Artist of the Month: Ruth Boyles

Ruth Boyles, the September Artist of the Month, is shown with one of her paintings

By Ruth Boyles

For years I  had thought maybe there was an artist inside me that just needed to be taught how.  

One year, David Smith, a wonderful artist friend of mine and I were doing some work on Grace Bible Church’s “Living Nativity,” and he invited me to come to a painting class at the Dunmore Senior Center.  

I went, not knowing anything about art except that I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I thought I was just going to learn to paint, which I did.  But more than that I found many new friends.  People I have grown to love.  

I have immensely enjoyed my last nine years at what is presently called the Dunmore Activity Center.  In our sketch class, we have dabbled with watercolors, acrylics, pastels, charcoal on different surfaces, pen and ink, and during the painting time, most of us work with oils. 

We appreciate the help of our teacher, Jill Swersie, as she has very unselfishly given of herself to teach us how to make our paintings take on new dimensions and lives of their own.  We look forward to having her back full time when the Covid business is over.  

For now we are learning from each other.  I have been working on a “commission” of a barn which I especially enjoy painting for someone in the area.  It is special to this person because it was built during the Civil War.

The red barn was painted during a plein air painting day for our class in Scott Run, Pa.

Artist of the Month: Dolly Michalczyk

June Artist of the Month Dolly Michalczyk is shown working on her abstract painting entitled “Long Island.”

By Dolly Michalczyk

Painting classes at the DCC have provided us with a creative outlet, contact with other like-minded folks, and friendships.  For a year-and-a-half our classes had been cancelled.  

At first, classmate Bev Petrini and I would paint outside, while a few of our braver classmates painted as a group.  Then it just got too cold. 

One would think that with all our free time we would have been painting up a storm, but in reality, most of us did nothing on our own.  Perhaps that speaks to the power of the group, or the need for our teacher’s input, or in my case, my laziness to drag out all I would need to paint in my dining room.  I did take a few online drawing and watercolor classes through The Greenhouse Project, as well as creative writing.  

I missed my friends and colleagues and our terrific teacher Jill Swersie.  May was my first time back.  Returning, it was wonderful to see a few dedicated painters, a few new faces, and even greater to hear of the return of our class on June 6. 

In reality, my only work in oils during this quarantine was touching up a huge commissioned piece of Long Island, as seen in the photo.  It is an abstract representation of that seaside area.  This is my first attempt at abstract painting, and while I enjoyed the freedom, I enjoy realism or impressionism best.  

I am currently working on a painting of my grand-puppies, my youngest granddaughter, Kara, in a dance recital, and my oldest granddaughter, Maura, running cross country.

Being back at the Dunmore Hub has been a joy.  We truly motivate each other.

Artist of the Month: Donna Marie Boland

Donna Boland chose these four pieces of art to feature since there was still snow on the ground when she was writing her article, and this wintry season is what inspired these pictures. She also features pick-up trucks in a lot of her work.She likes personalizing the paintings with family names on the truck and inserting family pets into the scene.

By Donna Marie Boland

I’m Donna Marie (Maro) Boland and I love art. Beautiful art is the difference between a drab, colorless life and a life full of brilliant splashes of passion and emotions, all put on canvas. And everyone’s passion is so different. That’s what I love the most.

But first let me tell you a little about myself. My life is always full of excitement with my loving family. My handsome husband, Sean, is recently retired, so I get to spend much more special time with him.  

This also includes my beautiful daughter, Maria and her husband, Michel, who is a Sommelier at a local vineyard. Maria works as the Assistant Director of Clinical and Patient Services at the Lehigh Valley Health Network. 

And then there’s my musical son, Sean, who is a music therapist at Allied Service and several local nursing homes. Not to mention his talented band members, who practice religiously in our basement. They just cut their first single. He will soon be married to his lovely fiancée, Dominique, who is also licensed in the medical field. They all keep me hopping and I’d have it no other way.  They are all the loves of my life.

I was born and raised in Dunmore.  Most of my friends were from this borough and I’m still a Dunmorean at heart. (We are… the Bucks!)  I now am thrilled to get to know so many more interesting people at this local Dunmore Activity Hub.  

It’s been very hard this last year with Covid to keep track of the health and well-being of each of the artists/friends in this class. I do miss them all greatly, along with our lovely instructor Jill Swersie. I do try to keep in touch with a few of the close friends I’ve made, but I know how hard it is on each of them. I could only hope we’re back together soon.

Besides art, I am a member of the Dave Ragnacci School of Dance and take a regular adult jazz class once a week there. The instructor is also my best friend. So, as an extra bonus, I get to visit with him during classes. 

I do yoga with Theresa Novak most weekdays… now by Zoom, of course. Yoga and her meditation classes have held me together during this trying time. And once it gets a little warmer out, I’ll be back out on my bike. I like doing approximately 14 to 30 miles daily, depending on the day. This keeps me mentally and physically together, and I just love it.

I’ve chosen these four pieces in the photo due to the fact there’s still snow on the ground as I write this and this wintry season is what has inspired these pictures. I love being outdoors and the beauty of snow is exquisite. 

I also have adopted pick-up trucks into a lot of my work. I just enjoy painting them. They are also the ones that I replicate and sell the most of.  I like personalizing them with family names on the truck and inserting family pets into the scene. 

Watching the excited faces of the people purchasing these special portraits for their family elates me. I never get tired of seeing the excitement on the receivers faces. Especially when they see a long passed, beloved pet in the front seat of the truck, next to the steering wheel. Cardinals also tend to fly into a lot of my winter paintings. The bright, red color of the cardinal against the soft, white winter’s snow is always so powerful.

I have loved art most of my life and I’m so happy to be a member of this wonderful group. I hope to have my talented sister, Lynette, join me in a few years when she finally retires. She can put on canvas almost anything she sees, and is always very polished. Looks like I may have to step it up a bit if I’m going to keep up with her talent. Well, I do have a few years to practice before she will be able to join us, but definitely something to look forward to.

I do look forward to getting back with my art friends and suggest anyone with even a little bit of talent, to come on over to this class and join our group. I promise you, you won’t regret it!