The third annual Keene Art Tour has nearly doubled in size, with more than 30 artists at 18 locations in Keene, most within walking distance of each other. On Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., these artists will open their studios and display their work. Much of it will be for sale and some will demonstrate their craft.
Visit the studios of painters, jewelers, fiber artists, photographers, sculptors and more for some early holiday shopping or unique treasures and gifts. Or chat with the artists about how they make their creations.
Among the group of artists on the tour are several new faces, including Dana Read of Firefly Photography. She describes her work as “whimsical storytelling.” She started as an artist drawing and painting in acrylic, developing her love of photography when she did some traveling. Five years ago, after the birth of her son, he became her favorite subject to capture with her camera. A year later, she started her business, which primarily focuses on portraiture of small children.
photograph by Dana Read
Some of her new work is stylized conceptual, usually with a storyline. One recent shoot was inspired by Beatrix Potter tales. “I was reading about these fantastical creature in the woods with my 4-year-old and I wanted to create my own story,” she said. The result is a series she titled “Fox Hollow,” the story of a fox and a hare she captured by creating masks for her two young models. “My stories are always gentle and uplifting,” she said.
Another recent shoot she modeled after the Arthurian legend-inspired book, “The Mists of Avalon,” a knights-of-the-round table story told from a female perspective.
“It is in a dream-like setting involving a young woman and a 6-month-old baby laid in water,” she said. “I loved the idea of this magical, enchanted place and an empowered female and the connection of mother and child.”
Read will have prints from her photography series available for sale during the tour.
First-time Keene Art Tour participant Marylise Reilly-Fajal brings her international experience to her painting. Raised in France, she earned her master’s in fine arts at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where she exhibited her oil paintings in several galleries. She has shown her work in more than 60 exhibitions around the world, including in Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, Portugal and Russia as well as the U.S. She still exhibits her work every year in France. Among her jobs as an artist was drawing Greek and Roman vases at the Louvre in Paris.
“For me, painting is researching life through the visual,” she said. “I have lots of questions and I’m looking for answers through painting.”
In 1985, she was invited by the French Embassy to show her art work in Syria as well as give several lectures about her art and about specific techniques such as etching and printmaking. Her show was sponsored by the Syrian Ministry of Culture and she was the first woman to show and explain her artwork publicly.
She stayed in Syria for a month, traveling around the country sketching everything from outdoor markets to archaeological sites.
“It really opened me to an awareness of women in the world and how fortunate we are in this country to be able to express ourselves and do what we want,” she said.
Now Marylise is an artist, teaches art to home schooled students and is a French teacher. She describes her past work as somewhere between realism and abstract. Since she moved to New Hampshire a couple years ago (she was born in New York) she has her surroundings to inspire her. “When I came here I was in awe with the nature that’s here,” she said. “I painted a lot of woods, lakes and gardens.”
painting by Marylise Reilly
Recently, she’s worked in multi-media collage, incorporating different papers in her painting. “If I’m too much in control it gets boring for me,” she said.
She’ll also have some landscapes and still lifes in oil and watercolor for sale during the tour and will share some of her stories behind her artwork with visitors. She’ll also be painting in her studio.
In addition to the new artists on the tour, there are several new stops on the map this year. In addition to Keene State College’s Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery and Carroll House Gallery, new locations including Hannah Grimes Marketplace on Main Street and the new Make it So — The Monadnock Makerspace on Eagle Court. The non-profit Makerspace will offer space for the arts, a research and development lab and a recreational hobby shop as well as studio and residential space.
The Keene Art Tour is a perfect opportunity to find out what the artisans in your own backyard are doing. Take a friend and enjoy lunch at Keene’s downtown eateries or make a weekend of it and stay at a local bed-and-breakfast or downtown hotel (see KeeneArtTour.com for more information).
Pick up a brochure at the tour headquarters at Creative Encounters or at Hannah Grimes Marketplace, both on Keene’s Main Street, or click link below for printable version.
printable KAT map