STORY WRITTEN BY TARA LYNN JOHNSON
For Digital First Media
Ten years ago, a sorority of artists came together to offer support, encouragement, and camaraderie, as well as community outreach. That group of women celebrates their anniversary with “Ten Colorful Years: An Exhibition of Paintings by ARTsisters” at Jenkins Arboretum.
The exhibit, which will be displayed March 28 through April 26, features oils, watercolors, acrylics, monoprints, mixed media, and collage by individual members, as well as a mural called “Shades of Green” that the group made together. Artistic styles range from abstract to representational; some pieces will be narrative or whimsical in their design.
ARTsisters, founded in December 2005 by Linda Dubin Garfield and Leslie DeBrocky, shares resources, offers support, schedules both individual and group shows, and uses some of the monies raised from sales to support various non-profit organizations (in the past, they’ve given support to Juvenile Diabetes, The Cancer Support Community, The Food Trust, Child Advocates, and Laurel House, among others).
Blanche Levitt Torphy, Ph.D. is an ARTsister and serves now as president of the group. She’s a painter and mixed-media artist from Bryn Mawr. She has three pieces in the anniversary exhibit — pastels and landscapes. She studied watercolor for years and also does mixed media and collage. She’s inspired by the natural world and beautiful sights around her, she said.
She also helped to create the group mural, which is made up of four large canvas panels featuring old members’ artwork that has been cut up and reassembled to make a cohesive piece.
“I got to work next to people and see how different their processes are,” she said.
One of the artists she worked near was Sandi Neiman Lovitz, an abstract painter and ARTsister from Havertown.
“I’m very neat and methodical. I was next to Sandi, who was throwing paint on the canvas and smushing it around with her hands. Meanwhile, I’m still looking for my paintbrush,” Torphy said. “We had a lot of fun.”
“It was so much fun to be with other friends doing art,” Lovitz said. “I marvel at how different each of us do our thing and then it all comes together in a wonderful harmony.”
Even though she can’t always paint with her ARTsisters and can’t paint every day, Torphy is always thinking about art, she said. It has always been in her life. It did take a back seat to her career in the pharmacology sector, she said, but she never forgot how much fun she had drawing as a young girl. She always loved looking at art, too. After retiring from the working world, she focused on raising her family and taking art classes again. Her painting means a lot to her.
“It’s like I block everything out. It’s when I’m at my happiest. There’s something about working with color. It’s very meditative,” she said. “I love the flow of the paint. It really is a nurturing thing for me.”
And she has found other like-minded individuals in her ARTsisters and looks forward to celebrating their anniversary with the “Ten Colorful Years” exhibit.
“They are artistic-minded women,” she said. “ARTsisters is a great group of talented women. They all really are devoted to their art as well as giving back to the community in some artistic way.”
IF YOU GO
What: “Ten Colorful Years: An Exhibition of Paintings by ARTsisters”
When: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. daily March 28- April 26. An opening reception is planned for 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 29.
Where: Jenkins Arboretum, 631 Berwyn Baptist Road, Devon.
Info.: Call (610) 647-8870 or visit www.jenkinsarboretum.org
For more information on the group, visit www.ARTsisters.org