by Martha Robinson
Congratulations Karen Benedetti and Sylvia Valentino! The work of these resident artists was presented at last month’s 48th prestigious annual juried exhibition sponsored by the Laurel Art Guild. They competed for that honor among many artists from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia.
One of Karen’s “layered acrylic” paintings greets visitors above the shelf by the door to her Charles Terrace home. Inside, paintings are propped and hanging. She paints with watercolor and mixed media, primarily fluid acrylic, using handmade papers, imported and those she makes or embellishes. The paint is applied in layers and built upon the surface of the paper. Several are currently hanging in the Riderwood Arts Council exhibit at Lakeside Commons through June.
Her most consistent theme encompasses nature and the natural landscape using complimentary colors (with accents), with layers and layers of paint creating shapes to suggest images such as trees and mountains. Karen and her husband came to Riderwood last September from Ohio near Dayton. She was an elementary art teacher. Her life as a full-time artist took off as their children grew older and she started showing her work at outdoor festivals and other venues. She has taught workshops and exhibited nationally.
As a child, Sylvia spent hours writing stories and drawing pictures in her attic hideaway. She’s been painting and learning ever since. Over time, after moving to Riderwood 14 years ago, Sylvia’s work has been exhibited here many times and in area shows. Her mixed media work “Walk at the Pond” won first place in the 41st Laurel Art Guild exhibition—her first juried show. Inspired by Riderwood’s Swan Lake, it was created with watercolor, gesso, magazines, white pastel, pencil, ballpoint pen, and India ink. Sylvia leads “Adventures in Art,” a small group of enthusiastic Riderwood artists who meet Friday afternoons to explore watercolors, pastels, color pencils, charcoal, acrylics, and other media. They sometimes visit local galleries and attend workshops. Exciting and colorful, mostly abstract works not yet claimed by her children and grandchildren, fill the walls of the Berkshire Gardens home Sylvia shares with Al.