ELKTON — Brown bags and art supplies crowd card tables set up at the Cecil County Arts Council. The walls of the Elkton gallery are covered in local artwork and artists chat quietly as they paint, design or sketch.
Each Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a handful of local artists gather for inspiration and the opportunity to work on their own projects at the Arts Council. Artists in Action is a longtime gathering free and open to artists of all mediums.
For Sherry Rader, of North East, coming to Artists in Action is a time to gain feedback from her fellow artists. Rader brings her ceramic work to Artists in Action, although she is also a photographer. She creates her own clay tiles and glazes and uses the pieces to form mosaics.
“I like the opportunity to work with other artists,” said Rader. Working alone in a home studio is “kind of like working in a vacuum, you have no one to bounce ideas off of.”
Some artists come during their lunch break, enjoying something to eat and the chance to focus on a personal project. Other artists are retired or usually work from a home studio, so the time at the Arts Council building is a welcome opportunity to trade ideas and seek out advice.
When Martie Bolinski, a painter from North East, found out about Artists in Action she said she was a little nervous to be surrounded by other artists. She said she didn’t know how they would respond to her work, which is primarily watercolor painting.
“I’ve always been more or less a closet artist,” she said. But working at home could be distracting – the phone would ring or the dog would need to go out. The Arts Council building off Main Street in Elkton is a quiet, focused space with plenty of light streaming in the gallery windows.
Bolinski has now been coming to Artists in Action for about three years. She compares her work in watercolors to her previous work as a chemist for DuPont, where she started with an idea and experimented until she found the right result.
Today, Bolinski does the same with watercolors, mixing two or three paints together and trying to bring to life the image she has in her head. As she works on a tropical scene of sand and water, she looks for advice from her fellow artists.
The best part is when it all comes together in the perfect end product, she said: “What I really like is when I do something and it comes out well.”
This story is part of a series that will run occasionally in the Accent section. Stories will take a look at programming available to local musicians, artists and writers through the Cecil County Arts Council..