Plein air painters gather at the Town House. Front row, l-r: Barbara Ewen, Shelley Peterson, and Julia Yoshida. Back row (l-r): Dan Cianfarini, Caleb Stone, and Paula Hult. Courtesy photo

Plein air painters exhibit at The Gallery at Trinity

By Beth

Concord artist, birder, and retired Lahey Clinic internist Julia Yoshida started medical school at age 35, long after most people do. At the time, the advanced-degreed zoologist decided medical school was next on her agenda after caring for an ailing mother. 

Yoshida is one of six painters, including instructor Caleb Stone, whose work is displayed in “Concord and Beyond II,” which runs through June 30 at The Gallery at Trinity. She believes her ambition and varied life choices come from the tenet that she is part of an empowered generation. 

 “I’m from the generation of kids — what Doris Kearns Goodwin describes in her latest book — who felt there were no limits to what we could do. Our focus was on trying to help people and, in that way, impact the world,” she said, noting many of her friends went into the Peace Corps. 

Born nine miles away and nine months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, multitalented Yoshida’s interest in art began in kindergarten. Later, she was encouraged by many, including a college professor, to pursue art professionally.

For practical reasons, her proclivity for science won out, “but I continued to draw to help my students (as a teaching assistant in college) and later to help my patients,” she says. “Visual communication supersedes language.” 

“The Cranberries from Mt. Cadillac” by Julia Yoshida. Courtesy photo

A certain spontaneity

Summer school drawing and painting at Canada’s Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity fueled Shelley Peterson’s passion, but later, her focus navigated to environmental design. 

Artist Shelley Peterson at work. Courtesy photo

“I was worried about making a living in environmental design, though,” the Concord resident recalls, eventually pursuing an architecture degree at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

“I still painted and drew all these years and took courses as these things progressed,” she continues. “As an architect, I like to paint space — the whole surroundings — as opposed to objects.”

With a propensity for watercolor versus oil, Peterson notes, “there’s a certain spontaneity about watercolor. And you have to make a decision and get it right the first time.”

Under Caleb Stone, Peterson has studied in Concord, Rockport, and on Maine’s Monhegan Island, a celebrated artist colony in summer. Her painting, “Monhegan Moment,” was influenced by the island’s light, which she calls “magical.”

“Wherever I go, I paint,” she says. 

Like painting with butter

“Marshside,” Concordian Barbara Ewen’s painting of Cape Cod wetlands on a windy summer day, is just one component of a body of work she’s produced since her first drawing at age 4. The retired president and part owner of the former CHEN P.R., Ewen’s art has appeared in four shows, some as a result of her studying with Stone, whom she credits with making her a better artist. 

Ewen believes painting with oil is an easier medium. “It’s like painting with butter,” she says. “Oil is so forgiving in the sense that you can move colors around. If you see something you want to change slightly, it’s easier. With watercolor,” she says, “you’re really committed.” 

“A Summer Day in Acadia” by Barbara Ewen. Courtesy photo

She describes painting as “relaxing, making you focus, taking your mind off everything else. 

“It took two weeks to paint ‘Marshside.’ That’s a lot of relaxing.”

Additional artists include Dan Cianfarini, Paula Hult, and Caleb Stone. All six had works featured in the first “Concord and Beyond” Trinity exhibit in 2018.

“Concord and Beyond II” can be viewed through June 30, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Friday mornings, as well as following Sunday services from 11 a.m. to noon. Use the River Street entrance. To confirm the gallery is not reserved for a special event, call church administrator Beth Confrancisco at (978) 369-3715, extension 11.