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November 11. 2013 10:14PM

Art in Action

Event offers a glimpse of the work it takes to be an artist


Weare artist Lisa Papastefanou worked on a jellyfish painting inside Shady Hill Greenhouse during the Londonderry Art in Action event last weekend. (April Guilmet/Union Leader)

LONDONDERRY — They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

During a popular event in Londonderry last weekend, words were not enough to describe the process of creating that picture.

On Saturday and Sunday, two-dozen area artists and artisans set up shop inside Mack's Apples Farm Market and the Shady Hill Greenhouse for the annual Art in Action event.

According to Londonderry artist Susan Hanna, one of the event's organizers, the interactive art show has grown since its humble beginnings nine years ago.

Art in Action is one of two major events the Londonderry Arts Council sponsors each year; an Art on the Common show on Londonderry Town Common is held each autumn. The Arts Council also sponsors the Concerts on the Common outdoor music series each summer.

On Saturday, both of the Mammoth Road venues were busy. Guests strolled through the makeshift art studios, asking the artists questions or simply observing them at work. Hard at work on an oversized plywood painting dedicated to the Boston Red Sox, Londonderry artist Debbie Curtain shared how she found inspiration while watching the recent World Series victory on television.

"I got out my camera and grabbed the remote to hit the pause button," she said, "because I wanted to capture that moment in time, but I didn't want to paint from someone else's picture."

Curtain was putting some finishing touches on one of her many Red Sox-themed paintings inside the local greenhouse.

In a booth nearby, Hooksett painter Peg Lipin worked on a detailed nautical scene, adding tiny highlights to the lighthouse beacon. Lipin and Curtain said they were excited to be working on a project together, which will benefit the Eagle Eyes community organization, a Manchester charity dedicated to improving quality of life in urban neighborhoods.

The ladies' "Message in a Bottle" will be passed on and photographed at different locations, which they said will foster communication and encourage folks to have fun together.

Londonderry artist Tom Abruzese prefers working on the tiniest of canvases. Abruzese recently switched from dried leaves to turkey and chicken feathers. On Saturday, the painter decorated a feather with an intricate illustration of a bluebird. He's also done some recent paintings on scraps of birch bark and other found objects.

"I raise chickens at my house, and I liked the texture of the feathers," he said. "The end result is a lot different than if I'd used canvas or another flat surface."

Across the way, Epsom artist Judy Palfrey appeared to be borrowing Abruzese's cast-off leaves, using them as a makeshift still-life for her watercolor illustration.

"I sense a common theme here," Palfrey laughed.

Weare artist Lisa Papastefanou, who paints bold, tribal animal shapes on day-glow splashed canvases, said she finds inspiration for her works "mostly in my head."

The painter said she initially began drawing as a designer for area tattoo artists, but began drawing animals at the request of her 2-year-old son.

For Ann Perkins, the natural beauty of horses and other farm animals is where she gets her inspiration. The East Hampstead resident worked on a color-pencil drawing of her grandchildren with their pony. "I think the best thing about drawing horses is capturing their personality," she noted.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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