Dianne Panarelli Miller and Her Students

by Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery presents Dianne Panarelli Miller and Her Students in its Middle Room this summer. 25 paintings by Miller and paintings by 9 of her students are included in the exhibit.

DianneDianne Panarelli Miller, a native of Massachusetts, has been painting since studying at the late commercial art school, Vesper George, in Boston.  One of the last graduates of the school (1983), Miller went on to attend the Ives Gammel Atelier formed by some of the former Vesper George faculty, specifically Robert Douglas Hunter and Robert Cormier.  Her five year atelier education led her to parlay the classic atelier training of the “Boston School,” including a mastery of oil painting technique, with her own personal style, expressed through the harmony of color and design.  When her formal education concluded, Dianne continued.

Painting tirelessly for 35 more years, neither the birth of her daughter nor her employment as a bartender for 17 years distracted her from painting “en plein air,” in natural light, every day.  Her tenacious approach has earned her the distinction as “a Copley Master” at Boston’s legendary Copley Society, in addition to numerous awards.

From her mentors, Miller developed a love of teaching and mentoring herself.  In addition to teaching classes through the South Shore Art Center in Cohasset, MA, Miller offers private painting instruction and provides opportunities for painting trips both in New England and farther afield, including Florida and Europe.  Recently she has returned from painting in Spain with a group of her private students.  MillerSundown

Miller originally came to Bryan Gallery’s attention through the New England Plein Air Painters.  She joined us in 2016 as one of the students in the exhibition ROBERT DOUGLAS HUNTER AND HIS STUDENTS.  Bryan Gallery has been exploring the relationship among students and teachers, particularly when the teacher’s reputation as an artist extends far beyond the classroom.  In getting to know Miller, it became clear that her distinct style of mentoring, including almost daily trips to paint outdoors, regardless of weather, up and down the East Coast, was to be explored.

MillerUpperPleasantValley

In addition to her work in plein air, Miller teaches and is commissioned forportrait work, and also for wedding in situ paintings.  As she has said of herself, “Never one to take the easy way out,” Miller’s boundless energy propels her into a wide spectrum of locations, always working with and encouraging others.  She has said of herself that she can hear the voice of her mentor Robert Douglas Hunter in everything she teaches, as she passes on the lessons that re-shaped her life and her art.

MillerOuttoPastureCurator’s Note:  Dianne Panarelli Miller has painted in many locations in preparation for this exhibit, including familiar situations in Lamoille County, Vermont, where she visited with her students a few months prior to the exhibition.  Subsequently she has returned twice for more plein air sessions.  She is a friendly figure outdoors  in front of an easel, known to carry on a banter with passers-by without taking her eyes off the canvas.  She’s also known to paint a passer-by into a painting, which she reports doing in particular at the beach.  Beach-goers will pass her and on their return, she’ll say, “By the way, you made it into my painting.”  Likewise at weddings, she not only involves the guests by depicting them on her canvas, but also she asks them to make a few strokes of color on the painting, under her direction, so it becomes a genuine keepsake for the new family.

Students of Dianne Panarelli Miller in the exhibit:
Lauren Bass
Bob Beaulieu
Maureen Brookfield
Cheryl Curran
Rita Delvechio
Margaret Finnegan
Ellen Little
Dottie Pentheny
Kate Sotolova

FRANK MASON IN VERMONT: Artist and Teacher

– Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery presents FRANK MASON IN VERMONT: Artist and Teacher in its Main Gallery this summer.  22 paintings by Mason and 60 paintings by students he taught in Vermont workshops over 40 years will be included in the exhibit.

Frank Mason (1921 -2009) was a classical realist painter of international repute and a beloved instructor at the Art Students League in New York City for over fifty years.  If he had done nothing else he would have found his place in American Art History by virtue of his teaching classical realism with steadfast purpose through the era of abstract expressionism.  Early in his life, however, he had the singular distinction of studying with Frank Vincent DuMond (1865 – 1951), who set him on course as both a painter and a teacher.

DuMond taught Mason not only classical skills, but also the cadence of his life, spending summers in Vermont, painting the atmosphere.  Though ultimately their works were distinctly their own, Mason assumed the “Mantel of the Masters,” offering his students the opportunity to study painting “en plein air” with him in Vermont during the month of June from 1968 until shortly before his death in 2009.

