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Vol 19 Issue 219 A Guide to Finer Living in Connecticut & Abroad APRIL 2024

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” George Orwell, 1984

I decided on an Orwell quote to begin this issue of INK. Not because of anything but despite everything. There remains a sense of humor here at this old magazine or at the very least, a sense of irony.

What you are holding in your hand is your community. All the brilliance we magnify each month may well be your neighbor or perhaps even a dear friend. The partners who advertise on our pages each month make up your town and, in many cases, your Main Street. The people that own these businesses are also your neighbors or again perhaps even a friend.

Print media is different than social media. They are not mutually exclusive or one better than the next, but over time the differences have begun to take on a more concrete form. The two are learning to coexist. The digital world is becoming louder, increasingly temporary, and self-competitive. Print media on the other hand is indelible and leaves impressions on the mind that are exceedingly different from the scroll, scroll, and scroll again. When given respect, print media is a well needed (and well-deserved) break.

As Generative AI moves closer and closer to creating the “dark forest of the internet,” people are beginning to discover that their digital world is with greater regularity, created from whole cloth. At INK we proudly rely on people. Human contact and face-to-face interactions are what create our stories, our advertisements, and in the end our message. We have always championed the human endeavor. Each month we celebrate all the beautiful things made manifest through raw inspiration.

We set down the magazine, and then it is gone.

On the Cover: “Coneflowers” by Paul Baldassini visit APRIL 2024 Vol. 19 Iss ue 219 Feature Stories Advertising Contributors Departments Inkct LLC - 314 Flat Rock Place Unit F125, Westbrook, CT 06498 - email: - visit All content of INK Publications including but not limited to text, photos, graphics and layout are copyrighted by Inkct LLC. Reproductions without the permission of the publisher are prohibited. Inkct LLC is not responsible for images or graphics submitted for editorial or by advertisers which are not copyrighted or released for use in this publication Susan Cornell- editorial Ellen Lassard - editorial Rona Mann - editorial Sara Drought-Nebel - editorial Carolina Marquez-Sterling - design Gregory Post - editorial Deanna Simmons - editorial Diane Stober - editorial Jeffery Lilly - Publisher 860.581.0026 Bob Houde - Eastern Connecticut 860.303.6690 Rona Mann - Greater Connecticut - 401-539-7762 Richard Malinsky - Shoreline - 215.704.9273 Contact us to receive our media kit with detailed marketing information. What’s Greg Drinking - Eredita Gratitude 30 5 Michael Benson Photography Capturing the Essence Artist Paul Baldassini Renaissance Man Pastel Painter Diane Rodger Watershed Moments Ever Vigilant Heads in the Clouds A “Lucky Veteran” & the “Weather Girl” 10 20 34 44 30
35 ARTISTS & THEIR FAVORITE PAINTINGS April 12 to May 6, 2024 Opening Reception: Friday, April 12, 5-8 pm Laura Westlake East Meets West, Oil, 10 x 8” Jeanne Rosier Smith, Salty and Sunlit, Pastel, 20 x 60” Julie Beck, Idols but not Masters, Oil, 12 x 12” Cora Ogden, Spring Nest, Oil, 20 x 22” Vincent Giarrano, Psychic, Oil, 24 x 30” SUSAN POWELL FINE ART 679 Boston Post Road Madison, CT 203 318 0616 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan ything here is made Ever We Art Opening Reception S “Three For Me” artists shar New Art ! Live Musi W N Wre W’ E Original Art • Origina by LOCAL artists and artisans. aturday,April 6th from 5-8p m e their peronalities in three work c ! Wine ! Hors d’oeuvres IGHBRS l Gifts • Original Lifestyle s A Original Fine Silks & Weaving Soaps/Candles Tables/Benches Needle Felting Custom Mirrors Cutting Boards Forged Iron Woodworking cal Pottery Journals/Cards Earrings/Jewel Artistic Frames Turned Bowls s S ry 0-6 ind for u Visit G • Y GALLE R Come see the new C 22 Darling Road, Salem 860.608. Make a neighborly visit. We’d love to see you! upcoming classes and special event SSE CL A • S IF T eramic Bowls by Ford Firings 6526 Thurs-Fri Noon-5pm, Sat-Sun 1 g We’rre e right behi 7
8 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan
9 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan

e gets a sense of their essence from the very first phone call.

