Pauline Stephenson’s abstract artwork a summer attraction

untitled painting by Pauline Stephenson

Untitled painting by Pauline Stephenson.

There’s a small but sweet summer exhibit of abstract paintings by local artist Pauline Stephenson that’s worth taking a peak at if you’re in downtown Bowmanville.

The free exhibit runs for the full two months of July and August, so there’s still plenty of time to drop by the town hall to view the works. And with just seven pieces, it need not be a time-consuming venture.

Hanging in the foyer to the left of the entrance, through the white doors that lead to Council Chambers, is the series of medium-sized untitled works. Through a pleasing juxtaposition of blues and orange-browns, Stephenson’s use of colour suggests an exploration of earth and sky.

Rectangular spaces define areas of dark and light. A few of the abstracts hint at the form of a building; one suggests a landscape, while another is map-like. The shapes are dominated by earth tones and sky blues, done in big strokes and painted in what Stephenson calls “the ultra friendly medium of fluid acrylics on paper and canvas.”

Originally from England, Stephenson started painting about 30 years ago. She lived in Orono before moving to Newcastle last year. She belongs to a group of artists from Markham called Synergy, which has upcoming shows in Scarborough in September and in The Beaches after Christmas. “We all paint in the same medium,” she says.

Well-known for years for her intimate water colours, Stephenson says she needed to grow as an artist and change her painting format. “You get to a certain point with water colours where you need to rely on something that’s not an image, that’s out of your imagination. But it’s hard to do that with water colours. You can’t put big, bold strokes down. The best medium for that is acrylic.”

The artist says that at any given time, she always has a few paintings on the go. She says she is looking forward to visiting her daughter, who lives in Bermuda. While there, she says she hopes to find inspiration from the island’s buildings.

“I do have some thoughts in my mind on a series of paintings,” she says. “I take a lot of shots of buildings, and make abstract shapes from them.”

Stephenson’s work is represented in private collections in England, New York, Canada and the Middle East. She has had showings at the McKay Art Centre in Unionville, the Algonquin Visitors Centre, and the Visual Arts Centre of Bowmanville, among others.

The Clarington Gallery is located in the Municipal Administrative Centre, 40 Temperance St., Bowmanville. The exhibition may be viewed during regular business hours 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Admission is free.


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