Smuggler's Notch
Frank Mason – Smuggler’s Notch

Mason was completely at home in the environs of Stowe, Lamoille County and Peacham VT, surrounded by students at their easels along dirt roads, often in a downpour.   Their loyalty to him and his ideas about painting has lasted throughout many of their lifetimes, as evidenced not only in their artwork, but also as many continue to meet in Vermont for the month of June, painting together daily and critiquing each other’s works, to this day.

Frank Mason - Peacham Orchard
Frank Mason – Peacham Orchard

To open the exhibition, Mason’s nephew, Scott Mason, will speak on the Bryan Gallery’s Artists Roundtable, Sunday, July 2 at 1 PM.  Mason’s widow, Anne, will be in attendance at the Roundtable and the opening reception for the exhibit.

Frank Mason will be the subject of a feature article in the July/August issue of American Art Review: Frank Mason in Vermont: Artist and Teacher by Mickey Myers, Executive Director of Bryan Memorial Gallery and co-curator of this exhibition.

Frank Mason - Forest Retreat
Frank Mason – Forest Retreat

This exhibit was co-curated by Bryan Gallery Executive Director Mickey Myers and the gallery’s Exhibitions Chair, Fiona Cooper Fenwick.

Bryan Memorial Gallery is at 180 Main Street, Jeffersonville, VT.  802-644-5100.  A digital preview of this exhibit can be seen at www.bryangallery.org after June 29.  Summer gallery hours:  Open daily, 11 – 5.

Curator’s Note:  Frank Mason painted massive classically realist canvases, portraits, still lifes and landscapes.  His landscapes painted in Vermont and elsewhere in New England possess a particular atmosphere, relaxed and pungent with rich coloration and the lavish effect of the passage of light across a scene.

His work came to Bryan Gallery’s attention through its Exhibitions Chair, Fiona Cooper Fenwick, who studied with him over the last several summers of his life, and who continues to meet with other Mason students in Vermont each June.  Last summer (2016) she served as the “monitor” in setting up all the locations for the group painting in Vermont.

In 2015 when Bryan Gallery was preparing for the exhibit GENERATIONS, featuring the paintings of many artists and their teachers, Cooper brought a painting by Mason, and one also by DuMond to include in the show.  So captivating was the GENERATIONS exhibit (summer, 2015) that Bryan Gallery has pursued the concept of featuring just one teacher, to show how influential a great teacher can be.  In summer 2016 the works of Robert Douglas Hunter and a selection of his students were featured in the main gallery.

For the Mason exhibit, his widow, Anne Mason, who still resides in the Mason loft in Little Italy, has advised the curators and generously made the works available to Bryan Memorial Gallery.  Scott Mason, Mason’s nephew and executor of Mason’s Estate, has assisted in curatorial matters as well and will speak at the opening of the exhibit.

Frank Mason - Dawn Fantasy
Frank Mason – Dawn Fantasy

Travels with Bryan Memorial Gallery

By Mickey Myers, Executive Director

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.

I’ve always loved this quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson, ever since first coming across it in the days when travel was but a dream.  There was something about its impetus to find beauty in the ordinary that stirred my stay-at-home soul, sending my imagination soaring whenever I read it.

Like everything else, travel means different things to different people: business trips, family vacations, destination events, finding new places to paint and escape from just about anything. At the conclusion of these winter months, there are days when it seems that everyone is going somewhere, even for just a change of winter scenery.

This year, travel seems to be a theme among many things we are doing at the gallery.  We didn’t really plan it this way, but it developed out of exhibits we wanted to offer and programs we considered providing.  All of a sudden, we found ourselves with a thread of an idea, twisting through the programs on the schedule, and the theme of travel was born.

The travel theme has landed squarely in three major Bryan Gallery undertakings.  They are:

TMNicholas_ItalianHarborTraveling Artists, the Main Gallery exhibit, opening May 4 through June 25.  When originally suggested, we wondered if we could get any of our artists to share their travel pictures, and after we announced this exhibit were we surprised, in fact dumbfounded!  There were more entries to this exhibit’s jury than to most exhibit juries, and the countries represented were more far away and exotic than ever, some we had not heard of:  from Provence to Portugal, from Croatia to Argentina, to the Kjollefjord, the Black Desert in Egypt, to Myanmar.  Traveling Artists will take you around the world several times over. To say the least, our bucket list just grew in response to the checklist for this exhibit.

Chagall_nDF_159_RR

Chagall: Colour and Music:  Little did we expect when we looked around to see “what’s playing” nearby, that the largest exhibit of Marc Chagall’s work ever mounted in Canada was a bus trip away at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.  Remember when Charlie Nardozzi came last year to speak about the gallery’s ROMANCING THE GARDEN exhibition?  He dazzled us with the story of his upcoming trip to the gardens of the British Isles and one of our board members took the trip with him.  She came back, singing the praises of Goodspeed and Bach, the Burlington-based travel company that organized the trip.  So we approached G + B, and we’re going to Montreal.  Deb Flanders of Goodspeed and Bach is planning our trip and coming with us, and I’ll go along to fill in with stories about Chagall – a man of many countries, many talents and many colours – spelled the international way.  The trip is May 23.

Chagall_nDF_053_RR

Frank Mason:  Artist and Teacher:  Frank Mason (1921 – 2009) left his mark on art and artists in so many varied ways, it is a toss up to know where to begin his story.  In Vermont, however, we can begin his story in Vermont.  Frank loved Vermont.  He loved to teach in Vermont.  He considered the rolling vistas perfect for how he wanted his New York City-based Art Students League students to think about landscape and paint landscape.  So every June for 40 years, Frank and his Art Students League students would come to paint for the month in Vermont.  It created such a momentum that today, 8 years after his death, the students – now many established painters – are coming to the same rural communities to paint in a group.  Vermont and its mystical perspective does it again.  This exhibit represents travel from the point of view of the destination, which Vermont wears proudly.  22 of Mason’s Vermont paintings will hang alongside the works of at least 40 of his students.

L476_Goodrich Silos, Peacham, VT

Finally, as the year comes to a conclusion around the various holidays, an exhibit is in the planning stages that represents a different kind of travel – the travel of the imagination – the twilight zone.  Fantastical Landscapes and Imaginary Places (November 9 – December 30) will represent works, limited only by the dreams of our artists.  More will be available about this exhibit soon.

So this exhibition year will conclude as it is starting, with visits to places that are new to us:  new landscapes, new light, new terrain, new ideas, with the thread of skill, tying it altogether.

Courthouse Gallery

by Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery has been invited by the Lamoille County Courthouse to install artwork in its stately corridors in one of the final phases of the recent Courthouse renovation.  This current exhibit of Vermont Landscapes at the Lamoille County Courthouse features 38 paintings by 20 artists who paint in Vermont.  The installation was curated by Bryan Gallery Executive Director Mickey Myers and Gallery Manager Tom Waters, and can be seen Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 4:30 PM (Closed 12 – 12:30 PM,) by visiting the Courthouse at 154 Main Street, Hyde Park, Vermont (fully handicap accessible.)  

There’s nothing like a new building or a newly renovated public space to summon soaring spirits and invigorated purpose.  When the building is a courthouse, a Superior Court House, renewed energy meets tradition for all to enjoy, as much as any courthouse is ever enjoyed.

So it is with the renovation of the Lamoille County Courthouse, age 105 years, in Hyde Park, Vermont, and its $7.5 million renovations, completed in May, 2016.  The majestic building, restored to its original, understated but elegant grandeur, has been re-appointed with many of its original fixtures, features and furniture, amidst the efficiency of demurely installed twenty-first century devices.  Adding to the spaciousness of its public areas are an additional 12,000 square feet of newly constructed functional space including a hearing room, judges’ chambers and deliberation rooms.

As with many such public renovations, its carefully crafted budget did not include much for the purchase of artwork.  After a few stately portraits, historic photographs and directional signs were reinstalled, the walls of the Courthouse’s public spaces were left blank.  Less than a couple of months after moving back to the building, the Judges and Staff of the Courthouse moved to solve this situation, extending an invitation to Bryan Memorial Gallery to address it along with them.

courthouse2Having been to the Courthouse only a few times prior, and not knowing what to expect, my breath was taken away as I passed through the metal detector, and found myself facing a sweeping corridor ahead.  In front of me lay a curator’s dream.  Soaring ceilings, tasteful benches, calmly furnished offices, and blank walls (save for those few portraits) calling out for art.

It was a big help that the Assistant Judge who articulated the invitation came over to talk with us at the Gallery, surrounded by art.  We watched what caught his eye and at the same time his attention to detail.  Dare we admit, we love attention to detail?