And his instincts are spot on.

These are the inborn instincts of a true artist. Things that cannot be taught but are just “there” from the beginning and are the things that make this person head and shoulders above the rest. It makes him stand out, it makes his work stand out. This person is Michael Benson - photographer, artist, musician, and above all, someone who can find the soul of each subject and capture it unlike anyone else.

Michael Benson never knew he’d be a photographer; he never had a specific course from his youth that he thought about charting. Back then in North Haven, he was just a kid growing up, playing, having fun, and forging friendships. “When I was a teenager, I was part of a very tight group of friends. One day I happened to pick up a Kodak Instamatic camera and started taking it everywhere I went.” The Instamatic was Kodak’s trademark name for their new easy-load 126 and 110 cartridge film camera that came on the scene in the early ‘60s, so everywhere the group of friends went, Michael and his Instamatic were in tow.

One day, the teens were at one of their friend’s houses hanging out in the third-floor attic. While they were there, Michael noticed his friend’s sister going in and out of a small door, and he inquired as to what was going on. His friend told him, “That’s her darkroom.” Curiosity propelled Benson straight to the door, he knocked, and the sister let him in. He watched wide-eyed as he stared into the chemical bath where the girl had placed the film and watched as the image began to slowly emerge before his eyes. That’s all it took for Michael to exclaim, “Teach me!”

That was the start. As Michael entered his twenties, photography was still a hobby. “I didn’t want it to become a job because I thought I’d get bored,” Benson recounted. But just prior to the year 2000, Michael decided to make it more than a “job.” It would become his life’s work, recording moments for business people, corporate events, non-profits, families, and celebrations.

He got to work and started marketing himself and what he could offer. “I only went to places where I thought I’d like to work,” Benson says. “Vermont, Block Island, most of New England, and it worked, giving me a great start.” Through the years he’s worked destination weddings as well as corporate work in magnificent locations like Singer Island, Florida; Mexico; and a twoweek project in China. “This was for an exchange program where Chinese students came here, and then high school students went to three cities in China. I was so lucky to be hired to record it all... what a great experience.”

Reflecting on this time of year when bridal shows are held throughout the country and couples are choosing the vendors, they want to fit their dreams, their


budgets, and the dates they have chosen, Benson is adding bookings into 2025, although he still has openings in this calendar year.

“When I accepted my first assignment to do a wedding, another photographer told me I wouldn’t like it. Too many problems.” But Benson loved that wedding and virtually every other one he has done in nearly 25 years. “I get to know the couple ahead of time, their interests, special things about them even before we start talking about what they are expecting from me on their wedding day. I tell them, ‘Everybody wants to give you advice about what you should have, what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, but it’s YOUR day, so go with what YOU want and put your own stamp on it.’”

And that’s exactly what Benson does with every wedding he is asked to capture. He puts his own distinctive stamp on finding the couple’s essence, looking around, not just photographing the expected, but adding in what he sees and can work in both black and white and color. A look at Michael’s online gallery is a look into the photographer’s head and heart and what he’s been able to glean from interviewing the couple ahead of time. It might be a closeup of the tiny buttons on the back of a wedding dress, a little boy yawning, or a groom fussing to tie a tie he never wears. It’s the offstage stuff that takes place in the wings, the unrehearsed moments, the unposed shots that capture the attention and imagination of Michael Benson, and he wants to capture it all and make it part of the essence of every couple’s celebration. That’s one reason why he never strove to do 100 weddings a year, the stuff that gives bragging rights to many photographers. By now you must realize Michael Benson is not “many photographers.” He is very comfortable in his own skin because he knows how he


approaches every job, he knows he’ll do it well, and he has complete faith in his approach. “We’re laid back and easy to work with. We pride ourselves on being able to calm people down so they can enjoy their event and leave the rest to us.”

