BRATTLEBORO >> An exhibit of farm-related art at the Gallery at the Garden has become a tradition during Strolling of the Heifers Weekend in Brattleboro. This year's farm art show at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden "The New England Collection," featuring works by Maureen Mansfield of Brattleboro.
The Gallery at the Garden is open during the Friday Night Street Festival (coinciding with Gallery Walk) on Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Normal hours are Monday through
Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except during special events).
The New England Collection consists of 30 pieces of artwork with her focus on environment, peacefulness and sustainability in New England. It is a collection of many different aspects of life – simple to complex but above all depicting peace and freedom.
Mansfield uses a variety of views and creates a theme that combines her vision and passion with the internal message for each piece of art, either in watercolor or acrylic. Influenced by what she sees, how she feels and what her mood is at the time of capturing a moment, she sketches, paints at the location or photographs for later use.
Mansfield said, "My artwork is how I escape from the pressures of life, the stress that each change brings and the sorrow that shadows our days and nights. When I paint, I dive into what I am creating and my problems seem to melt away – nothing matters except what I am working on. It is the best way for me to keep stress at bay.
I would be lost if I did not have art in my soul."
New England has been Mansfield's home since childhood. She has travelled around the United States painting for private collections; however, New England is where her heart is. She said that "to capture the beauty of my roots and share my visions with many is truly a dream come true."
The youngest of five children, Mansfield began her journey in art as a teenager in the rural setting of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., creating charcoal sketches of the beauty in the Hudson Valley. Inspired and encouraged by her mother, Mansfield's love for art grew as she continued to develop her skills using oil and acrylic paints.
She continued to develop and broadened her artistic skill by paying homage to landscapes of the Adirondack Mountains, the northwest coast and southwestern part of our country.
She did not attend an art school, nor did she take classes in her earlier years — Mansfield's skills were self-taught. Her father was an engineer/inventor for IBM and her mother was a stay-at-home mom. Her siblings are retired military, deputy sheriffs or self-employed. Other family members were farmers, glass blowers, blacksmiths or military.
Not having any artists in her family, she did not have much family inspiration – her own love of art and encouragement from her mother kept her passion for sketching and painting alive.
Mansfield's art work is primarily in private collections throughout the United States.
She gathers her inspiration through the uniqueness of our countryside. This encourages Maureen to delve into the beauty of Mother Nature by capturing her moments of splendor.
Mansfield has lived in the Brattleboro area for over 30 years, raising five children, and enjoying her seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and it was here that her interest in water color came to being. She signed up for her first formal class in art in 2006 with local artist Karen Becker and began a new journey in watercolor creations.
Mansfield's love of art will continue in sketching, acrylic and watercolor. Her plans also include mastering the skill of etching on slate, something she has always wanted to do.
Brattleboro has been a tremendous inspiration for her to continue her life's journey in art. Her previous exhibit at the Gallery at the Garden, in November 2015, was entitled "The Beauty of Relaxation" and many of the exhibit pieces are currently displayed in the Oncology Department at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital where she has been employed for 14 years.
Mansfield has a degree in business and computer science. Her artwork is her "therapy to reduce the stress of everyday life and encourages moments to relax and enjoy life's pleasures."
For information on all Stroll Weekend events visit StrollingoftheHeifers.com