One-woman retrospective "ART AT THE HUB" and new-found interest in painting Weston (old watercolor above);
WATERCOLOR 2013 WILL BE INSPIRED BY, AMONG
OTHER THINGS ...
RETURNING TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN - PAINTING MY FAVORITE MODEL - WESTON!
Graphic expression, drawing maps and website design & management
are all well
and good, but painting landscape and architecture - whether in Weston
or not - is what I like to do. And perhaps one of my favorite
"models" through the years has been the Lachat Farm on Godfrey Road
I had painted the fields and barns after the original purchase of the
property was complete, but these works are not available to me
now. And they were done before this webpage was created.
two paintings below, in private collections, are, for me, very accurate
representations of the scene, and were completed around the time the
planning could legally begin in March 2001.
PLANNING CAME TO A HALT
The town got busy planning for a Conservation - Education
Center, after approval at a Special Town Meeting in June 2004 of a
serious amount of money to pay for architect/engineer fees. ATBM 2006 was held in the new cafeteria at
Weston High School. It voted all funds to complete purchase
payments for the Lachat property be withdrawn (not legal but they did
it anyway) from the Capital Budget. This was one of a number of
setbacks to the 2004 approval that made redevelopment of Lachat wait
in stillness, abandoned. Would yet another planning process
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARDS
After the 2010 threat by the Board of Selectmen to demolish
the Lachat Homestead (below, left) a new idea emerged. As the
buildings had aged
with only minor attention by the Town/Nature Conservancy partnership, a
new Board of Selectmen in 2011 (having responsed to the public outcry),
with a new member from the last "maintenance" town committee, attempted
to revive the project by
the partnership contracts. Again, a new Committee was formed with
a new mission statement, to see if the
historic farm can be reborn. You can tell it has been a long time
since Town Meeting first cried out YES to the purchase - because my own
approach to watercolor has undergone a complete change of style
throughout these years! (New paintings below.) And so has
the planning process itself!
(First half of "About Town" column April 11, 2013 in Weston
Toujours Lachat. I am reminded that some wonderful Weston
volunteers are at work on behalf of all of us.
For the past fifteen years in Weston, we have had a dream.
someday the Juliana Lachat Preserve, including homestead, barns, and
fields, will become a place for community identity.
I have long felt that the initial purchase of the 34 acre lower
fields parcel might very well have been the finest act by a Special
Town Meeting. Ever. The people unanimously cried out “yes,”
land was ours!
And now, here we are with a new generation of Westonites, in a
new century, in difficult financial times, and still stepping up to the
plate. Bravo to the Lachat Oversight Committee! These are
visionaries, and very practical people, too. And they are armed
ideas gleaned from the work of the grass-roots “Friends of Lachat.”
Furthermore, they understand that in a year when the Board of
Finance has felt it necessary to reduce our school budget, this is no
time to return to the well for public money. With the able
of the Board of Selectmen, they are fashioning a very reasonable plan
that will rely on grants and in-kind and monetary contributions to fund
new activities, and the in-place Lachat maintenance moneys for other
It is good to be able to dream. Which is one reason Lachat
so important to all Westonites. Check out the Committee’s “Master
Planning Draft” on the Town of Weston website!
THE CENTRAL PART OF TOWN NEEDS
A PLAN: Will it get one? Where to start? Special
Town Meeting approves purchase of northeast corner property, but at a
than requested - will the offer ultimately be accepted? Can you
name the places shown in the paintings above - features in the
Central Part of Town?
In order as each series developed.
FLAGRANT FLORIDA FLORA First try (detail) at left. What you
a different palette - check the spelling! Details of 2 paintings
above, left. Our free hand computer graphic of different types of
leaves, and a final watercolor (detail) of what
from the others about Florida landscape.
SOUTHWESTERN CONNECTICUT SUNSET
It is always about dramatic color in the Northeast. Emotional
changes in value, as well (which we sometimes forget). " Winter
Sunset" from Redding (higher elevation) toward Weston.
(Details above - first painting at left is a small study)
FOR 2012: Group show
on Lachat in January
at Weston Library ... and
Lachat in Winter
Limited edition, signed and numbered colored prints of..."Is That Vermont I See?" from Trout Brook Valley series
Produced originally for Aspetuck Land Trust - click here.
Limited edition, signed and numbered colored prints of
Crisis: From the 1990's to Now."
Produced originally for
Symposium on International Relations - click here.
Limited edition, signed and numbered colored prints of ... "3-4-5-
Under Construction" -
which is our favorite painting from the School Construction Series.
Produced originally during the construction
process of the new Intermediate School - click here.
2010 Art Show over
- sold these five paintings below!
SAMPLER OF SMALL WORKS...or
partial details of larger ones
below, by category:
recent work at the
beginning of each category
Brook, April 2010" - landscape in Northern New Jersey. This will
be the beginning of a longer-running (no pun intended) series on
watercourses in Weston. Early attempt here.
But first some close observation and
practice from another part of the Tri-State Region!
DETAIL - "Justin's Brook"
"I Thought I Saw A Fish"
AUTUMN IN WESTON 2009:
there is the Juliana Lachat Preserve. In the colors of
autumn. A song
Autumn view of Lachat...it has changed through the years, as the fields
are cut less frequently and grasses grow longer.
