Tag Archives: artists

MEET MEMBER CAROLINE SCHWIRIAN:  HARDLY A STILL LIFE!

CAROLINE SCHWIRIAN–HARDLY A STILL LIFE!

Caroline Schwirian at Back-to-School Brunch

Caroline and her husband Larry met in architecture school and still maintain a firm together.  They joined BOLLI in the fall of 2015 because, Caroline says, “Larry and I tend to focus too much on work.  I realized we needed an outlet that we could both enjoy.  After some research, we decided on BOLLI where we could have both a learning and social experience.”

Since joining BOLLI, both have enjoyed the wide range of classes the program provides, “giving each of us opportunities to learn things that we hadn’t had time to study over the years.”  In addition to the courses, though, Caroline says she has especially enjoyed the summer/winter lecture series on history and music.  She has also joined the Membership Committee and assisted in organizing this spring’s Back-to-School Brunch.

Outside BOLLI, Caroline has a variety of “extra-curricular” interests that keep her busy.  “I have always loved plants and flowers,” she says.  “I never had much time while working, but after retirement, I took a cue from the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and decided to start a small vegetable garden.  It’s difficult to battle the rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels, but I am persistent.”

“One thing that led me to architecture was my love of drawing,” Caroline muses.  “Unfortunately, after you reach a certain stage, you don’t get to use those skills that much in an office.  Last summer, I took the drawing course offered by BOLLI, and it helped me get back into sketching.  In her recent course on 18th and 19th Century French Painting, Suzanne Art encouraged us to try our hands at still life.” On Suzanne’s cue, Caroline went, quite literally, back to the drawing board and created the following piece of work.

Caroline’s Recent Still Life

Perhaps her most encompassing interest, though, has been the Schwirian house and the preservation of the Auburndale Local History District.  “Our home has been a labor of love for 42 years,” she said.  “It was kind of run-down when we bought it, so we have a lot of ‘sweat equity’ in it.”  She goes on to say that a small part of the house dates from 1810 when it was the gatehouse for a long-gone estate. Most of it dates from 1849, when it was one of the first houses in Auburndale, a Newton village.  The house was designed by architect Charles Edward Parker who also designed the United Parish Church of Auburndale (1857) located nearby.  United Parish is one of the few remaining wooden Romanesque churches in the area and is noted as a Newton landmark as well as being on the National Historic Register.  The composer Horatio Parker was born in the house in 1863.  Parker, who wrote primarily church music, went on to be the Dean of the School Music at Yale where he taught Charles Ives.

“Many of the homes in our area date from the 1840’s to the early 1900’s,” Caroline says.  “Many in our neighborhood feel that we are only the temporary stewards of these houses. When a number of our neighbors realized that the character of the area was changing, a concerted effort was begun to protect the houses and their history by creating a local historic district.”  Caroline co-chaired the Historic District Committee for the Lasell Neighborhood Association, and, following state guidelines, she, with others, researched the history and styles of many homes in the area and then presented the findings to the City of Newton.  “Of course, politics were involved, so it took five years of work,” she says.  “But the Auburndale Local Historic District finally became law in 2005.”   Her interest in preservation has influenced her work and led her to move on to another office that focused on preservation projects.  In private practice, renovations and/or home additions are designed to be compatible with the original structures.

Caroline, was born in Cleveland and attended Western Reserve’s School of Architecture (now Case Western Reserve University).  She was one of only two women in her Freshman class of thirty plus classmates and was one of only twelve to graduate five years later—this during a time when only 1% of all licenses architects in the U.S. were women.

In the fall, Caroline and Larry will be sharing their love of architecture when they will serve as BOLLI SGLs.  Their five-week course will focus on learning to look at architecture.  “When we can, we enjoy traveling to see the art, the architecture, and the culture of other places,” she says.  “My favorite journeys, though, are the ones that take me to see my grandchildren in Ohio and DC.”

BOLL Matters editor and “Meet Our Members” feature writer, Sue Wurster

There’s nothing I like more than getting to know the people around me even better!  I hope you’ll leave a comment for Caroline in the box below.  It means a lot to each of our profiled members!  And I’d love to hear from you about you!

MEET MEMBER DICK HANELIN: “WELL-GROUNDED” PRINTMAKER

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BOLLI Member Dick Hanelin shares linoleum prints based on his photography with the Camera Club.

At a meeting of the Camera Club during the spring term, relatively new BOLLI member Dick Hanelin shared linoleum prints he has made from photos he has taken.  The amount of detail and intricacy in his work are quite stunning.  Here’s what Dick has to say about his art.

I was an elementary school teacher for 37 years and taught in New York City and Newton, MA.   As a teacher,  I integrated the visual and performing arts into all curriculum areas.  After retirement, I took a variety of art courses and found I was most smitten by creating sculptures and linoleum prints.  Through Arthur Sharenow’s course at BOLLI,  my interest in photography was rekindled, and I have used some of my photos as a springboard for creating some of my linoleum prints.

I was drawn to linoleum prints because of the bold and graphic images that can be created through the use of contrasts.  In seeking out subjects for my prints, I am always thinking about shape, texture, line, and value. These elements of design are my driving force. That is why, for example, I find construction sites and basements (not your typical subjects) as fertile ground for my prints. I try to create a tension and movement in my pieces by using both realistic and imaginative elements in my compositions.

The printmaking process begins with making a drawing and then transferring it onto a block of linoleum.  I then carve into the linoleum with a variety of tools that create marks of different thicknesses. After this, ink is rolled onto the block of linoleum. (For my prints, it’s black ink.)  Where I have cut out the linoleum, white lines, shapes, and textures will appear, while the rest of the print will be black or gradations of grey.  This process takes much time, but I find it very enjoyable.

