Saturday, January 4, 2014

Motes notes: Exhibit adds color to bleak season

Sorry, Mr. Eliot. April may be the cruelest month, but it's got nothing on January — a bleak, unrewarding, darkly monochromatic month, physically and emotionally, the gorgeous natural landscape chilled and covered with a sea of white. But not to worry. Skip Motes has that covered. The Port artist unveils a bright new exhibit,  “New Year, New Show, New Art: Pastels by Skip Motes,” this weekend at the Firehouse Gallery.

A past president of the Newburyport Art Association and, with his wife Marge, a fixture on the local art scene, Motes' paintings capture the light and color found in the landscape, but his pictures of places and objects express something close to an abstraction of the color and line and rhythms. 

 Although he works with multiple media in his paintings, the glowing colors are achieved with pastels, and these colors will draw the viewer in to a sensory experience of sun, breeze, and the balance of objects in nature.  

He's been painting marsh and seacoast landscapes of the North Shore. He works in pastel and builds up the texture over printing ink, monoprints and dry color pigments. His work also includes black Conté crayon drawings. “I use color, texture and form to express the landscape, rather than seeking a literal interpretation,” he says. 

Many are drawn by the mood and mystery in his work.

“Motes Motifs: New Year, New Show, New Art” runs through Jan. 26 at the Firehouse Gallery, 1 Market Square. There will be a  reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5. Guitarist John Tavano will perform. The reception is free and open to the public.

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