An underpainting of transparent primaries...but this time the
action came fast and furious, as the drama of the rolling fields
leading up to the Nature Conservancy was emphasized by the
wheat-colored fields. Something about
this scene always inspites me!
"Lachat in the Fall 2009" (detail) - sold
"Lachat: Still There" - Fall 2009
Step-by-step: "Trout Brook
2009: Is That Vermont I See?" We figured it out!
the winter and the summer, the light rakes deeper shadows; in the
spring and autumn, the important thing in Weston, CT is COLOR!
Using the primary colors only, drawing
with a brush
ochre-mix paint, we sketched in the view. Next step was to put in
the darkest dark area (we usually only do this
in oil, but it seemed right in this case--an anchor for what was to
come). We try to simplify whenever possible, so the next step was
to just look. Where was the eye taking us? How much detail
could we really see at various distances?
How to suggest that the mountain range might be
Vermont? It probably is in Newtown, CT, but the idea was to
suggest Vermont. So we decide to use the third primary, red, to
depict the rolling hills in the distanced. Since this was whimsy,
we thought it would get your attention! Couldn't
get the beauty of the
view out of our mind, so we doodled the
graphic depiction! And
then we did a big one!
"Trout Brook Valley, Summer
2009: Is That Vermont I See?" left, in progress second wash,
final wash; graphic; Detail at right of large painting - sold.
Teahouse of a New Canaan Morning
Weston Window Treatment (2009)
Spring Is here! See
additional paintings in our "Window on My World -
April-May-June in Weston 2009" below!
Spring Greening (detail)
Who Put the Dog In Dogwood? (detail)
Spring Sprung (detail)
My Private Dogwood Festival (2009)
Let Me Out!
Curtain Going Up (detail)
Sketch: Weston Primeval (detail)
WINTER IS THE CRUELIST SEASON, WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO T.S. ELIOT
"Can't See the Forest for the Tree" 2009 - sold
"Last Snow of Winter" (detail) 2009
"Long Winter Shadow" (detail)
2009 - sold
"Bent Not Broken"
"Stretching for Spring" 2009
cues about life all around us... 2008 "Turn
of the Screws" is a
substitute for notes taken at the Building Committee on August 27,
2008, the day before schools opened for the year! "Dust to
Dust" (detail) plays with shadows in a different way!
Detail, "No Exit"
is the next in the
W.H.S. auditorium redo series. "Behind the Blue Door"
"Weston Town Hall: On The
Outside Looking In" (detail)- in a private collection.
Construction," "Glorious Slate," "In the
shadow of the tower..." and "Night Falls (detail)" above.
Not an antique, Weston Town Hall sits in the first Historic
District. One of the things that
distinguishes the Weston Town Hall area
is how well new and older styles of architecture blend together.
series of paintings about time.And place.
It is Memorial Day at the Weston Town Hall gazebo and "greensward" (May
2008)...the artist stayed home to paint rather than attend the ceremony.
Memorial Day Honor - "No Words
In the Berkshires (May 2008) More
Berkshire Landscape (May 2008)
26, 2007 - I - WESTON FORUM Weston:
Margaret Wirtenberg honored with Millie Best Award
Saturday, April 28, the Kiwanis Club of Weston will kick off Green-Up
Day by honoring Westonite Margaret Wirtenberg with the third annual
Kiwanis Millie Best Environmental Award.
The award will be presented at 9 a.m. at the Norfield Church parish
Ms. Best, who died in 2004, started Green-Up Day in 1972 by organizing
a townwide effort to pick up trash and litter from Weston’s roadsides
on the last Saturday of April. In 1995, the governor signed a bill
making the last Saturday in April Green-Up Day for all of Connecticut.
Since 1999, The Weston Forum readers have been reading About Town, Dr.
Wirtenberg’s weekly column on local development and the environment.
She is also the producer and host of About Town, a program on
Cablevision Channel 77 about Connecticut’s 169 towns.
Dr. Wirtenberg was instrumental in developing the town’s conservation
plans and spearheaded the effort to start up an annual Hazardous Waste
Collection day, held in conjunction with Green-Up Day.
Some may be unaware of the scope of her contributions to the town since
she and her husband, Al, moved to Weston in 1980. Since 1996, she has
been a member of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
and has been a Weston representative on South Western Regional Planning
She served on the Weston Planning and Zoning Commission and was a
consultant to Greater Bridgeport Transit District. One special
volunteer role has been as a land use specialist for the League of
Women Voters of Connecticut.
In the 25 years she has lived in town, Dr. Wirtenberg probably holds
the record for attending the most board meetings, from planning to
education, of any citizen. Dr. Wirtenberg said she is truly committed
to this town and believes volunteerism is its heart.
A graduate of Barnard College, she went on to get her master’s degree
in planning from the Graduate School of Architecture, Pratt Institute,
and a doctorate in public administration from New York University.
She is a watercolorist and particularly enjoys painting Weston
landscapes. It’s because of her love for the beauty of the land that
she says, “For this and other reasons more important to society at
large, I am interested in preserving the natural environment.”
After the presentation of the award, rain or shine, the kickoff of
Green-Up Day begins at 10:15 behind Norfield Church. Collection bags
and routing instructions will be issued.