Painted Stories exhibit captures imagination at Cove Commons

Karen Watson and Eleanor Rosenberg want to help you escape.

But first, they want to do a little escaping themselves. Their exhibit, Painted Stories, which runs at The Gallery @ The Cove Commons until April 2, features subject matter that’s both fantastical and familiar but linked by a shared love of visual storytelling.

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“I’m excited that we are exhibiting in the brand new gallery space beside the library,”  says Watson, a former Bowen Islander. “I loved the library as a child and can still describe the children’s book section and some of my favorite books in detail.”

Watson beams as she recounts the adventures that illustrated books have taken her on, getting a bit lost in the details – and that’s where her focus is: the details.

“I love creating paintings with intricate details, images where you may not notice everything the first or even second time you see it ... those are the picture books I loved most as a child,” she says.

Watson will be showing original artwork from the most recent children’s book she has illustrated. The second book in the series tells the story of Piratess Tilly, a strong female character embarking on fantastical adventures on the Pacific Ocean.

Although she has also illustrated children’s books, Eleanor Rosenberg’s paintings are a departure from her work as a professional illustrator.

“For me, realism is an escape,” says Rosenberg smiling, as she acknowledges the irony. “I’ve always been encouraged to illustrate whimsical scenes and characters. But for this exhibit, I’m exploring realism and familiar settings.” Rosenberg’s exacting work is reminiscent of the paintings of Alex Colville. Proportion and composition are paired with precise angles and meticulous detailing.

Though their styles contrast each other, Watson and Rosenberg are thrilled to be showing together and have discovered many parallels in their own lives. Both have lived and travelled to many far-off places and spent extended periods living in Germany – though not at the same time.

It’s their hope that parents will take their children to see the exhibit. “Galleries can be intimidating,” notes Watson. “Anything we can do to share the love we have of stories – that’s exciting.” The opening reception is this Saturday, 6-8 p.m. at The Gallery, now open at the Cove Commons adjacent to the library. Everyone is welcome for wine and alphabet cookies.

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