Leaving the rest to Michael who works every job with a lead associate but can pull in others as needed on larger events, means taking care of every small detail as he works in tandem with the church, synagogue, or venue. So, what happens when everyone wants to bring out their phone and become “assistant photographers” at today’s weddings? Benson smiles and says, “Most couples today are going for ‘tech-free’ weddings, and there is signage that reminds people of that.” But for that one over-enthusiastic guest who just has to jump out in the aisle, Michael has a solution. “If they’re blocking my shot, I just use theirs, but it doesn’t happen very often. People are respectful if asked in advance.”

Over the years, Michael Benson Photography has become the go-to for those elite realtors who market high-end properties, and Benson has photographed a number of multi-million dollar estates in Greenwich, along the shoreline, in Stonington, Mystic, and on Block Island where he is also well-known by every major venue for the outstanding wedding work he does. Whether he is engaging with a nervous bride, a high-profile captain of industry, or an exacting and discriminating real estate agent, Michael Benson is all-at-once a psychologist, artist, photographer, and friend, and the end result? He gets to the very essence of the person and the job and gets it done. “I want them to get what they want, not a stock package. I will design something specifically for them and their expectations.”


Whether it’s the dewy eyes of a newly minted couple, a display of desserts designed with a red cross at a fundraiser for the non-profit of the same name, a politician giving a speech, or anything else you want permanently recorded forever, Michael Benson wants to know all about it, about you, about the people who are part of it, and then he wants to dig deep and capture that essence. It’s that same in-born curiosity that drove him into the darkroom in the attic all those years ago that continues to power him now so he can take the hands of a nervous bride, look deep into her eyes, and say, “This is YOUR party. It’s a celebration. You just happen to be getting married as part of it, so kick back, relax, celebrate. I got this.”

And celebrate they do. Sometimes they even kick up their heels.

See a gallery of weddings and commercial work at For more information or to book your special date: (203) 500-4411


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17 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan
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19 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan

I drew people, mostly,” Says Paul. As often happens when a curious, eager, young person has the good fortune to cross paths with a great teacher, a lifelong trail of passion for learning begins. In Paul’s case, he was even luckier because he had 3 exceptional art teachers while in high school in Quincy MA. One of them became a mentor and a lifelong friend.

“He took our class on field trips to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Harvard Peabody Museum of Natural History in Cambridge. The 204,000 square-foot museum features 16 galleries with 12,000 specimens drawn from the collections of the University’s

three natural history research museums, including my favorite, the Museum of Comparative Zoology. A place with skeletons and taxidermy of creatures as small as a mouse to as large as a giant sperm whale!” Paul says excitedly, holding his arms out wide to express his joy at the scale of the building and how he felt when he saw the inside of it.

“Animals, people, Inuits, skeletons, clothing, jewels, plants, even glass flowers! He had us bring our sketchbooks and we would draw all day… “ he remembers. “He would bring all sorts of interesting things to draw to class. Tools and gadgets, really fun things to draw. He showed us the work of artist Jim Dine - his

Mise en scene

paintings, drawings and printmaking, and how he rendered these simple objects by making expressive marks with charcoal and graphite. I could not wait to get to the art room every day!”

“I was voted Class Artist in my high school yearbook.” He says with a smile. “My teacher and friend passed away only 3 years ago.” Paul said, “We kept in touch all that time…”

After high school Paul went to Massachusetts College of Art for 2 years, then decided he was ready to learn from life experience (though he returned at age 48 to get his BFA). He had also become enamored with photography along the way. His high school art teachers exposed him to that too.

Paul was soon asked to intern with a Boston based graphic designer, a man he met at a local Quincy coffee hang out. After being mentored in his Copley Square studio for three years, Paul became a partner on the payroll in the growing design business. He was only 21 when he started there, but he was a sponge, learning everything his mentor knew quickly, about print design, typography and production, including color offset printing. There were three other people working there at the time, in nearby offices. Each a small esoteric proprietorship. There was a master calligrapher, a local master map maker and a nationally recognized lapidarist (gemstones). Paul visited with them often, learned from them, and they frequently needed services from each other. It was a thriving web of creativity.

