Capturing Waveny exhibit celebrates local beauty in New Canaan

On Oct. 7, more than 30 artists descended upon New Canaan and started painting, drawing or taking photos at places such as Waveny Park, the Nature Center, Mead Park, the Historical Society and The Glass House as part of the second annual “Capturing Waveny” event.

From Oct. 24 to Nov. 2, the work developed will be displayed at a special exhibit at the Carriage Barn Arts Center, with as much as 90 pieces displayed in the show.

“They have the week to get their pieces ready and then we will hang them in the show,” said Hilary Wittmann, executive director of the Carriage Barn Arts Center. “It’s a unique exhibit because it is celebrating and showcasing New Canaan. There are so many iconic places captured through this artwork, and for sale as well.”

New Canaan’s own Britt Bair took art classes at New Canaan High School and then majored in art in college. After college, she worked as a graphic designer but it wasn’t until about 25 years ago that she picked up a brush and started painting again.

“I took as many classes and workshops as I could to get back my skills,” she said. “Soon, I was painting quite frequently with a plein air group called the Fairfield County Plein Air Painters. Now along with my plein air work, I show and sell my abstracts in galleries around the country.”

For the Capturing Waveny exhibit, Bair chose to paint in the back field of Waveny Park.

“It’s one of my favorite places to paint. The light is amazing, casting shadows from the trees and the fields have so many colors,” she said. “I will have two paintings I did from the same spot in the exhibit. Both will have trees and fields but look completely different.”

Elizabeth Hasegawa Agresta, a Cos Cob resident who is also part of the Fairfield County Plein Air Painters, set up her easel on the great lawn below the patio.

“There is a tree with a bench that seems to attract artists, I think because it offers a nice long view to some distant hills, framed by trees at the perimeter of the park, then dramatized by layers of long grass, short grass and wildflowers,” she said. “At the exhibit, I plan to show that view of the tree, looking west.”

She may also enter another painting from within the woods.

“I used to run those trails during the Summer Cross Country Series so, for me, those trails bring back many happy memories,” she said. “Waveny Park is the gem of New Canaan. The park as subject, alone, is enough to make for a great show, but now that the Carriage Barn Arts Center is including sites outside the park, there will be something of interest for everyone.”

Greenwich photographer Lisa Keuker used her new Nikon DSLR to take photos of Mead Park that will be exhibited in the show.

“I went to Mead Park as I love to capture water and reflection elements in my photos. I was there the entire two-hour period and took over 350 shots,” she said. “I will have one of my photos blown up on canvas — it shows a reflecting tree under the maple tree along the shore of the pond by the entrance — and another photo blown up on acrylic—showing ducks reflections in the pond reflections, ripples from the backside of the pond.”

She is excited to be part of this exhibit and feels it’s great for those in New Canaan (where she works) and surrounding towns to experience some culture.

“In our busy lives, I don’t think communities even realize some of the beauty in their own town and I feel that artists help bring that focus on some of the simple beauty elements that are right in their backyard that need to be appreciated and enjoyed,” Keuker said. “I love it when I capture something and someone replies, ‘Wow, I never even knew that was there or saw that and I walk by it every day.’”

An artist talk is scheduled for Oct. 26 with several of the artists on hand to talk about their work and demo the plein air process.

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Oct. 24, from 5:30-7 p.m., and visitors will be asked to cast a vote for their favorite piece in the exhibit. Hours for the exhibit are 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit