Beth Aitken and Graham Shea, Guest Artist Lou Boschee

Posted on November 9th, 2015

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‚ÄčNovember ushers in not only a vibrant change of season but also a fascinating show at
Main Street Artists Gallery featuring Beth Aitken and Graham Shea and their unique talents in
two very different mediums.
 
Beth Aitken has been a long time resident of Plumas County and an established artist in the
unique medium of encaustic painting,   This ancient Greek art form involves painting with a 
mixture of beeswax and tree resin which, when heated, adheres to a surface and can be
manipulated, scraped and gouged with tools to achieve all manner of interesting results. When
hardened, it will last 2000 years if not subjected to extreme temperatures either hot or cold. 
There is a theory that ancient Greek statues were all covered in colored wax to give them
a lifelike appearance but the wax was stripped away over time.  However, some death masks
that survived show traces of both color and wax.
 
The encaustic process can be applied to a collage and can contain embedded objects for a 
3-dimensional effect.  It can also be mixed with paint and built up to many layers both opaque 
and transparent.  For Beth, this medium brings out her playful side and she always encourages her students to simply have fun with it and let their imagination soar.  She herself was drawn to this medium 8 years ago  and was immediately fascinated with the transparency of wax and its mysterious effects.  Having done drawings for 20 years, Beth worked with the late great Bill  Peters (art instructor at Feather River College and mentor to many of the current members of Main Street Artists Gallery) who encouraged her to explore this art form and introduce it at MSAG.  There she developed a following and today gives seminars in this technique.  
 
In the current show, Beth steps out of her comfort zone and displays some new pieces that have no specific subject or embedded objects but are pure abstract forms open to individual interpretation.  In these, encaustic art is not a vehicle for ideas or messages but simply a way for Beth to allow herself the freedom to enjoy the process, letting the viewer decide what it all means.
 
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Graham Shea, a gifted photographer and our newest member comes to Main Street Artists Gallery with an impressive background as well as a wide range of  experiences which inform his art. A native of Quincy, he attended Plumas Christian School then went on to study journalism and  economics at  Pepperdine University, finishing with a masters degree in theology from Cambridge University, UK.  After college, he traveled extensively throughout Europe, South America, New Zealand, Iceland, Virgin Islands, Fiji and Africa, collecting experiences (such as camping on the top of  Mt. Kilimanjaro)  and photographing the amazing sights and people he encountered.   
 
After receiving a digital Canon camera from his family, Graham picked up photography skills on his own through trial and error, perfecting his craft by photographing flowers. In college, he received a scholarship to work on the student yearbook and newspaper and soon became the photo editor for student events.  Later, photography became the focal point of his travels and the vehicle for his creativity.  His goal was to achieve satisfaction by creating art that people would enjoy but also to pursue an activity that provided both variety and spiritual fulfillment.  While traveling in Argentina, Graham visited Adulam, a Christian community outside Buenos Aires for homeless adults and children and stayed to help them by translating their website into English.  The purity of purpose at this community so impressed him that he now contributes all proceeds from the sale of his photography to this mission.
 
Grahams's photos in this show span many countries and  cultures - from African Massai tribesmen tending their cattle to Tanzania flamingo's flying in colorful formation to Iceland's dramatic glaciers.  It is the type of photography that mesmerizes and is sure to fill the viewer with wonder and awe.
 
 Also featured in the November show will be the brilliantly thought-provoking constructions of
Lou Boschee which are sure to inspire conversation.
 
The opening will take place Friday, November 6 from 5-7PM.  Complimentary wine and appetizers will be served.


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