Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Pastels draw on drama for Macungie's Jacqueline Meyerson

How many times have we, as mothers, transported our children to a specialty class and hung around to bring them back home? Perhaps we mindlessly flipped through some magazines supplied in a waiting area to pass the time. Ten years ago, Jacqueline Meyerson's life changed when she did exactly that. She picked up a pencil while sitting in the back of her daughter Laura Renee's drawing class in Monmouth County, N.J., and her "untapped talent" caught the eye of the instructor.

"It was a Norman Rockwell scene in the magazine," recalled Macungie's Meyerson, whose daughter was home on summer break from Muhlenberg College and enrolled in a local drawing class.

"The teacher encouraged me to enter a competition," Meyerson explained. "At first I worked with colored pencils, then pastels, watercolors and oils, but I went back to working with pastels. My neighbor informed me of an art competition at the State Fair in Monmouth County and surprisingly, I was awarded a Blue Ribbon for my pastel of blue poppies. That was more impetus for me to go on."

Meyerson worked as a controller for an electronic firm in New Jersey and admits she had no formal art training while growing up in Brooklyn. But that encouragement to keep on showing her work developed into what she described as "an addiction" in working with pastels. That hunger to learn more on technique led her to frequent libraries and museums. When she and husband Allan, a jazz musician (and member of the local jazz group, Fuzed) relocated to the Lehigh Valley seven years ago, she already had a good quantity of pastel paintings under her belt.

"Color, however applied, can make the viewer express emotion," she explained. "The vibrancy and boldness of pastels delivers so much. Pastels bring drama to the work, and that's something I want the viewer to get excited about."

Meyerson's fine art pastels have been capturing honors indoors and outdoors in and around the Lehigh Valley, stretching from Easton to Reading. She's currently showing her work, "Wagon Wheels," as part of the Berks Art Alliance 35th annual Open Juried Art Exhibition at GoggleWorks in Reading, through Sept. 2. She's exhibited with the Parkland Art League at the Allentown Art Museum. She'll be showing the work of her art students in an exhibit planned for October at Dick Blick at South Mall in Allentown. In June, she was part of Allentown's major outdoor art attraction, Art in the Park at West Park.

Her 16x12-inch "Flags of Our Fathers" was chosen for the April 2012 cover of "The Pastel Journal" from among thousands of entries as one of 100 best pastel works of the year in the publication's internationally acclaimed "Pastel 100" competition.

Meyerson said she was "brought to emotion" when she spied the worn and folded American flag resting on the shelf of an antique shop. She was determined to create that same emotion for the viewer by taking a series of photos to take back to her studio. "You need to have photos to capture definition in your work," she said.

In her 11x15-inch, award-winning pastel, "Beaucoup de bouchon" (Wine Corks), she was inspired to capture the velvety touch of corks kept in a box on her counter. Some corks had pinkish stains from wine, "but each had a significance to me in my wine-tasting," she described. "Each had an individual journey." The work will be included in an exhibition by the Lehigh Art Alliance in November at the Allentown Art Museum.

The Pastel Society of America chose her 8x8-inch work, "Red Box," for its 40th annual juried exhibition set to run in New York City, Sept. 4-29. She said she often looks at the real red box which sits proudly on her bookcase and which she felt deserved to be represented in a still life.

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Arts Roundup

The Gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley, Center Valley, focuses on Latin American leading artists in its current exhibit, "Altering Reality," running through Oct. 12. Seven artists are featured, including Ricardo Viera, Rigo Peralta, Carlos Solis, Dora Lopez, Juan Ramiro Torres, Pedro Fuertes and Orlando Rafael Quevedo. They represent Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Peru and Venezuela.

Rigo Peralta, resident artist at Bethlehem's Banana Factory, and Ricardo Viera, professor of art and director/curator of the Lehigh University Art Galleries, offered their curatorial talents in organizing the exhibition.

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The Hispanic Community of Artists in Reading and Berks County celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) at the GoggleWorks in Reading, with the exhibit, "Mi Vida Esta En Las Artes (My Life is Art"). The work of 15 local Hispanic artists will be featured. It is hoped that through the visual and performing arts of the Hispanic Community of Artists, the exhibit will enlighten all people and cultures to the essence of Hispanic art, history and culture. The exhibit begins Saturday and runs through the month of September.

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