Jefferson Patterson Park X 2

      Painter Suzanne Shelden likes her subjects — and canvases — big. So big that she’s making a reputation as a regional portraitist for Calvert County and its distinctive places. She’s made both a Rt. 4 series and the county in winter, painting huge canvases of her favorite sites plus places now vanished except in memory and photos.

         “I do a lot of my observing and composing with my camera,” she told me.

         Now Shelden has turned her attention to Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in St. Leonard.

         She prowls the park for images of which, she says, “I like the color, the texture, capturing something that will never happen again.”

         In the Jefferson Patterson series, one of those places is the MAC Lab, Maryland’s archaeological conservation laboratory.

         “The thing about this painting I really enjoyed is the perspective from the other side of the cornfield and the way the snow sits between the rows and leads you right to the front door,” she said.

         In her Prince Frederick studio, she moves the image from camera to drawing to painting. “I enjoy the process of painting on canvas. I lay the paint down like layering a cake, one layer of tone over another, building it up until it becomes, for me in this case, snow.”

         This one is a big horizontal, a foot and a half high by five feet wide.

         Meet Shelden and see and talk about her work at her show’s opening Fri., Nov. 8 (4-6pm) followed by Native American Heritage Day Saturday Nov. 9 (11am-4pm). Showing thru Dec. 31 10515 Mackall Rd., St. Leonard: 410-586-8501.