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Hanelin_004_web copy

Dick and his wife Isobel, both career educators,  are now active BOLLI members who serve on the Study Group Support Committee. We are all benefitting from the wealth of their experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEET MEMBER SAM ANSELL: What is a Cartoon?

Sam Ansell, Cartoonist
Sam Ansell, Cartoonist

Well, if you eliminate political cartoons a la Pat Oliphant, and funny papers, and illustrations, and graphic novels, you are left with the spot cartoon–a single drawing or sequence of drawings that have no particular meaning beyond a simple comment on either something going on in the Zeitgeist or in common amusing experiences.  For example, a great Peter Arno cartoon shows a lonely spot next to a street lamp. It is night, and a young couple is talking to a police officer. The guy is carrying the back seat of an auto, and he says to the cop, “We wish to report a stolen car.”  No social message. No moral. Like any good cartoon, it is self-referential, and its only purpose is to garner a laugh.  Like this one–

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It was one of those tree huggers, wasn’t it?

How are cartoons conceived? Well, in my case I may be thinking of something or observing something, and a switch occurs to me–something that relates to the original notion but turns it around or reveals an unexpected consequence.

SAM Red Sox
All the same, I’m sorry for the poor Red Sox.

Let me trace one idea I had for a cartoon. For some reason, I was watching some ants.  What do ants do?  They bite people.  What if one bit an ant expert?  How would the ant feel about that?  How would he behave afterwards?  And the cartoon flashes in my head. One ant is prancing about in a very conceited manner, and another ant says to his companions, “He’s been impossible ever since he bit E.O. Wilson.”

SAM AntsOf course, it all loses its punch when I explain how it came about,  which is why I should never tell anyone where my ideas come from.

SAM queen
Corgi and Bess

How did I get interested in cartooning? I suppose it was because when I was very little, my father would read me the funnies after I was tucked up in bed at night. My heroes were not sports figures or soldiers: they were Moon Mullins, Mutt and Jeff, and Ignatz Mouse. So I guess that’s when I started scribbling down little sketches.  At Harvard, I had a lot of cartoons and stories printed in the Harvard Lampoon, and later, when I got a Master’s Degree in Journalism at Columbia, I contributed cartoons and a cover to the Columbia Jester.

SAM Spot
“Et tu, Spot?”
SAM Lands End
“If you can’t rely on Land’s End, whom can you rely on?”

In New York, I worked for various advertising agencies as a copy writer, finding time to submit cartoons to national magazines.  I even placed a couple of drawings in Collier’s and Argosy;  alas, they both went out of business, killed by television.

Of course, every cartoonist’s dream is to place a drawing in The New Yorker, and though I sent in hundreds of “roughs,” none were ever accepted.  Frankly, I think the cartoons they do print just plain stink, but that may be sour grapes.

SAM Lost and Found

While working in New York, I met Na’ama, married her, and became the father of Gideon, Seth, and Aliza.  Then our family returned to Boston where I took over the family business – we were wholesalers of glass and plastic bottles.  After I retired,  we divided our time between the USA and a home in Italy.  Returning to America, we felt a need for intellectual stimulation, so when we heard about BOLLI, we enrolled and have been taking classes ever since.  And every once in a while, an idea strikes me, and I draw it up.

SAM bar

Editor’s Note:  Sam also provides cartoons for BOLLI’s newsletter, The Banner.  This month’s volume, now available online and in hard copy, features yet another gem.  Be sure to check it out!

MEET MEMBER ELLEN MOSKOWITZ: A “PAINTERLY” PRINTMAKER

Ellen printmaking
BOLLI Artist Ellen Moskowitz

 

A “PAINTERLY” PRINTMAKER

Eight years ago, I retired from 33 years of teaching art in the Boston Public Schools, and, soon after, my sister took a class in monotype printmaking.  When I saw the variety of techniques used in the process, I was greatly intrigued and took a class myself.  I’ve been printing ever since!

Monotype printmaking involves planning, spontaneity, and unexpected outcomes.  Although the basic technique consists of painting on a plate and then running it, with paper on it, through a press, the print does not end up being an exact copy of the plate because of what happens as it’s put through the press.  Monotype has been called “the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques” and is often called “the painterly print” or the “printer’s painting.”

I particularly enjoy monotype because the process offers infinite potential for variation– including working on prints after they’ve been through the press.   I use watercolors, colored pencils, crayons, acrylic paints, and collaging.  I’ve also worked with styrofoam and linotype and created several collages out of cut up, rearranged, and recombined monoprints.

1 Monotype with watercolor added

watercolors added
Frog and Harvest Monotypes with Watercolors Added
3 Deer mono
Deer Monotype
4 After the Aborigine 2.1
After the Aborigine 2.1
5 collage made from prints
Collage Made from Prints
Pennsylvania Tree Linotype
Pennsylvania Tree Linotype
Henna Plant Styrofoam Print
Henna Plant Styrofoam Print
Trees & Bird Monotype with Collage
Trees & Bird Monotype with Collage

Although I’ve been aware of BOLLI for about 10 years and encouraged my husband David to join,  I didn’t  join myself until one and a half years ago.  I’m so glad I finally did.  I have really enjoyed the classes and meeting so many vibrant people through it. I like taking a variety of courses and being exposed to so many new ideas. In addition to BOLLI, I really enjoy time at our condo in Williamstown.  There’s so much to do out there–  theater, museums, and the beautiful outdoors!