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Flowers aplenty bloom at chamber

Floral exhibit of two local artists - one teacher, one student - opens in April
by: Jim Hart Anna Mae Lindsey puts the final touches on a painting of cut flowers in a vase. This image will be among other floral pieces also on display during April at the chamber. Art also from one of her students, Caren Topliff, also will hang in the chamber's visitor center.

The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is expanding its recognition of local artists, according to Ruth Tuff of the chamber staff.

The expansion involves featuring more than one artist's work each month for a month-long exhibit in the visitor center and chamber office.

An artists' reception will be scheduled, likely on the first Friday of each month, in coordination with the Sandy Main Street First Friday events held in Sandy from April to November.

The artists for April include a teacher/student pair. The floral work of teacher Anna Mae Lindsey and her student, Caren Topliff, will be on display throughout the month, with the artists' reception 5-8 p.m. Friday, April 1, at the visitor center, 38963 Pioneer Blvd.

Anna Mae Lindsey

Lindsey has been drawing and expressing herself in other artistic ways since she was 5.

She learned her craft in high school with pastels, and has been selling her art for about 35 years. Along the way she began teaching art workshops and acting as a judge at art shows and exhibits.

For the past eight years, she has been teaching art at the Sandy Community Center.

Lindsey says she likes to paint themed series of images such as wildlife, seascapes, landscapes, floral or historical buildings. In each series, she paints at least a dozen paintings.

She still does drawings. In fact, she usually does a pencil sketch of each painting before beginning to paint. Often, she is in a remote location when she gets an idea for a landscape - sometimes involving wildlife.

That's when she'll take out a pencil and a 3x5 index card and begin sketching. Later, in her double-garage-size studio, she'll put paint to canvas and create the image, adding depth and perspective to tell the story in the painting.

One aspect to Lindsey's success appears to be in her use of light. She uses it to draw the viewer's eye to key parts of the image and help tell the story she has created with the picture - which has some parts imagined and some real.

'A lot of my paintings are from memory,' she said. 'While I was out with my husband (who was hunting) I would look around and ask myself what if? - what if an elk wandered down through here? What would it look like? Then I'd start my sketch.'

Lindsey's floral pieces are detailed, colorful and filled with light. Each one will draw viewers in.

Caren Topliff

Topliff has lived in Sandy for nearly 40 years, and has been painting for the past 12 years. She has been receiving instruction from Lindsey at the Sandy Community Center.

This show will follow the theme of floral art, even though Topliff also paints animals and historical images.

Topliff and her instructor agreed to hang a floral exhibit, and it wasn't difficult for either woman to choose flowers.

'I'm sick and tired of the rain and the grayness,' Topliff said, 'and I'm just dying for flowers - and I think everybody else is, too.'

Topliff said her life is made brighter while she's painting flowers, but she also gets a good feeling when she sees the paintings hanging on a wall.

Local residents who visit the exhibit either during the artists' reception April 1 or later in the month also will be reminded of the beneficial effects of seeing images of spring and summer flowers.

Topliff's choice of images is dictated by her feelings. She says the picture she is painting must evoke an emotion in her, and she must care about what she is painting.

Those on display at the chamber's visitor center are, therefore, likely to evoke emotions in everyone who visits the art exhibit.

The chamber office and visitor center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the art exhibit, call 503-668-4006.