As Bryan Memorial Gallery is primarily a gallery for landscape painting, it was fairly instinctive that this is the kind of work we would be bringing into the Courthouse – specifically, landscapes painted in Vermont of Vermont.  As we thought about the function of the Courthouse, the people it serves in Lamoille County were our main focus.    As we thought about our Gallery, it was founded to feature the artwork of artists who came to Lamoille County to paint:  we eagerly anticipated a union of the two.

As the details fell into place, we put the exhibit together during the Gallery’s January Hiatus.   We called upon 20 artists whom we knew to have paintings that not only filled the immediate need, but also who could be nearby and available in the event that artwork had to be replaced.  Paintings in a variety of mediums – oil, watercolor and acrylics – were gathered.  Artists such as John Olson of Burlington loaned 2 paintings of his series of Vermont Towns – Morrisville and Johnson.  Johnson artist Eric Tobin offered 2 paintings of local scenes in autumn and winter.  Vladimir Vagin, originally from Moscow, Russia, now from Burlington, presented two fantasy watercolor landscapes of animals enjoying Vermont.  Susan Bull Riley’s watercolor of an unfortunate moose gathered animated attention during the installation while friends of various other artists recognized their works as they were installed.

courthouse3There were other more technical considerations, as it is the function of the curators to care for the artwork they install.  The watercolors made available to us would be installed primarily in the main corridor where they get a minimum of natural light which can be harmful to the fugitive pigments of watercolor over an extended period.  The hanging system in the Courthouse utilizes uniform fixtures installed from moldings, which delineated the size of the artworks from not too small, to not too large.  The work had to be portable from Jeffersonville to Hyde Park, and indeed we prayed for an absence of precipitation on installation day.

It is a priority for the role of the curator to assure that the artworks look good together, and that the individual pieces in a group show enhance each other, like so many voices in a chorus.  In a sense, as curators we are making a statement in assembling works that say, “This land is our land,” taking care of this particular installation to leave an impression that is genuine and clear about where we are.

Then, too, there is the more transcendent or demonstrative effect of an exhibit such as this one in a public space, especially in a Courthouse.  For whatever reasons people go to a Courthouse, to get married or divorced, to sue or be sued, to pick up a permit or pay a fee or look up a public record, a curator wants to offer a glimpse of hope to all involved.   A curator believes that art has a way of “making life more bearable,” (Kurt Vonnegut).

On behalf of Bryan Memorial Gallery, it is our hope for this installation of Vermont Landscapes at the Courthouse Gallery helps make “life more bearable,” and that it adds to the enjoyment of the Lamoille County Courthouse for our community.

To see the full gallery of images at the courthouse view the gallery on our website by clicking here: Courthouse Gallery
courthouse1

Vermont Watercolor Society – Mickey Myers

Bryan Memorial Gallery Executive Director Mickey Myers spoke to the Vermont Watercolor Society on the topic of artist/gallery relations. She was on a panel with Rob Hunter of Frog Hollow and Edward Bank of Gallery NorthStar at Killington Mountain Lodge on May 22, 2016. Following are her prepared remarks in response to questions provided by the Vermont Watercolor Society.

On behalf of Bryan Memorial Gallery, thank you for inviting my participation and the opportunity to bask in the rich focus of the VT Watercolor Society once again.

32 years ago, Bryan Memorial Gallery was founded as the Mary Bryan Gallery in memory of the artist by her husband painter Alden Bryan. They had arrived in Jeffersonville, VT in 1939 to participate in an intensive winter painting workshop led by the legendary Charles Curtis Allen, and they never left. Buying a dairy farm, introducing milk pasteurization to the area, establishing a bakery, a cafe, an inn, and a fine dining restaurant, Alden Bryan was never idyll, while Mary painted daily, even before she drank her morning coffee.

The purpose of the gallery was to show the original works of artists who came to the area, at the base of the other side of Mt. Mansfield, to paint landscapes. Alden said the unique value of the area for painters was that the paintings composed themselves. An inventive hanging system in the gallery allowed works to be installed and removed quickly, as Alden catered to artists who lived elsewhere, which included just about everyone, and tourists coming through the area. It is fair to say that Alden did not immediately envision the gallery’s popularity as a cultural destination, nor the need to double its size within the first 10 years. Nor did he care about practicalities such as storage space and a shipping area. It was the splendor of the camaraderie with artists, giving them a place to show their work that thrilled him.

When Alden died in 2001, the decision to continue the non-profit gallery was made by a Board of Directors, and a more typical non-profit profile emerged: a membership structure, annual giving campaigns, an annual fund raising event, silent auctions, sponsorships, donations at the door and all other such means. That Board decided to continue the primary mission of showing New England landscape painting, and while that distinction has broadened, it dominates today.

