Reminder Assistant Editor
WILBRAHAM This is Joyce Emerle's third show at the Wilbraham Public Library, but she's as excited about it as she was about her first.
"This is my hometown," she said. "People here are very supportive of my art. They're very gracious."
Emerle's show opened last Wednesday and displays 24 original pieces from the artist, six of which are photographs. Emerle works primarily in two mediums -- photography and watercolor. Her paintings are often based on photos she's taken.
Although she doesn't have a specific theme for this show, she did note that she's "been to the beach an awful lot this summer, the Vineyard, the Cape," and that those travels are reflected in her works. There are several beach scenes.
"I love the ocean and I love painting lighthouses," she told Reminder Publications. She continued that the sunny days she saw at the beach provided the perfect lighting.
Emerle explained that she "tends to paint seasonally."
"What I see is what I like to paint," she said.
The artist began painting in high school and joked that many of her brushes are almost the same age she is. She's studied at the Leverett Art Center and with "a very demanding teacher" during a time she lived in Belgium. Emerle has also studied at the Springfield Museums and graduated with an associate's degree from Holyoke Community College at age 50. After that, she started hosting one-woman shows throughout the Pioneer Valley and in Connecticut and served as a founder of the Wilbraham Art League. She currently teaches watercolor painting classes at the Hampden Senior Center.
She had a studio in the Indian Orchard Mills for seven years, but now prefers to work out of her home. Emerle said that having the studio in the Mills helped her become more professional, though, and it was there she learned how to show her paintings and gained the confidence to have her own shows.
"I see painting as a form of relaxation," Emerle explained. "It's a passion of mine."
She added that she also loves working with watercolor because it often "takes on a life of its own."
Emerle invites everyone to come see her show in the Brooks Room at the Wilbraham Public Library and enjoy it.
"The arts just take you away," she said. "They help you forget your problems."
Karen Demers, Adult Services Librarian, said that artists generally approach the library to host their shows and that the Brooks Room is currently booked through the end of 2009. Each show lasts one month.
"We've definitely seen a positive reaction [to shows]," Demers said. "There are some very talented people in town."
The library is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesdays from noon to 8 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays.
To learn how to set up a show at the Wilbraham Public Library and see the lineup for the rest of the shows in 2008, visit www.wilbrahamlibrary.org/general/artexhibits.html.