LEWISBURG — Lewisburg residents and artists Jane Albin and Marjorie Priceman are currently showing their work in the Packwood House Museum’s Kelly Gallery, 15 N. Water St., Lewisburg.
Priceman has worked as a successful illustrator and author of children’s books for more than 20 years. Recently she illustrated Julie Andrews “A Seasonal Treasury of Poems” and won the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award in 1999, for “Emeline at the Circus,” which she also wrote.
Albin’s art carries a Lewisburg theme. She’s created more than 30 impressionistic paintings of familiar streets, landmarks and the surrounding countryside. There’s realism in her art that is striking. Influenced by artists like Manet and Hopper, Albin prefers plein air painting and was recently accepted into the artist colony for the Gettysburg Arts Festival.
A traditionalist who ‘doesn’t do details’
For her mediums, Albin, 57, prefers traditional watercolors and oil painting. “I’m always trying to see things from some odd angle where I’m looking up or looking down. I’m looking for interesting effects where the angles catch the light. I like capturing the weather,” she said. “My art is sort of impressionistic. I don’t do details.”
Albin graduated in 1982 from Parsons School of Design and has been an artist as long as she can remember. “My mother was the art teacher and an artist. There was a lot of creativity at home, and no shortage of supplies for me from a very young age,” she said.
Painting the Campus Theater was a catalyst for her series. “It got me thinking, about painting Lewisburg. The fact that a lot of things are changing downtown makes me want to paint more of it before it changes completely,” she said.
Albin, owner of the Tawsty Flower Bed and Breakfast in Lewisburg, is also an art teacher at the Packwood House Museum. “It’s a wonderful space to teach in, and there’s a wonderful gallery there,” she said. “They’re looking to show more art and be a center for art in the town.”
Stepping ‘out of the box’
Priceman’s art is a stylized, playful vision of nature. Working with linoleum block printing and watercolors, she’s created imaginative, colorful, layered works depicting flowers, figures, birds, bugs and trees. Her art has been described as being akin to that of Matisse or Chagall. It’s been called stylized, unrealistic, free, colorful, expressive, and even whimsical.
Speaking of her display, Priceman said, ”I’m experimenting. I wanted to do something completely different, I had some time between books and decided to explore print making and then I decided to add in some paint. It’s nice to step out of my usual box. It’s nice to do something that’s deeper, more adult and complex. I’m using a lot of figures from nature. I set out to create something visually sharp (shapes, colors, etc…) I do it for the creative process itself. I enjoy the feeling I get when a picture is finished,” she said.
Priceman, 54, studied illustration and graduated from the Rhode Island school of design in 1981. When she’s not illustrating children’s books, she likes to experiment with different approaches to art, such as what is currently on displayed at the exhibit.
Even as both artists’ works differ in style and design, they share a number of similarities. They are neighbors who enjoy gardening and each other’s company. Both were inspired by mothers who were artists. They’ve both spent time working in the clothing and design industry. Both married musicians — Priceman’s husband is district judge Leo Armbruster who performs with the band Folk Justice — and they both listed each other as inspirations in putting the exhibit together.