“I had ushered for more than ten years at the Music Hall (now Wang Center) in Boston where I got to see countless concerts and ballet performances. I later began doing design and print advertising for The Boston Ballet, including a printed tee shirt and tote bag design that sold very well.”

Eventually Paul was able to take over the studio as his own, and it became Paul Baldassini Graphic Design. At that time, he was 25 years old and had a staff of six plus interns. They moved to a 2,000 square-foot office, to the corner of Clarendon and Newbury, partnering with the top graphic design

professionals in Boston. “In the eighties we were a happenin’ place! We were constantly busy, and worked with many arts organizations and local businesses for more than 25 years. The work included direct mail, print advertising, print production and supervision and later, radio spots.”

Paul’s studio was the first in Boston to fully embrace the digital technology of “desktop” publishing. In less than seven years after the introduction of Apple computer hardware and Adobe image editing software powerful enough to rival traditional typesetting and production technology, Paul had converted the entire studio to digital-based design and production. Paul considers himself a master image editor using sophisticated techniques he has learned since the introduction of Adobe Photoshop in 1987, to edit and create the compositions that become his paintings.

“During this successful time in my career, I was always thinking about when I could travel to Europe, and produce my own art, eventually taking trips to Florence, Paris, Amsterdam and Belgium to collect reference material for what would become my “cafe watercolor” series of paintings.” Paul would hang out at his favorite coffee place and sketch local people and tourists sipping their coffee, chatting and reading the newspaper.

“I loved the intricate patterns in the poses I saw when people were talking to and interacting with each other. I used a 2B pencil to quickly sketch them. I always remembered the renaissance painters

Pinstriped Shirt 21
Little Climbing Beauties 22
Composition with Five Hayrolls
Composition No. 4
2 23
Composition With Five Hayrolls No.

that I had studied in museums and the figures they painted, when I was observing people. I drew the fleeting gestures as fast as I could. I developed my own style of fast sketching.”

“I had a close friend who I met at The Boston Ballet. She later became an associate at the design company and her uncle was a Commanding Major General U.S. Army Berlin Brigade stationed in Berlin, who invited us to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We went there on an extended trip that included passage into the still walled East Berlin to see the Russian Ballet in private box seats! We visited Munich and saw the First 16th Century Gutenberg Press. We went to Bavaria, Southern France and then back to West Berlin for a very formal State dinner, with dignitaries etc. When we got there, we wondered as did everyone else, ‘Where is the General?’ All of a sudden, we all look up to see the General parachuting down and landing, in James Bond fashion, into the dinner! He takes off his chute and is wearing a tuxedo underneath it. High drama! After that we visited Florence, Corsica and Paris before returning home. That was fun.”

In the time period when Paul was about 28-32 years old, he was fascinated by the Renaissance painters - Titian, Raphael, Bronzino, Michelangelo, Pontormo, Rubens and Tiepolo - huge paintings. He visited museums all the time and attended a retrospective of Titian and his contemporaries. At that time an intern introduced

him to the woman who would become his wife, Susanne. They met on a blind date, and never looked back. After they married they completely renovated and moved into a building they purchased one block from Boston’s theater district. It was there that their daughter, Isabella was born. They eventually decided to sell their building and move to Middletown, CT where Susanne grew up. Paul’s design business continued in the basement of their country home, where he re-established his design and photo restoration work, moving the operation from Boston to CT, and focusing on his fine art.

Now he really began to look at the local landscape…Flowers, farms, tractors…the patterns in them and the peonies in his yard. The patterns in the overlapping petals of the flowers fascinated and inspired him. He saw them everywhere.

He quickly developed a technique he learned from the old master renaissance painters he had been studying all this time. Transferring a drawing, creating a monochrome under-painting, followed by an overpainting using mostly small brushes on linen mounted panels which he prepared himself.

Paul’s stunning flower paintings were immediately picked up by galleries. And he participated in a group show at Wesleyan University to raise funds for Haiti with renaissance-inspired paintings.

Landscape No. 6

Addison Gallery in Orleans, Cape Cod represented him, selling his unique floral paintings for more than a decade. Many of these large works are in private collections but Paul still has some in his possession. Paul also has kept his love of photography alive. He is an expert at photograph restoration too.

