AT HEARNE FINE ART: Marjorie Williams-Smith water colors.
Marjorie Williams-Smith’s line, the reaction between air and silver, is so fine that a newspaper reproduction could not do it justice. Silverpoint is an appropriate medium for budding twigs and dropped petals, mimicking their ephemeral beauty but letting it live on.
Williams-Smith and her husband, Aj Smith, are showing their work in “Drawing Moments,” an exhibit at Hearne Fine Art Gallery, 500 President Clinton Ave. Aj Smith has earned frequent and well-deserved accolades for his pencil drawings, portraits that are photorealistic and dimensional. His portraits are meticulously fashioned, down to the last flake of graphite. The pairing of Smith’s portraits of faces of children and adults — including gallery owner Garbo Hearne — with his wife’s botanical work silverpoint and watercolor is a quiet delight.
Smith works from life and photographs, but unlike Chuck Close, he does not project photos onto his paper. He is able to capture light and the texture of hair, skin, the glisten on plump lips. It is as sculptural as his wife’s work is linear. One of Williams-Smith’s pieces, a drawing of vertical twigs behind which is a tiny drawing of two women, is reminiscent of Carroll Cloar’s spare drawings on vellum, both in style and subtlety. It is telling that Williams-Smith, rather than ordering fancy tools from a fancy supplier, has been making her own silverpoint pens from a coil of silver she purchased years ago. She cuts and trims and files the silver herself, experiments with copper and gold, waits to see what time and air will bring to her hand.
The exhibit runs through April.
The 35th Mid-Southern Watercolorists’ Annual Exhibition at the Historic Arkansas Museum is a neat show with some very good work at very good prices. Sarah Merkle’s watercolor of children getting into a flat-bottomed boat has the air and skill of a fine book illustration; Kathy Bay controls her watercolors well to create the abstract “Merge Now.” The juried show runs through June 5.
A new monthly event, “Coffee with the Artists,” kicks off this Saturday, April 16, at Studio 5000, 5000 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in North Little Rock. Painters Bettye Ann Freeman, Bill Lively, Sue Lopez and David McGhee will be on hand from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to talk about their work. Coffee and doughnuts will be served. The gallery will repeat the event the third Saturday of every month.