Volume XVII, Issue 27 # July 2 - July 8, 2009

Spotlight on Art

The road often traveled inspires art.

reviewed by Sara Newman

Rush hour on Rt. 4: those words send shivers down any commuter’s spine. An endless display of red taillights and bumper to bumper traffic spoil the view of the nine-to-five crowd. The experience is rarely enjoyable.

Two artists, however, have found so much beauty along Rt. 4 that they have dedicated an art show to it. Suzanne Shelden, a graphic artist and owner of Shelden Studios, and Deborah McClure, a local entrepreneur and health insurance broker, appreciate the rarity of rural-ness — even as it’s getting rarer in Calvert.

“I used to live in Montgomery County and I saw a lot of the country disappear into the city,” said Shelden. “After traveling up and down Route 4, [I’ve noticed] that Calvert County has a way of keeping the view.”

Featured Calvert County landmarks include the Thomas Johnson Bridge, All Saints Episcopal Church at the corner of Rt. 2 and Rt. 4 and the Support Our Troops barn in Owings.

The paintings — acrylics for Shelden and watercolor or McClure — are based on pictures taken on the road.

“If traffic is not too bad, I pull over and stop, but a lot of our pictures have the rear view mirror in them because we aren’t able to stop,” said McClure.

McClure and Shelden show about two dozen pieces. All are for sale, with the artists donating 20 percent of each sale to the Calvert Farmland Trust and the American Chestnut Land Trust, both preservers of rural land.

“In a way, artists are thanking the people who have worked so hard to keep this land open,” said Shelden. “It’s our way to support those efforts.”

“We’re planning on making this a series to help preserve the beauty of the county,” said McClure. “We’re hoping this is the beginning and other artists will get involved.”

See the best of Route 4 at the gallery’s opening reception with appetizing food and drink July 3, 5-8pm, before fireworks both south, at the Rod ‘n’ Reel in Chesapeake Beach, and north, at Herrington on the Bay in Rose Haven. Reception resumes July 4, 1-5pm. Showing thru July 26 11am-5pm Th-Su @ Artworks @ 7th, North Beach. free: 410-286-5378.