Mayslake artists feel right at home
Kate Reynolds paints at the Mayslake Peobody Estate.
Updated: July 9, 2012 1:44AM
The scenic and iconic Peabody Estate at Mayslake provided the perfect backdrop for watercolor artists at Tuesday morning art classes.
Exploring Watercolor instructor Ann Grill has known some of her students for years, and provides a perfect setting for the artists who settle into the near century-old mansion.
“What Ann does is she looks at what your strengths are and directs you from there,” said Maureen Stiebris of Downers Grove. “Water colors are very unique in that they move on their own.
“The colors mingle and create their own new colors. It’s pretty cool.”
Sitting in a large sun room on a recent Tuesday were Kate Reynolds of Downers Grove and Debbie Correnti of Western Springs. Reynolds was working on her Edgar Allan Poe and waterfall paintings, while Correnti was touching up her work of bison running through trees.
“I was an art major in college and I’ve been into it all these years,” Reynolds said. “(Grill) and I were in the same class years ago and now she’s my teacher.”
One assignment Grill has every student work on is painting a scene at the Mayslake Peabody Mansion from 1919-22, the time the Peabody family built the home.
Correnti’s piece was of the very sun room she was working in, but included women at a table played bridge. She went to great lengths to research every detail of the time period.
“My relative, Lajaren Hiller, was a photo illustrator,” Correnti said, using one of Hiller’s old photos to study the dress styles of the 1920s. “I’ve been in art classes that make everyone paint the same thing.
“I love this class. We’re free to paint anywhere on the property.”
Thirty-year veteran painter Robert Barnes of Burr Ridge just finished a three-picture series of ducks after being inspired by a postage stamp found in a coffee table book. His works were paintings of a wood duck, green-winged teal ducks and mallards, but now he was beginning his next project.
“It’s always a challenge in trying to capture the likeness of the reference you’re using,” Barnes said, working on a vignette of flowers. “This is something different that I haven’t tried before.”
The class provides a great deal of freedom to the artists while Grill checks in with them periodically and offers opinions, tips and good-natured ribbing.
“They are all very talented,” Grill said. “Some have painted for 30 or 40 years and some are brand new to this.
“We usually have one group assignment, but a bulk of the sessions they paint something that interests them.”
The art of individuals in the “Explore Watercolor” program will be on display inside Mayslake Hall from Sept. 13-Nov. 13 and will coincide with the First Folio Theater’s Edgar Allan Poe production running this fall.