GRASONVILLE — On May 5, an exhibit will open at A.M. Gravely Gallery in St. Michaels, one of the newest galleries on the Eastern Shore. “Out of Africa, Paintings from Safari” will showcase more than 25 paintings by two local artists, Joan Hart of Prospect Bay and Georgette Toews of Grasonville, based on their separate travels to various countries within the continent of Africa. Both of these artists had very busy careers before retirement. Yet both say they found new purpose and unexpected pleasure through travel and art in their lives.
Hart is a Washington native who moved to the Eastern Shore eight years ago upon retiring from her psychotherapy practice. She also is an artist who has shown her work in the Washington area, Annapolis and the Eastern Shore. She said retirement has allowed her more time to pursue her art and her love of travel. “Out of Africa, Paintings from Safari” combines both loves in a very special way.
With camera and husband in tow, she was able to see the animals of the Serengeti as they interacted with each other in their “hauntingly beautiful land.” She said she was touched by the beauty, warmth and dignity of the African people she met.
Toews is a New York native and Air Force personnel officer who served more than 30 years, retiring out of the Pentagon in 2000. Following retirement, she began traveling the world, biking and hiking Ireland, Portugal, New Zealand and other exotic locales.
After moving to the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 2001, she also discovered a totally new world of art when introduced to the local art league, Kent Island Federation of Arts. Inspired by the beauty of the local area, she began painting in watercolor, acrylics, pastels and oil.
She has shown and sold her work in Annapolis and throughout the Eastern Shore and is a currently a regular member of Grafton Galleries in Easton. In September 2015 she ventured to Cape Town, South Africa, and went on Safari to Zimbabwe, Botswana an Namibia. The beauty of Africa and the magnificence of the animals were so inspiring she began painting immediately upon returning.
“Many of the animals pictured are endangered by loss of habitat, ivory poaching and hunting. To see the wild animals and habitat in balance is a profound lesson to us of what we have lost in our modern lives and need to find in some way again. In another generation or two, many of the magnificent animals of Africa may be extinct in the wild,” Toews said.
Literature will be available at the show from the Wildlife Conservation Network, one of the best organizations working toward saving habitat for our animal partners, she added.
In addition to paintings, Hart and Toews have decorated fabric wrapped African animals that will be for sale. A workshop providing the chance to wrap and decorate your own animal will be held on Saturday, May 20, at the A.M. Gravely Gallery. The workshop will be conducted by Candace Liccione of Wye River Designs of Grasonville and is suitable for both adults and children.
For more information, call 410-745-5059.