Isabella is off to college now. As artists do, Paul has decided to change direction and look away from looking down at flowers for a while. He has decided he wants to look up. He has put away his tiny brushes and wide ranging palette of colors and has simplified his technique. He is looking at a far away horizon with paths,

Happy Man
Early Winter Composition with White Farmhouse Dahlia Bargello Tapestry Diamond Points Bargello Tapestry
The Argument

tree lines and skies now. He is using big brushes and a limited 6 color palette and his whole arm to get an impression of the unpredictable sky. He has created a blog, “Looking Up” on his website and we can follow him there.

Paul has a wonderful Facebook site and a YouTube channel full of informative videos showing how he does what he does. And, since 1975 he has produced Bargello tapestries with a technique that dates back hundreds of years, using straight stitches to create striking geometric patterns. Studio viewing is by appointment.

As he again reinvents himself with his camera, a few brushes and panels to capture landscapes largely imagined, seeking the vast ever-changing horizon, Paul Baldassini, the Renaissance man, continues to translate the wisdom of the masters into his own unique vision. He is looking up.

If you would like to buy one of his remaining

he still has some. See his work at - Contact him at - 860 638 0890. Email is -

floral beauties, Coneflowers
Paul Baldassini, Artist and Renaissance Man
The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan 28
29 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan
The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink, and somebody to love you. – Brendan Behan

Gratitude is a great feeling. It has the emotional essence of a hot bowl of beef stew, with fresh crusty bread enjoyed by a window separating you from a steady rain. Being grateful for something, anything really washes over you like a hot shower after a spring hike in the woods. It can come in short bursts like on a day when you are sorting through your books and remembering where you were when you read each of your favorites for the first time. It can overwhelm you like getting good news from your doctor after getting the results from tests that have had your anxiety on a ten since they were administered. Being grateful is self-care without the risk of selfishness. This spring, I wanted to help you find a beer that could meet that moment.

I wrote this article a few days out from St. Patrick’s Day. Recovering from yet another cold that was “sneaked” into our home by our otherwise “perfect” toddler, I am grateful for each day feeling just a little less run-down than the footpaths along the Dublin quays. Since this is an attempt to steer well-intentioned Guinness drinkers to embrace a different dark side this month, I chose Gratitude by Eredita Beer out of North Haven. This is a textbook example of why Porter has continuously sustained the thirsty hardworking souls who have encountered it since the early 18th century. Named for the laborers who helped it take foot in the booming London beer market, this beverage needed a combination of industrial advancements and grain prices to become a reality. Once Daniel Wheeler perfected a cylindrical roasting device that could be operated by anyone with an open flame and a parched clientele, the path was clear for this beverage to become the go-to beverage of the ever-growing urban working class.

at Harp & Hound in downtown Mystic. This Porter is for savoring and sharing. You can pair this with just about any cheese and a spattering of meats and crackers as easily as a roast. Connecticut might not be Galway when it comes to the small-batch Porters I dream of, but this is a pretty impressive offering, to say the least.

We can thank the wife of Chris Papallo, owner and head brewer of Eredita, for buying him his first home brewing kit. From those modest beginnings emerged collaborations with Steady Habits and Hill Farmstead Brewing companies, names that if you recognize them carry a gravitas that needs no explanation. If you are a fan of Connecticut craft brewing, no doubt you are familiar with the artistically driven Twelve Percent beer collective. This communal approach to creating the best beverages possible with shared resources and effort has really changed the dynamic for those dreaming of owning and operating a brewery independently. The lovely Katie from Spencer and Lynn Wine and Spirits in Mystic was kind enough to guide me towards what is now going to be as mandatory an ingredient to my making any soup or stew between now and Memorial Day as salt and pepper. This beer is something I am resolutely thankful for.

This porter is perfect for the transitional season that Spring represents, no matter where in the northeast you reside. In New England, we are used to a pretty damp stretch from basically New Year's until Memorial Day. Yet the time for celebration is here! Days are getting longer, every sunny day in the high 50s feels like short sleeve weather for those who don’t retreat down south for the winter.

