Chestertown RiverArts Studio Tour


Now in its 18th year, the RiverArts Studio Tour promises to be exciting, as always. Close to 50 artists and artisans will be opening their studios to the public on this free self-guided tour on October 21-22 and 28-29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, rain or shine. On First Friday, October 6, the Studio Tour Exhibit will open at RiverArts with examples of art by the artists on the tour.

In addition to seeing the work of six new artists, visitors will be happy to know that many of their favorite artists are again participating in the tour this year. It’s fun to revisit favorite artists to see their latest work and how it has evolved. In the studio setting visitors can often compare earlier works with the artist’s latest efforts and get the inside scoop on changes in subject, technique or philosophy. Learning the artists’ stories and backgrounds can show why a particular artist has changed direction.

Four artists whose work continues to evolve are Rob Glebe, Patti and Dave Hegland and Marjorie Morani.

Rob Glebe is in his 12th year as an artist. His metal vessels are his signature work. The vessels expanded into wall art. He particularly liked to make pod or leaf shaped pieces that he arranged across a metal background. Next he developed wall art. Rob loves to work with Corten steel because it develops a surface rust that has a beautiful patina, but remains stable. Conversely, he uses stainless steel because it will not rust and is so elegant looking in a sculpture. He is now getting commissions to create large scale outdoor sculptures and has played with designs for his own personal sculpture garden located next to his home.

Dave and Patti Hegland are a husband and wife team known for innovative designs, complex construction and precise finishing of their art glass. As dedicated collectors of fine craft for over 20 years, the Heglands developed a strong sense of personal style and an appreciation of well-designed and well-executed work before making the decision to become professional artists.

They took their first kiln glass class in February 2009, which confirmed they had discovered their medium. A second class a few months later focused on the strip construction technique that offered the design control they were seeking in their art. Since then, they have taken numerous workshops and studied with outstanding artists in the field of kiln-formed glass to gain specific technical skills. In 2013, they were selected as the winner of the prestigious Niche Award for kiln glass. Recently, they have added the construction of larger, one-of-a-kind sculptures and wall pieces to their portfolio.

Marjorie Morani was a registered nurse at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore. When she moved to Chestertown in 1972, she went to Washington College where she received her BFA. From 1991 to 2006 Marj lived on Anguilla where she often worked in plein air and painted the island’s fishermen and market ladies. She worked in pastel, oil and clay and her style was impressionistic. Marj returned to Chestertown where she continued to paint in the impressionist style – a style that she has come to feel is “loose and not well defined.”

Two years ago Marj Morani began exploring abstract painting techniques since she found it more challenging.

Two years ago Marj began exploring abstract painting techniques since she found it more challenging. “I wanted to try something different, something more from my imagination rather than copying something from nature or from a photo. I wanted to see if I could paint a feeling or an emotion and hope people would respond to just shapes and color. I now add gold leaf, white gold or variegated copper in my paintings if it adds to what I am trying to express.”

The six new artists on the tour cover a broad range of media including textiles, decoy carving, metal sculpture, painting and photography.

Fifteen years ago, Lesley Campana was looking for a challenging art form. She chose textiles. Lesley’s weaving uses classic designs that she modifies to make unique. She also creates many of her own original designs. She has even obtained a copyright on one of them.” Lesley weaves many scarves, shawls, infinity scarves, table runners and kitchen towels.

Decoy carver, Doug Gates, has been a waterfowl hunter since the 1950s and collected wooden ducks. He came to admire each one of them for their artistic characteristics. He decided to take up carving in 1989. “I’ve made more canvasbacks and black heads than anything else and quite a few black ducks, too. I have tried my hand at different birds including barn swallows, owls, crows, snipe, a few swan, geese and a slew of shore birds.”

Of late, Doug has been focusing on rescuing old wooden decoys that have seen their day and so he cleans them up and resurrects them, not to their former glory, but out of respect for their proud past.” He probably has a hundred or more decoys in his collection, some of which will be displayed during the Studio Tour.

Robert Lasus’ art background includes an MFA in Sculpture. He creates sculptures in stainless steel, wood and found objects. “The artistic challenge is to take heavy, lifeless materials like wood and evoke a sense of lightness and movement.” With all his work there is an environmental consciousness.

Most of Bob Lasus’s major public works have been stainless steel horses.

After years of working with other materials that require varying degrees of maintenance to retain their pristine looks and survival, stainless steel seemed to be the material of choice. Most of Bob’s major public works have been stainless steel horses, which are displayed in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, at AstraZeneca Corporate Headquarters, in Wilmington and in private collections. There are a number of pieces visible in and around his Rock Hall Studio.

Joanne Lantzy Plum’s interest in art developed at an early age due to her father’s influence. She works in oils, soft pastels, acrylics, color pencils and some graphite and charcoal. Her subject matter ranges from landscapes, seascapes, still life and portraits of pets and people for which she takes commissions.

Alice Ritchie took art classes as a child and got back into art after retiring from a career as a lawyer and child advocate. She is now able to indulge her passion for travel and her art is often based on those experiences. Alice works in pastels and acrylics. She is a very adventurous pastel painter in that she tackles complicated compositions, particularly those of people and architecture.

Sherrie Von Sternberg took up photography nine years ago. She uses three different cameras. The Nikon D750 is a tool she can use in any situation. It is a full frame camera with an infinite range of uses. Her subject matter ranges from a simple stalk of corn to a complex human being. Sherrie’s iPhone 7+ has a great app that makes it very similar to using film. She can see what she is shooting and manipulate it in the camera. Sherrie just started using the Polaroid 600 Plus. “It is definitely a challenging camera – you have no control over it. Photos come out the way they come out – it is a surprise every time. I use it for getting a different perspective on a project. It lets me show a different kind of art.”

Examples of each artist’s work are included on and will be on display at RiverArts, located at 315 High Street, in Chestertown. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; First Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. During the tour the gallery will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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Allison Downes

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Attraction July 2017 Cover