Friendship inspires art

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“Sadie and Katie” by Judy Dillon Smith
“Sadie and Katie” by Judy Dillon Smith
“Nature’s Alchemy” by Carol Brown
“Nature’s Alchemy” by Carol Brown

(Posted April 27, 2014)

Gallery On High, 5 E. High St. in London, presents its May show “Art of Friendship,” May 2-31.

The show features original watercolors, mixed media and intro-spective works by artists Judy Dillion Smith and Carol Brown.

Smith and Brown have been friends since meeting in art school at The Ohio State University in the 1970s. They have maintained their friendship for over 40 years through their passion for art but also by sharing life’s ups and downs through careers, family and faith.

Smith credits Brown for getting her into watercolors in the 1980s. Now, they meet for “paint-ins.”

“The paint-ins amount to pro-ductive time to be together and paint,” Brown said. “It is often a time to look at another artist and study what that person is doing, critique our own and each other’s work… It is fun and it is a joy to have each other to bounce off ideas.”

The two artists have recently found that simple challenges have helped get them out of what Smith describes as “frozen” moments.

“With a full load at work and family obligations, it is sometimes difficult to find the balance and time to devote to the fine art. Our exercises make it manageable and keep us connected,” Smith said.

The show is composed of works by both artists, including some painting challenges they set for each other. One exercise was to complete a self-portrait and then a portrait of the other person. They also created the “60 Challenge,” selecting a vessel of their choice and painting it 60 different ways. The scavenger hunt was a search to find objects around the house for each letter of the alphabet and then draw each object.

“Although these exercises sound tedious, they are meant to stir the creative process. It helps to have a friend to do that. We think our art is maturing as well as our friendship,” Brown said.

Although Smith is still working as a full-time designer, she keeps active in the arts. She shows in exhibits, has won several awards, and does commissioned house and pet portraits. She also recently started giving one-day workshops at Gallery On High.

“I feel blessed for the chance to share what I’ve learned and pass it on to other artists,” she said.

Smith is a London resident. Brown lives in Howard, Ohio. Most of the art in their exhibit is available for purchase.

Gallery hours are 4-8 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays, 5-8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays.

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