Meadville Fine Arts debuts nature-themed exhibits

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 at 5:35 PM

Meadville Fine Arts hosted a reception for two local artists and their new exhibits — Tim Timon’s “Something Fishy” and Monica Schwegman’s “If Trees Could Talk” — on Sept. 7. 

Schwegman’s work will be on display through Sept. 30, while Timon’s work will run through Oct. 31. Meadville Fine Arts is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Both exhibits share the theme of nature, with Timon focusing on fish and Schwegman on trees. 

Timon spent most of his life outdoors as a landscape designer at TNT Landscaping in Waterford. “I grew up on the water, so I guess I had a love for fresh air and just being by myself. I like that a lot — being by myself. A lot of people don’t understand that, but it’s my way of relaxing.” 

Timon started painting 22 years ago when he began a venture in wood carving. “I thought I’d teach myself how to paint first, because that is a big part of it. I never got into the wood carving though.” 

When asked how Timon incorporates the way he feels in nature into his work, he explained: “I try to feel like I’m standing next to what I’m painting, whether it’s underwater or not. I just feel like I should be there, like it’s my second life.” 

“I started out with fish. People say, ‘Why fish?,’ and I tell them...look at the colors! I actually wanted to do (paint) some for kids rooms to brighten up a room.”

Timon appreciates all fish equally, and when it comes to painting fish, he just tries to look for creatures with striking colors. “I look for contrasting fish too; fish that look nice next to each other and then that’s what I make.” 

Timon primarily uses oil paints in his work. Recently he has been experimenting with “oiling out,” a technique that the old masters of painting used, such as Raphael, Jan Van Eyck and Rembrandt. “What you do basically is paint, let it dry, then oil the whole painting up again...it creates a layering effect, like you’re looking through a layer of glass,” explained Timon. 

He spends plenty of time fishing, especially at Lake Erie. The largest fish he ever caught was a 52-pound carp. He also enjoys fishing on the ocean: “because you never know what you’re gonna catch. It’s usually something pretty unique.” 

Schwegman is an artist from Waterford who found herself exploring nature more and more after purchasing 20 acres of land in 2013. Her body of work, “If Trees Could Talk,” explores the 17 purposes that trees serve in our environment. 

Schwegman began her artistic journey in high school, then heading to the University of Cincinnati for two years for fashion design. She would transfer to Kansas City Art Institute, where she majored in studio painting. Like many people who go to college, she found that her first major did not quite suit her. “That was my first choice (fashion design), before I found out I really didn’t excel at it and wasn’t crazy about it. The art part of it, such as painting and drawing is what I enjoyed, so that’s why I went to Kansas City.” 

When asked whether nature has always been an influence in her work, Schwegman replied that it wasn’t really until her and her husband bought 20 acres of land and began spending time outdoors on their property. Schwegman began to attend workshops about forestry where she learned more about the importance of trees. 

However, in her time at the Kansas City Art Institute, Schwegman described a body of work she did inspired by trees. “It was mostly drawing, not too much painting and since then, I really hadn’t done much with trees until we moved onto this property. That’s what really brought the two together this time around,” she said. 

Schwegman mostly works in mixed media, especially for this project. She uses pencils, pens, paint, photography and programs such as Adobe Photoshop in her work. On some of her pieces, such as “Purpose #13 ‘We provide wood for building,’” she broke down the process of how she incorporated the texture of leaves into the work. 

“I took photographs first, then did line drawings and scanned those into the computer and worked with them in Photoshop. I combined the two mediums — drawing and photography — and then I added some color into the design on the computer and printed them on rice paper, which is called Okawara paper,” Schwegman explained.

“After I did that, I traced the line drawings onto the board and painted some layers of color, and then I fixed the paper on the board. Once the paper is on the board, the colors show through the translucent paper, and if I don’t like the way the texture is, I will go over it with paint, colored pencils, or pen.” 

Schwegman’s current favorite tree is the state tree of Pennsylvania, the Hemlock. “Right now, it’s kind of in trouble because of disease, so it’s been a concern of ours because we have a lot of Hemlocks on our property. That’s another reason why I did this project — to raise awareness.” 

Livia Homerski can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com

Tags: art, exhibits

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