OLD LYME, CONN.
Tom and Peggy have been friends and painting companions for 24 years, husband and wife for 21. Their story began in art school in Florida when they noticed a shared appreciation and understanding of nature and the desire for a life of painting and being outdoors. Through back road excursions in search of scenery and countless hours in front of models at art school, they learned how much they shared.
After marrying, they spent a few years trying to balance the painter’s life with the “grown up” occupation of editorial illustration. Eventually, Peggy and Tom decided to abandon the safe route and commit their lives fully to the uncertain future of painting. The first step was to continue their education. This led them to Old Lyme, Conn. and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.
The tradition of landscape painting in Old Lyme is proud and long. This turned out to be a perfect place for Peggy’s paintings of atmospheric fields and forest interiors. In 1989, as a young art student fresh out of the Lyme Academy, The Cooley Gallery offered Peggy her first solo exhibition and the response from the public was positive and immediate. Her keen observations and empathy were obvious in every painting.
Her canvases managed somehow to translate what was once familiar. Her landscapes communicated the endless and indescribable emotions of the natural world. She inspired gallery goers as well as fellow students and found an appreciative audience. While Peggy was gaining critical success, Tom was dedicating himself to the intense process of portrait painting, assuming the task of excavating the multi-generational layers of his subjects and showing them with all the lives they experienced. The technical ties Tim and Peggy shared were becoming more evident. The philosophical ties were inextricable. Their reputation as dedicated artists began.
After their very successful years in Connecticut and with the birth of their daughter, Gwynn, the Roots decided to return to the South, closer to family and settle in the mountain valley town of Jonesborough, Tenn.
In this exhibition, Peggy and Tom return to Old Lyme and Connecticut where the farms, fields and people played an important role in their personal and artistic development. They return with a greater understanding of their skills. Featured are large canvases of sunlit fields and emotive evenings in the woods painted in a modern impressionist style. There are portraits that show a shared experience. All of the paintings in this exhibition still communicate the artists’ convictions to the respect and humility and understanding of their subjects.
The gallery is at 25 Lyme Street. For information, 860/434-8807.