Local landscapes on display at Dartmouth Cultural Center

May 28, 2021

Westport resident Karen Melanson has always had a love for art. She noted one of her dreams when she was young was to go to art school and some day see her work on local scenery hung in galleries.

“I actually wanted to go to art school, but was told ‘you need to go to college for something else,” she said. “That’s why when I finished school, I wanted to get involved in art classes.”

Now, dozens of her pastel and watercolor landscapes are the very focus of the Dartmouth Cultural Center’s latest exhibition.

“People like Karen are wonderful — all of this is local,” Cultural Center co-Treasurer Kathy Del Sordo said.

Melanson said what appeals to her about watercolor painting is “just how fluid it all is.”

“You have all these happy accidents like bubbles and bursts,” she added. “You have to be able to just play — when you start trying to get something to happen, it won’t happen. You need to loosen up.”

Many of Melanson’s displayed paintings focus on her favorite outdoor subject: waves. The Westport artist said she especially enjoys how varied the textures and colors can be.

“Some can have a little bit of yellow, some purple, and pink,” she said. “And those with an underpainting of acrylics have little bits of sparkling in it.”

Dartmouth resident Lisa Parent was also a fan of the seascapes. 

“She’s got ones that just remind me of a Carribean vacation,” she said. “You just want to dive in that way.”

The exhibition will run through July 4. Hours are 11 a.m. through 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.