Ridgefield’s Art Walk gets ‘artists out into the community’

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

RIDGEFIELD — Cindy Wagner stood in front of the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance Saturday afternoon, working on a portrait of little girls dressed in bright yellow ballerina costumes.

“I was a dancer and my daughters danced and then my granddaughters started dancing,” said Wagner, of Weston, who named her work “Chaos in Yellow.”

Wagner was one of about 50 artists who participated in Ridgefield Guild of Artists’ ninth annual Art Walk. The event is hosted by about 35 Ridgefield merchants along Main Street and Bailey Avenue.

Guild president Mary Pat Devine said the artists are not limited to theme, and work in various mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, and prints.

“We try to complement it with colors that we know are in there,” said Devine, who stood in front of Ridgefield Town Hall. “Many of the stores we've been working with for years. We kind of know what they like.”

All artists have to be a member of the guild to participate in the event, which runs through Sept. 11. All work is for sale.

“We have an entry process where they submit some pieces that would be representative of the stuff that they want to have in the Art Walk,” Devine said. “Then, we have a jurying process. There's a committee that comes together and figures out who's going to be in it, and then matches the artists with the stores.”

She added one of the guild’s goals is to help artists exhibit artwork.

“This is one of our ways to get the artists out into the community, to see what they're doing,” she said.

On Saturday, many artists stood by their work and answered questions. Some worked on their art.

Wagner said she paints an entire series of ballerinas and ballet related paintings. She was inspired to paint “Chaos in Yellow” after taking her granddaughters to a dress rehearsal.

“All the little girls were lined up,” she said. “They were all supposed to be doing the same thing and not one of them was doing the same thing. I, of course, was taking pictures because that's what grandmas do ... And I was like, oh my god, I have to paint this.”

Kara Stern, of Lewisboro, N.Y., just started painting last January.

“I took one of those Paint and Sip classes, and it turns out that I can paint,” said Stern, who stood in front of the clothing store Whim. “I'm really enjoying the challenge associated with trying to do a portrait.”

One of her challenges, she said, is recreating emotion from the photos she and others have taken that resonate with her. “I just try to recreate that emotion that I feel when I look at that picture,” she said.

Stern paints as a hobby, she said, adding she works full time as an office administrator for the town of Lewisboro. She said she isn't sure if she would eventually like to become a full-time artist.

"I'm enjoying the ride. I'm enjoying the process," she said.

Frederick Bannerot, of Norwalk, who displayed his photographs both inside and outside Hutton's Fine Men's Wear, said he has been taking photos since he was a child.

He shoots many scenes on the water and particularly enjoys silhouettes, since he said anyone can imagine themselves in the photograph.

He encouraged others to give photography a try.

“Start with your iPhone, start with your Samsung. It's amazing how good those are. There's no cost to entry other than your cell phone. There's no rules. Shoot into the light. If it didn't work out, take two steps to the right, try it again,” Bannerot said. “Afterwards, download to a computer. Look at the big screen, you may be surprised.”

sandra.fox@hearstmediact.com 203-948-9802