The Bryan remains a non-profit, a membership gallery. The first and foremost way to get its attention is to join. At $40 per year it’s a low rate for which there are approx. 400 members at any given time, mostly artists, and also many supporters and volunteers.   The exhibition schedule takes place over 10 months with January and April dark.

Continue reading Vermont Watercolor Society – Mickey Myers

Artist Spotlight: Jayne Shoup

Jayne Shoup is a painter living in Middlesex, Vermont. Her paintings usually depict scenes or objects from her central Vermont neighborhood. Each standing or slumping barn, towering tree, or unfolding flower in her work reflects the serenity and beauty of this area of Vermont. Some paintings are of New Mexico’s landscape and architecture. She is a member of the Vermont Crafts Council, Art Resource Association, Northern Vermont Artists’ Association, Bryan Memorial Gallery, and the Vermont Pastel Society.
Interview by : Tom Waters

For those unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe your art?

I call myself a contemporary modernist painter. What I mean by that is I’m sort of a throwback to the true American Modernists who were painting between the two world wars.

I never went to Europe so I haven’t studied any art there so I have that in common with them. In the O’Keeffe / Stieglitz school there was this celebration of nature that I have as well. And they certainly brought more emotional kinds of feeling to work than what had been showing up in a lot of the paintings in that era. I call myself “contemporary” because I’m not dead yet, obviously, but I do trace myself back to the American Modernists.

How long have you been an artist, and how did you get your start?

I started seriously in the late 1990’s. I had been a writer for a long time, a creative writer, and that’s a tough trade too. Visual arts are hard, but I think a writer’s lot is worse. Talk about being in a vacuum. You are so isolated and it’s so hard to break in. I was disillusioned with what was happening and I’d always liked visual arts. I realized what really called to me was creating a visual image as opposed to doing that with narrative, with language. So I started in the late 90’s with watercolors and gouache, and then I took a pastel workshop with Linda Hogan in Montpelier. That’s when I got serious about what I was doing. I learned in the early years how to use pastels and that sort of thing. And like many people, I tried to render everything. You know, I’d look out at a landscape and see every leaf and I tried to do that at first. Then I realized I could edit things.

Your work is very personal.  As you state in your artist statement, you “depict scenes or objects from my central Vermont neighborhood”.  Describe how you choose what to depict and why.

Path   16x12 pastel
Path 16×12 pastel

When we first moved to Vermont in 1988, we moved next door to a working dairy farm that had about 75 cows and two farmers in their 70’s. It was really different for me. I came from a rural wooded area in western Pennsylvania and then came here, which was rural agricultural. I really enjoyed that. I liked it visually. I found the landscape very stimulating.

I walk a lot, and just seeing things, like old homes, sometimes falling apart, sometimes being restored. I like seasonal changes, that became more important to me. I got used to the rhythm of the land because of the farmers next door. I’ve never been a fan of painting snow scenes, but I have done that. There is not enough color in winter, for me, so it’s not my favorite. But I like looking around my neighborhood.

I recently started work on a piece, on my easel right now, inspired by neighbors building a new house. They built it on this little knoll of land. That was two years ago. I walk past there every day, and in the meantime they’ve added a mudroom and a deck. Three weeks ago I looked at the house and said, “There’s a painting!” Nothing had really changed with the house, but the sky opened up that day. There were some clouds and the sun was lightly covered and there was a little bit of a notch in the pine trees on one side and deciduous trees were on the other. The house was sort of centered on the knoll. And that really struck me. So it’s that kind of thing where I may see a particular scene for a number of years and then it becomes a painting for me.

Also, I sometimes feel like the scene chooses me, after a while, to paint it. At first I’m not quite ready. I haven’t looked at it enough. I don’t know. But I think over time, I keep looking at it and seeing it through different seasons. Then there is just that one day where, literally, the sky will open and now it’s a painting. That was it for me.

I find that happens quite often with this area. I’m lucky because we live in this little valley with a farm in it that actually isn’t in production anymore, which I’m quite sad about. But it’s visually striking because the barn’s still here and one of those old, eight-sided wooden silos. Just seeing those kinds of things stimulates. I live in an old farmhouse, circa 1848, and both houses next to us are a similar era. It’s that old New England look and I like that.

Continue reading Artist Spotlight: Jayne Shoup