Wally’s art: There’s an art exhibit currently on the walls of Pemaquid Watershed Association’s office-gallery in Damariscotta titled “Remembering Wally.” It is a retrospective of the artwork, in various mediums, of the late artist Wally Margaret Huber Schweighauser, who would have turned 105 on Sept. 3. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 103.
Schweighauser’s PWA show fills two rooms with her oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings; monotypes; wax-resist pieces; pen and charcoal pieces; and ceramic work.
A prolific artist, Schweighauser did not come into the artmaking part of her life until after she had raised four children and was in her 50s. She also, according to a recent press release, “loved oysters, whistling with the birds, and rock gardening. She yodeled, spoke three languages, and wrote stories.”
Schweighauser’s delight in living is evident in her art. From her realistic charcoal pencil drawing “Weeds & Seeds” to her two monotypes of a dancing woman, both titled “Pilar,” to her abstract pieces, such as “Peace & Love” and the striking, industrial-looking “Abstract,” Schweighauser makes it clear that she enjoyed observing what went on around her as much as she simply loved putting paint on canvas (or pencil to paper, or the like).
“Her life was a book in the making,” Waldoboro artist Valerie Greene told me recently. Greene, as some know, is Schweighauser’s granddaughter. (Side note: Greene’s eponymous studio on Jefferson Street in Waldoboro is one of the unarguable highlights of a visit to ArtWalk Waldoboro.)
“Wally wrote stories, poems, thoughts about nature and the universe,” Greene said. “Wally aspired to be art-educated once she began delving into her passion. Painting. Creating.
“Wally started attending night school at the School of Fine Art Museum Boston in the late ’60s. After a couple of years, she went before the review board and was accepted into day school, a dream come true. Unfortunately, there was a financial setback and she couldn’t afford the day classes after a year, but the school let her attend and she did, for five years, knowing that there would be no degree.
“Moving forward, Wally continued to attend workshops, classes, even Penland (School of Crafts in North Carolina) in 1977 on a full scholarship. She never stopped learning and creating until her passing at 103 years young.
“‘Remembering Wally,’ a small retrospective show, was assembled to show just a bit of the path that she traveled in her unique art life.”
Take in the “Wally” show before it closes. Standing before her pieces, one can feel the vibrant spirit of Schweighauser in the room.
“Remembering Wally” runs through Thursday, Oct. 18. The PWA office-gallery is located at 584 Main St., Damariscotta.
Poetic emails: I did not have room to mention this in my column of Sept. 18 about jewelry designer Joe Lugosch, so I am taking the time now to give props to Peapod Jewelry office and marketing manager Diane Walsh for the poetic promotional emails she sends out.
From “Mount Katahdin at Night”: “Encased by darkness, we watched as sparks from our crackling campfire burst and floated willfully into night sky, marrying with the stars. Later, the long hike was rewarded as we bundled together and watched as the night sky exploded into planets and stars.”
From “Lily Pads and Sunshine”: “Soft music (was it Ella or Nina?) wafted through the air over the distance. Our kayaks cut slowly through the water as we came upon the shallow warm water of the shoreline. Suddenly, we were engulfed in a watery field of lily pads floating almost magically in the clear water, their beautiful white flowers lighting up the shadows of the cove.”
Walsh actually makes a person want to read the whole email (unlike a lot of advertising), as much to bask in her lyrical wording as to find out what the latest Peapod creation is. Thank you for that!
(Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. I love to hear from readers.)