WESTERLY — Many people know Jane Perkins for her 20-year career as a volunteer firefighter. Others will recognize her name from her monthly column in the Sun where she shares fire safety tips in her “Ask A Firefighter” column.
This month, they can get to see the creative side of Perkins at the January exhibit opening Friday at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly.
The exhibit, “Between Dark and Daylight, Shadow & Light,” which opens Friday with a special reception from 5 to 8 p.m., highlights the watercolors of Perkins and the oil paintings of Rick Petrocelli, January’s featured artists.
Perkins is a self-taught artist who lives with her family in Westerly, according to artist Madeline Beaudry, a cooperative member who writes about the exhibits and artists. She uses many different media when crafting her art, Beaudry added, “In addition to traditional canvas and paper, she enjoys experimentation with watercolor, acrylic, pastels, charcoal and pen and ink.”
“Her watercolors often take the form of silhouette as in ‘Watch Hill Gazebo’ and ‘Sunset at the Lighthouse,’” Beaudry said.
“I enjoy creating the contrast of a person, an object, or a scene in silhouette because it appears so dark against a lighter or even colorful background,” Perkins told Beaudry. “I also like adding a dramatic pop of color in black and white paintings.”
Perkins, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Johnson & Wales University, has recently written a children’s book on school safety called, “Read. Write. Evacuate.,” which is available on Amazon.com.
“Jane enjoys giving back to her community and contributes hundreds of hours each year to various town-wide events,” said Beaudry in a statement. “Her passion for public safety and educating the community is further fueled by her 20-year career as a volunteer firefighter, where she finds daily inspiration for creativity.”
Petrocelli, an oil painter, lives and works in Warren, said Beaudry, explaining that the artist uses “soft tones and muted hues to convey a sense of intimacy and warmth” in his work.
“I endeavor to juxtapose tone, color and figure to present expressions of mood and emotion at twilight and early evening,” Petrocelli told Beaudry.
“In his painting ‘Twilight Talk,’ she said, “the velvety hues of color reflect the serene closeness between two women.
Similarly, she continued, “the soft glow of ‘Rose Café’ reveals the interplay of light and shadow that fills most of the days and nights of January.”
Petrocelli, a member of the Lyme Art Association and the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, works on canvas and wood panels.
“It is January,” said Beaudry. “The holiday lights and merriment have faded into the still-short days, long nights and the sound of footsteps crunching in the sand-like snow. Spring is a far off dream, hardly imaginable in the frosted landscape. Indeed, the earth pauses in an in-between time.”
The January show at the gallery celebrates this syncopation, she said, with the art work of Perkins and Petrocelli, she said.
This month, she added, the gallery’s window will be filled with the work of the organization’s 3D artists. Ceramics, wood, jewelry, metal and fiber arts will be on display, Beaudry said.
The show runs through Jan 28.