Monday, November 22, 2010

REVIEW: Peggy Watson at Rhapsody Natural Foods in Montpelier

by Theodore Hoppe

Rhapsody Natural Foods Cafe on Main Street in Montpelier is one of the many businesses in the area that supports local art by providing wall space for artists to exhibit their work. Without this arrangement many local artists would not have a way to display their work. North on County Road is the title of their current exhibit. The paintings are by Peggy Watson, and her work is worth seeking out.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Peggy Watson settled in Calais, Vermont about 10 years ago after spending some time traveling and living overseas. "I've been to many beautiful places, but couldn't wait to get to Vermont. I've painted all my life, but it's only in the past two years I've begun to paint more seriously. Prior to that my kids were little, and before that I was a teacher, and I just dabbled here and there. In recent years I've completed some large murals locally -- one at the Blake Memorial Library in East Corinth, one at L.A.C.E. in Barre, and one on the side of a barn on Stewart Road in Berlin." explained Watson when invited to talk about her work.

This collection of paintings seems to tell a story, one familiar to so many of us who travel the back roads of Vermont. We all see a view of the landscape that we wish we had time to stop and take a picture of, everyday scenes like the Morse Farm, or Curtis Pond. Watson actually captures these images in a more permanent way, in small well executed paintings. Echoing what many of us feel, Watson said, "There's something about the landscape and life here inspires me."

" I love to paint." Watson declared, and it shows. "I paint places that are special to me. I'm attracted to old barns and homes and the history they represent. I often depict "the crooked barn" on County Rd. When I look at it I can imagine my older neighbors walking by it on their way to the schoolhouse 50 or 60 years ago. That barn can tell a lot of stories and again, painting it lets me be part of it.

Many of the paintings are small in size, almost personal. They are quiet, pleasing, thoughtful, unassuming, even humble, as in the painting of a jar of pickled beets, or one of potatoes. Watson: "Right now I paint my daily life happenings: on our little farm, the pond we swim in, the scenery I pass as I take my kids to school. I am distracted and mesmerized by the play of light at different times of the day. It pleases me to no end to capture it, and even if I don't, well, the process lets me be part of it."

"Anyway, that's my story," said Watson. It's a wonderful story, one that we share and understand. It reminds us that we all have a lot to be thankful for.

Peggy Watson's paintings will be on display at Rhapsody Natural Food Cafe until the end of November. You can contact her at:

Images: Sugaring at Maple Corner, Robinson's Sawmill, Crooked Barn 2