About the artist...


"I Missed the Memorial Day Parade" (May 2008)


W A T E R C O L O R . . .w h a t    a r e   w e    t h i n k i n g    a b o u t     l a t e l y   ?

T H E    C O L L E C T I O N


P.O.R. -click here





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 West.

PLANNING BEGAN IN 2001
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.  The 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  It voted all funds to complete purchase payments for the Lachat property be withdrawn (not legal but they did it anyway) from the Capital Budget.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 develop?

        

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 rewriting 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!

               

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TOUJOURS LACHAT


(First half of "About Town" column April 11, 2013 in Weston FORUM)

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.  That 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,” and the 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 thinkers, visionaries, and very practical people, too.  And they are armed with 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 assistance 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 needs.

It is good to be able to dream.  Which is one reason Lachat is so important to all Westonites.  Check out the Committee’s “Master Planning Draft” on the Town of Weston website!

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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 lower price 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?






RECENT WINTRY LANDSCAPES
In order as each series developed.


        
FLAGRANT FLORIDA FLORA
First try (detail) at left.  What you might call a different palet - 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 we learned from the others about Florida landscape. 

        

SOUTHWESTERN CONNECTICUT SUNSET

It is always about dramatic color in the Northeast.  Emotional impact comes from 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 ..."Global Crisis:  From the 1990's to Now."



Produced originally for LWVCTEDFUND 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! 

                 




A SAMPLER OF SMALL WORKS...or partial details of larger ones below, by category:  more recent work at the beginning of each category



   




Landscape, aerial views,  architecture

"Justin's 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"



DETAIL - "Surprise!"



"I Thought I Saw A Fish"






AUTUMN IN WESTON 2009:  And then there is the Juliana Lachat Preserve.  In the colors of autumn.   A song about it...


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 Valley, Summer 2009:  Is That Vermont  I See?" 
We figured it out!  In 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 and some 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?" (detail at right) - sold






SPRING 2009


Teahouse of a New Canaan Morning (2009)




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


"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




Visual 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"                             "After DeChirico."                                              



"Theatre" is the next in the W.H.S. auditorium redo series. 


 "Behind the Blue Door"
                                          

"UP ON THE ROOF" (of TOWN HALL)  and the original song here.  

     
"Neo-Classic Rocks!" (detail)                "Weston Town Hall:  On The Outside Looking In" (detail)


                           
"Under Construction," "Glorious Slate,"
"In the shadow of the tower..." and "Nght 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. 

  


        
A 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 Could Describe It"    




     
In the Berkshires (May 2008)         More Berkshire Landscape (May 2008)





Lachat, Winter, 2007




Winter Snow, 2005-2006




Weston Intermediate School Under Construction, 2004



             
Aerial Norfield (sold)                    Norfield Easter (sold)




 
               
Town Hall Roof                         Town Hall Greensward, 2004 (sold)            
    


      
In the Historic District, 2007        A New Look, 2007 (sold)



      
                                                                                                                                          Georgetown, 2006                                                     Detail of School Road Plan  (sold)                                           Aerial Saugatuck (sold)

               



       
 Divided Loyalties, 2006 (sold)





From the Studio, Winter Snow, 2007





Saugatuck Reservoir (2006)




Lachat Barns (sold)



Lachat East Field - sold



Saugatuck Reservoir sketch



What can be learned from studying the work of others?


   
Once You've Seen One Field...After Frielecher (March 2008) - sold (left)






                 
After Fairfield Porter, 2004 (sold)                                 After Kensett, 2004 (sold)






                  
After Peto, 2005                                           45 Degree Hopper, 2005 (sold)                Homeric Memory, 2004






Flowers and still-life


SKETCH:  After O'Keefe (2008)


Detail of Fauve Still Life (May 2008)





Two Perspectives, 2007




                           


Red Roses For Me 2007




                                                        

                
Symbolic Flowers - (in a private            Easter Flowers 2007 (sold) 
collection)                                 


 
Red Tulips, 2005



Still-life, 2005





Where's the cat?



Brother can you spare a dime?



Good Riddance (prize-winning watercolor at Ridgefield Guild)


ASSORTED STILL LIFE WORKS FROM OUR PORTFOLIO NOT PREVIOUSLY APPEARING HERE:

        


    


    











Portrait

        

Al (April 2008)                             Detail, Tracey on the Moors (May 2008) - (in a private collection)        


     


Oliver (in a private collection)


                          
My Dad                                    Mommy Had Eyes in the            Detail of larger painting -
                                               Back of Her Head                       CAT WOMAN:  1950's Dinner in the Bronx     

                           

 



About the artist
                                 
          
Apr 26, 2007 - I - WESTON FORUM
Weston: Margaret Wirtenberg honored with Millie Best Award
This 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 hall.

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 Agency (SWRPA).

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.


Artist we recognize as important to our vision  here  since 1977.  A NYTIMES slideshow here:  http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/06/26/arts/20090626-ENSOR_index.html