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Artwork that shows patterns from nature on display in Bristol

BRISTOL — Art on Main in Bristol announces its October-November 2013 featured artist exhibit, “Natural Patterns.” On display will be naturalist fish paintings by Lincoln artist Nick Mayer and baskets by Maura Clancy of Salisbury. The community is invited to a celebratory reception on Friday, Oct. 18, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the gallery at 25 Main St.
Mayer’s beautifully detailed watercolors of fish are remarkable for their spirit as well as accuracy. Trout enthusiasts will be particularly captivated by the six representatives in this exhibit. The son of an artist and a biologist, Mayer has found a unique niche between the two disciplines. He has used his undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology from Brown University as tools to study and help in the conservation of fish — as an artist, a teacher, a research biologist and a fly fisherman.
While investigating the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on sockeye salmon, restoring spawning habitats for the last wild strain of steelhead in the Columbia River, studying the nesting habits of seas turtles in Costa Rica and fishing small streams in the Green Mountains for brook trout, Mayer has kept detailed sketchbooks to later use as references in his watercolors. His paintings are not just portraits of fish; they are windows into real experience — his experience.
What started as an expression of his passion for fishing has evolved into a career, painting watercolors almost exclusively of marine life for the past 14 years. “The act of painting fish is no longer just a tangential expression of my passion for something else,” he says. “It is a passion in and of itself.” Each painting begins with a pencil drawing at the core, layered over by watercolor washes to create a subtly detailed illustration of the fish. “Most importantly,” Mayer says, “(my paintings) reveal my profound respect for the essence of these incredible creatures.”
Mayer recently completed the illustration of his first book, “Catalina Dive Buddies,”written by renowned angling author Mike Rivkin and master aquanaut Jon Council, published in June 2013. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums on both the East and West coasts. Born in Michigan and raised in Rhode Island, Mayer now lives in Lincoln with his wife and two sons.
Maura Clancy has been weaving baskets in a wide variety of designs and in natural and naturally dyed colors for about 10 years. “I experimented with all kinds of arts and crafts,” she says. “Singer sewing classes, knitting, quilting, candle making, rug hooking. Nothing really clicked until I discovered basket weaving at a class at the Ferrisburgh Artisans’ Guild one snowy December day.” She has been passionately weaving and creating her own designs ever since. “I love the free-flowing creativity I feel when I start weaving,” she says. “Colors … shapes … tones … patterns.”
Clancy has demonstrated basket weaving at many places including Addison County Fair and Field Days, the Salisbury Community School, The Lodge at Otter Creek, Mount Abraham Union High School, Shelburne Farms and Art on Main. She has taught classes at Middlebury College, Shelburne Craft School, the Champlain Valley Union High School ACCESS program, IIsley Library, Bridport Central School and many others. She sells her baskets at the Middlebury Farmers’ Market, Art on Main in Bristol, and other locations around the state.
Clancy grew up in a large, tight-knit family in Connecticut, moved to Chicago for college in the ’70s, then to western North Carolina in the ’80s and finally to rural Vermont in 1989. She retired a few years ago after 21 years at Middlebury College and says she stays busy with her basketry, gardening and traveling.
The exhibit will be on view in the gallery through Sunday, Nov. 17. Art on Main is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
For more information, visit www.artonmain.net, find the gallery on Facebook at ArtonMainVT, or contact Carolyn Ashby, gallery manager, at (802) 453-4032 or [email protected].

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