artist Carol Wasson, who continues to provide knowledge and encouragement to her talented student. Jean says that a necessary component to success as an artist is “staying at it,” and although creating work requires time and thought, to not waste precious time.
Many of Jean’s paintings re-create scenes captured at our parks, joyously celebrating the natural beauty that surrounds us locally, The delightful pastel over monoprint, “City Geese,” colorfully depicts the common sight of the elegantly gangly birds standing at the edge of one of the ponds in Greenville City Park. “300 Year Old Oak” shows the sad remains of one of the park’s grand old trees that regrettably fell during the past year, while the charming small pastels “Water Lillies I and II” not only display the startling beauty of the blooms found on the park’s lagoons but also bring to mind the familiar work of Claude Monet.
Several pieces depict scenes from Shawnee Prairie, including “Prairie Wildflowers” which features a Monarch butterfly hovering over a joyous field of blue and yellow blooms. Those same blooms also bring joy to “Prairie Home,” which features an inviting boxy birdhouse standing among the flowers. “Late Afternoon at the Prairie” simply illustrates the Nature Center exterior as the summer sun moves westward. The joyful flowers greeting the viewer in “Country Lane at Shawnee Prairie” elicit the warm feelings of summer in spite of the calendar.
Another enchanting painting, “Breaking Thru the Fog,” inspired by a meadow on State Route 502, looks like it could have been created by a nineteenth century Impressionist master, as does “The Barn at Bear’s Mill” which entrancingly shows the deep red structure emerging from behind bare branches in a snow-covered landscape. The colorful “Sugar Maple Time at Bear’s Mill” warmly depicts the appealingly sweet wintertime ritual that will soon be beginning once again. “Beekeeping 101” paints an inviting picture of beehives standing amid a lush background of ebullient color.
Jean’s painting of “Cherry Blossoms” brings a Japanese feel to another blissfully Impressionistic work; other inspiring, beautiful florals include “Azaleas” which bursts with jubilant color, as well as “Lilacs” which are so realistic that I could almost smell them as they fetchingly stand in an amber vase, and “Hydrangea Basket,” the exquisite blossoms sitting before a blissful blue background. The luscious strawberries spilling out of a white enamel dish in “Pickin’Time” also look real, inspiring hunger as well as pleasure at their appealing beauty.
Although “Storm Clouds” may sound ominous, the lush blues of this pastel only elicit a feeling of calm and peace, as does a set of pastels over monoprint, “Pink Parfait,” painted from the Rose Garden in Richmond Indiana. Viewing these realistically rendered delicate blossoms in the cold depths of winter is good for the soul, bringing a sense of joyful expectation and hope for the colors and scents of summer.
The truly lovely work of Jean Selanders will be on display at the Anna Bier Gallery, located within Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville through the month of February. Anna Bier Gallery Director CeCelia Rice looks forward to welcoming visitors to the Gallery, which is open every Sunday from 12 noon till 2 p.m. as well as prior to Darke County Center for the Arts’ presentation of “Appalachian Road Show” on February 11. For more information, contact Ms. Rice at [email protected] or by calling 937-564-7568.