Gratitude checks every important box for the discerning porter enthusiast. Roasted and refined, a little thinner in the mouthfeel than stouts (historically the newer and heavier sibling), this is truly a robust offering. Cocoa notes up front in the aroma give way to a cedar chest vibe at the finish. The first sip is dark chocolate-covered almonds, with a slightly bitter bite that keeps your glass from staying on a coaster for too long. As it warms up, you will too. Let it lace your glass in long loops that invoke a skyline of chimneys hard at work. At 7.4% ABV, this is not to be consumed in the same fashion as a few rounds of Guinness

One final note of things I am thankful for: this issue marks one year of writing this piece for the readers of Ink Magazine. To Jeff and Rona, the two people who have been the most involved in this journey of beverage briefings, consider my glass raised in perpetuity. Please get your gardening boots on, stretch your legs with longer walks, sneak in the outdoor happy hour (even if you sit by a heater), and enjoy the choir of returning birds.

We did it, another winter weathered.

FIN ASSI LOWFOL P D SON YOUR ZE OU O Reside Daphne, Y EN UR 2015 Since nt 860-341-5 RE Live disco spirit .CO ADOWS XME ESSE 5704 LIVING TIREMENT RE E-IMAGINE active and inspired at Essex M over new ways to refresh your t, and experience a lifestyle ce OM Meadows. Come r mind, body and entered on you.
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41 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan
43 The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan

hen Diana Rogers creates vibrant, lively abstract paintings of New England's diverse landscapes and waterways, color leads the way.

Her passion is "exploring the connections between nature and the rhythms and seasons of our lives," Rogers explains, adding, "My intent is to capture the essence and wisdom of a place rather than replicating what I see."

Taking a color-forward approach to painting, Rogers uses expressive mark-making and vibrant hues. She finds the pure pigments of the pastel medium perfect for plein air painting and capturing the patterns, shapes, and textures in the natural world.

Rogers' solo exhibition Watershed Journeys, on view from March 22 to May 16 at the Clare Gallery, was inspired by her desire to "get to know the waterways that connect all who live in the region."

"I have come to appreciate the role of the Connecticut River and surrounding waterways that sustain us and connect our daily lives. We are at a turning point for restoring healthy and sustainable waterways. I wanted to explore the area more deeply and use my visual voice to call attention to these natural treasures."

With a background in medicine and research, Rogers' art practice has evolved and has been influenced by scientific and artistic principles. Driven by curiosity, she uses observation and experimentation to better understand our connections to nature and the world around us.

Rogers is "an explorer at heart and the paintings in this exhibition feature the nooks and crannies of the watershed that extends from the Canadian border to Connecticut and Long Island Sound."

Equipped with detailed maps, she seeks places to access the waterways and experience them up close.

"While painting, I honor the relevance, ecology, and unique character of the region and tap into the history and connections between the watershed and humankind, ancient and contemporary. The resulting paintings are like candid portraits that reflect the colors and rhythms of the varied elements of the watershed. Working in the pastel medium, I use a bold color palette and energetic mark-making to convey the vibrancy of these special places."

The river is often in the spotlight, but there are supporting players who catch her eye and imagination.

"Tidal streams meander into the distance, and tree-lined tributaries show off colorful foliage and reflections. Vernal pools appear during wet spells and the abstract patterns of light give the water surface the look of a kaleidoscope."

"I care deeply that these places thrive and are protected for current and future generations of people and the flora and fauna that inhabit the river, estuaries, and wetlands. In the spirit of reciprocity, offering our respect and friendship to nature's vital resources will nourish us in return."

Rogers had been painting in the lower Connecticut River Valley for many years, yet she had not taken a holistic view of this vast area, which starts at the border with Canada and runs to Long Island Sound.

"To start the Watershed Journey project, I gathered maps of the region and poured over them to locate intriguing places to explore through painting. I visited and hiked in numerous places. This painting project offered me a direct connection and kinship with these special places."

Diana Rogers at the Easel
Windy Day in the Wetlands,Pastel

The Clare Gallery approached Rogers to collaborate on this exhibition.

