Winter may finally be here but fortunately the art exhibition, “February Awakenings – Five Artists,” that opens Wilton Library on Friday, Feb. 5, from 6-7:30 p.m., will warm any chill that is in the air. Artists Shannon Cruickshank, Elizabeth Emerson, Trish Nelson, Karen Siegel and Margaret Vickers provide a cornucopia of color that awakens the senses during the cold winter month. The featured artists are local to Wilton and Westport:

  • Shannon Cruickshank, a Wilton resident, knew from an early age and a remarkable exposure to Picasso’s work that art would always be a part of her life. While at Roanoke College, she majored in fine art, and later went to the University of Tennessee where she studied art education. In 2000, she moved to Connecticut, where she worked at The Greenwich Gallery and later at Abby M. Taylor Fine Art as the gallery director. Both galleries dealt in 19th and 20th century American and European paintings and sculpture. By 2007, she had two children and has spent the last few years reveling in motherhood. Now that they are both in school full time, Ms. Cruickshank has had the pleasure of working on commissions of childhood homes, and portraits of pets and people’s family members. She remarked about her work, “Capturing their memories and loved ones in an artful way and as an heirloom that can be passed on fills my heart with insurmountable joy.”
  • Elizabeth Emerson is a painter who lives in Wilton. Originally from Indianapolis, she earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts as a Painting major at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991. After taking a brief hiatus to tour Europe’s art destinations by rail, backpack, and hostel, Elizabeth enrolled at the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts at Indiana University, earning a Masters of Fine Arts for Painting in 1994. She has lived in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Seattle, and Basalt, Colorado. Across this itinerant journey and throughout her life, the human form has always been her choice for the subject matter in her paintings.
  • At the early age of 5, Trish Nelson acquired a collection of crayons and coloring books. Encouraged by both her grandmothers to draw and paint she developed her skill in realistically portraying her subjects, especially the details.  Focusing her studies in illustration, graphic design and photography at Skidmore College, Silvermine Arts Guild and University of Arizona, she has honed her ability to see the subtle nuances of a facial expression or the fleeting moment of color and light transferring them to paper or canvas. After having raised two children in Wilton, owning a restaurant in Norwalk along with various other business pursuits she is now fully engaged in creating art and sharing with the world.
  • Karen Siegel is a painter and multi-media artist living in Westport. She has worked as a graphic designer in New York City and Connecticut. Karen’s clients include Save the Children, Children’s Television Workshop (Sesame Street), Oxford University Press and The New York Times. She is on the faculty of The Silvermine School of Art, New Canaan, CT. Karen has exhibited her work at Silvermine Arts Center, Lockwood-Mathews Museum, Norwalk, CT and the Rowayton Arts Center, Rowayton, CT.  Her educational experience includes studies at the Ecole de Beaux Arts at the Louvre, The Woodstock School of Art, School of Visual Arts and The New School.
  • Margaret Vickers embraced art at an early age and in high school was active in all sorts of art projects, from scenery to posters.  As a senior, she was voted “Most Artistic.” She attended Barnard College where she majored in Art History. One of her goals was to reach some understanding as to what is the meaning and purpose of Art. At that time the main thrust of Art History was European:  Greek Art to “Modern Art.” Her eyes were opened at Barnard when she enrolled in a Chinese Art course. According to Ms. Vickers, “The Chinese had different artistic values. Ceramics were not considered “crafts” as they are in the West, but high art; paintings were done in ink on silk not oil on canvas.” In Art School, she was taught about the Bauhaus and Abstract Expressionism, providing a wide range of possibilities of what constitutes art.  Ms. Vickers lives in Wilton.

The reception is open to the public and the exhibition runs through Saturday, Feb. 27.  A majority of the close to 60 works will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library. Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd..