Framingham Artists Guild nurtures homegrown creativity for 53 years.
When Dyrick A. Schaefer hung his new canvas for the Framingham Artists Guild's exhibit in the library, the "paint was still wet."
By the time it dried, the recent guild member from Ashland had won ribbons for best oil painting and a special award for excellence for his luminous "Downtown Crossing."
"The reason I joined the guild was so I could show my work and get some feedback," said Schaefer who is cutting back from several businesses to paint full time. "I submitted a range of paintings to see what direction my work should be taking."
For 53 years, the Framingham Artists Guild has provided a supportive forum for local artists to develop their skills and show their work, said President Peter Gouveia, a Framingham resident and 17-year guild member.
Founded in 1954 by Rose Tideman and four friends, the guild has "roughly 100 members," he said. It holds seven public meetings a year in the Danforth Museum of Art on the third Wednesday of the month and organizes spring and winter exhibits at the library as well as other activities.
"The guild's mission is to educate and support member artists and bring their works to the community," said Gouveia, a retired chemist and World War II veteran who earned a third prize for an acrylic painting titled "Singular" of a stark tree rising before a brilliant sky.
Visitors to the ongoing show at the Framingham Library will see an exciting range of 75 high-quality paintings and photos by 39 artists from across MetroWest. Displayed in the first-floor lobby and Costin Room, the exhibit runs through Dec. 30. Most works are for sale.
Nina Jordan captures her subjects' inner character in sensitive portraits. New member Deborah Bottomley earned second place for her brooding watercolor of a man lost in his own solitude.
The show's only photographer, Beth Hoffer, displayed striking images of outdoor scenes, including stone steps bordered by lilacs. And retired Deputy Fire Chief Edward R. Rogaishio exhibited mixed-media pieces that melt the boundaries between painting and printmaking.
For the winter exhibit, each member could exhibit up to three works, said Gouveia. Prizes were given in three categories: oils and acrylics; watercolors, and miscellaneous, which includes photographs; and mixed media. Randi Isaacson, a painter who owns the Post Road Art Center in Marlborough, judged the show.
Guild members in the current show have used oils, watercolors and acrylics to paint mostly landscapes, portraits and a few still lifes. While many artists submitted realistic works several, like Crist Filer and Martha Fuentes, are showing distinctive pieces tinged with an impressionist or expressionistic ambience.
These works display solid craftsmanship combined with sound technique. Several reveal distinctive individual approaches that makes them stand out.
Fred Gelfand created a striking seascape by painting over paper glued onto his canvas to give depth to a rock-strewn foreground that contrasts with a flat, empty sky. Earning a prize in the watercolor category, Joan Meenan found delicate beauty in a harbor-side shanty.
Bill Chignola earned an honorable mention for his warm watercolor of the Rialto Bridge in Venice. And longtime member Minnie DiTullio earned the "Best of Show" for her delicately nuanced watercolor of flowers.
Rogaishio credited the guild for providing a supportive atmosphere in which members felt free to experiment with new techniques and fresh approaches to their art.
After an earlier exhibit, he felt gratified when a frequent visitor said he couldn't recognize Rogaishio's work from show to show.
"That's a good thing. There's a lot of different ways of doing things," Rogaishio said. "A lot of artists (in the guild) experiment. The toughest thing is for an artist to explain why you do what you do."
For this show, he is showing photographs which he "rebuilt (on his computer) with Photoshop that transforms the image through his own techniques into whatever the artist is thinking and feeling."
A lifetime Framingham resident who "could always draw as a kid," he spent four years studying for the priesthood with the Maryknoll Mission and earned a philosophy degree before leaving to become a firefighter.
"The guild has expanded and improved during the 23 years I've been a member," said Rogaishio, 76. "It brings people together who share their interests and knowledge. And it helps people educate themselves and improve their work."
For six of the guild's meetings, artists are brought in to share new techniques with members. In the seventh meeting, a seasoned artist is invited to instructively critique members' work, Gouveia said.
Like several older guild members, Gouveia struggled through hard times but never abandoned his lifelong passion for art.
Growing up in Lowell during the Depression, he couldn't afford college but studied art from out-of-work billboard painters. After military service during World War II, he attended college on the G.I. Bill and worked as a chemist while painting in his spare time.
A trim energetic man in his 80s, Gouveia prefers to paint "en plein-air."
"If that's not feasible, I'll work from sketches or photos, but only if I took them so they get the light right," he said.
One of the guild's newer members, Schaefer hopes his success in the show provides a springboard to a renewed career in painting.
After growing up in Wayland, he studied sculpture and painting at the University of Hartford Art School and briefly taught before developing a career in retail business. However a few years ago, Schaefer felt compelled to complete a surreal mural of a solar eclipse he had begun during the 1970s.
While working full time in his retail businesses, he would sometimes wake at 4 a.m. to find time to paint. Over the last couple of years, he has reduced his business involvements to focus on painting in the hopes of making a living doing something he loves. Recently he has been selling his paintings by commission.
For the show, he submitted two different kinds of paintings, a realistic rendering on the famous grist mill by the Wayside Inn and his award-winning oil "Downtown Crossing," which employs pointillist techniques to evoke the flickering lights and flurries of falling show.
"I wanted the acrylic of the mill to be as authentic as possible and show it really as it is," Schaefer said. "I wanted to change the whole feeling of the city scene (in the prize-winning painting) and create a sense of a wonderland."
To learn more about the Framingham Artists Guild, visit www.framinghamartguild.com.
To buy works in the guild's show or contact the artist, call Charlie Holt at 508-877-5094.
Interested in becoming a guild member? Call Marie Drew at 508-788-0351 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
To learn more about Edward Rogaishio's art, visit www.fineartedward.com.
To learn more about Dyrick A. Schaefer's art, visit www.dyrickschaefer.com.