The Clare Gallery is hosting an Earth Day Virtual Panel discussion on Monday, April 22, from 7 pm – 8:30 pm on Zoom, and joining Rogers as panelists are environmentalist Richard H. Shriver and artist and photographer Jeffrey Feldmann. The event is free, and registration is by visiting the Clare Gallery website.

An artist reception will be held on Sunday, April 14, from 3 – 4:30 pm.

She is starting the next chapter of her journey exploring the Connecticut Riv-

er watershed. For the Watershed Journeys exhibition, many paintings feature places in the lower Connecticut River Valley. Her new series will focus on northern Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont places.

"I have barely scratched the surface, and I could spend many lifetimes exploring and honoring this natural area," says the artist.

Rogers has been creating art for as long as she can remember. "I can't imagine life without engaging in the creative process, especially painting. Making art seems as vital as oxygen to me."

During the pandemic, she realized "just how essential artmaking is to a fulfilling life and that art is essential to hope. Art has the power to heal and uplift us. I also found renewed appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us closer to home. I did not need to travel long distances to explore inspiring places. I spent a lot of time hiking and walking in Connecticut parks, land trusts, and nature preserves throughout the watershed during this time. My connection with the land and waterways grew and I saw these special places and local places through a new lens."

Her undergraduate and graduate school education focused on the medical sciences and healthcare administration. Even with a day job in these fields, she has always made the

time to immerse herself in artistic pursuits.

"My art practice evolved over time with the influences of both artistic and scientific curiosity and the principles of experimentation and observation. This natural curiosity has helped me to better understand our connections to nature and the world around us," she explains.

Gallery One CT represents Rogers, whose work is held in private and public collections across the US. Her work has received numerous awards, including First Place for Abstract Painting and Outstanding Pastel Painting in the BoldBrush National Art Competition. As an arts advocate, she is active in national and regional organizations, including American Women Artists, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, CT Pastel Society, and Mystic Museum of Art.

Established in 2003, the Clare Gallery is a not-for-profit professional exhibition gallery in a contemporary Roman Catholic urban center in downtown Hartford. Exhibitions, receptions, and artist lectures are free and open to the public. The gallery is most interested in exhibitions that emphasize world religions, interfaith themes, and social justice themes, either globally or locally. Clare Gallery is located at 285 Church Street, Hartford.

For more information:

Great Cedar Wetlands, Pastel Color Show, Early Autumn, Pastel Shades of Green, Coastal Marsh, Pastel
Pastel Sticks in the Easel Diana Rogers Studio

Which settings in the watershed did you focus on for this series of paintings?

The river often takes center stage as subject matter for this series, but the supporting actors in the watershed also captured my imagination. I got caught up in the simple beauty, quiet, and serenity as I explored the area. A wooded trail or vista of a meandering marsh easily cast a spell on me. Tidal streams meandering in the distance and tree-lined tributaries seemed worthy of my attention. One of the smallest water elements in the ecosystem, vernal pools, provide endless subject matter for paintings. They appear only during wet spells and glisten with abstract patterns of light

What do you want viewers of your work to take away from the exhibition?

I want to invite viewers to consider "watershed thinking." Wherever we reside on the globe, we live in a watershed. As we go about our busy lives, it is easy to miss the connection between the ecosystem and the quality of our lives. These natural resources will

nourish us in return if we honor and protect the watershed in the spirit of reciprocity.

What role does hiking play in your creative process?

I frequently paint outdoors on location. Walking and hiking are meditative and a wonderful way to slow down and immerse myself in the unique aspects of a stream, marsh, or pond. For more accessible access locations, I hike with my paints and easel to paint on location. For more remote settings, I create sketches and notations on location and return to my studio to complete the paintings.

How would you describe your painting process?

Each stroke of color captures a moment in a place worthy of our attention and care in this time of climate change. Pushing the boundaries between realism and abstraction, my intent is to capture a place's visual essence and spirit rather than replicating what I see. This results in scenes that feel familiar yet transformed into a unique perspective.

Solstice Arrives at the Marsh,Pastel Shallow Pond, Summer Day,Pastel
Tide Pool, Warm Evening Light Pastel
The Premier Resource t o the Connecticut Artisan 49

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