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Posted: 07/09/14

MIXED MEDIA. Above, Christine Haylett will have her artwork featured at the Starkweather Arts Center from now until July 25. The art group she belongs to, the Thursday Brushes, will also have their work on display during the show.

(Photo courtesy of Grace Venet)

Haylett and Thursday Brushes at SAC in July

Observer Special Writer

      Experience the energy and passion of mixed media artist Christine Haylett and the painters of The Thursday Brushes art group at Starkweather Arts Center now through July 25.
       An opening reception will be held 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday, July 11.
       Haylett's solo exhibit is hung in the main gallery and The Thursday Brushes' artwork is displayed upstairs.
       Haylett received her bachelor of fine arts degree from the Center for Creative Studies. Although she worked for 23 years at Chrysler as a process engineer, she always stayed involved with art. Her goal had always been to be an artist.
       When approached by a member of The Thursday Brushes and asked to join, she knew it was her chance to find out if she really wanted to be an artist or if it was a pipe dream.
       After joining, Haylett was free to follow her dream.
       Everything fell into place and Haylett has been a member of the Thursday Brushes for seven years. The Thursday Brushes is a group of seven painters working in various paint media: Oil, pastel, watercolor, acrylics and mixed media.
       For the past year and a half, Haylett has been drawn to work abstractly. It was a challenge to change from representational work. Now Haylett composes her canvas with shapes, color and line.
       She continues to push herself by including textures, using stencils and collage to create her paintings. She uses a journal to collect thoughts and drawings.
       "I sit in my car, walk the Polly Ann Trail or I watch TV and will sketch while watching Duck Dynasty or Swamp People," Haylett said.
       A lot of work gets done in the winter.
       "It's too cold for me to work outside, but sitting in the car doing vignettes means you can work all winter," Haylett said.
       This exhibit shows how Haylett pushed to work more intuitively, on a larger scale and bring expression to her canvases. She wants to show how she feels as she is painting, the energy, vibrant colors and shapes that take on movement.
       "I love to paint. It gives me a sense of joy I cannot duplicate anywhere else," Haylett said.
       The six other members of Thursday Brushes are Janet Almstadt-Davison, Mary Marple, Bobbie Tarbunas, Denise Dunn, Barbara Clay and Tina Hoenes. The group meets weekly to paint together, critique art, and attend art shows or workshops.
       "It's a wonderful support group," Haylett said.
       In winter the group goes to different greenhouses or members' homes. In the summer they paint outdoors during area garden walks or various local parks such as Wolcott Mill.
       Once a year for one week, Thursday Brushes rent a house as a group and paint all day
       "We live, breathe and create art," she said. "Even the food is artfully created."
       Thursday Brushes enter juried art shows and exhibit their work as a group. Marple and Haylett will participate in the Romeo Garden Walk as plein air painters July 12. Haylett has also been in numerous juried shows. Her work is in many private collections, is on display in Chrysler offices and she participated in 2013 ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.
       Starkweather Arts Center is located at 219 N. Main Street. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

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