Artist explores strength, fragility

  • <br>Enterprise staff
  • Friday, February 29, 2008 11:37am

Enterprise staff

The Edmonds Arts Festival Museum Gallery and the City of Edmonds Arts Commission display case are currently highlighting the work of Nancy Rothwell in a show titled “Elders and Kittens,” now through April 2.

Having spent years as a physical therapist specializing in geriatrics, Rothwell’s paintings show not only the strength of the elderly, but also a few of the challenges they and their families are facing. Rothwell has also received wide recognition for her paintings of kittens — this exhibit features both of these painting themes.

Rothwell’s paintings celebrate the power and beauty of the elderly. A strong sense of history, longevity and resiliency is her primary focus. The juxtaposition of opposites is particularly intriguing to her, such as old age/youth, health/infirmity, past/present, independence/dependence. So while this work emphasizes the strength of the elderly and their caregivers, it would not be complete without portraying some of their challenges.

A fragile kitten in the gentle hands of an elderly person can evoke powerful, calming and healing effects on both of them. Because she has had a strong desire to paint both kittens and the elderly, it is appropriate that this exhibit combine both themes. For many years Rothwell has rescued cats and kittens, observing the unconditional love they evoke particularly with the elderly.

Among the paintings on display is “Eldercare?” which received an award at the “Watercolor West 2001” national art competition. “Pink Slipper Blues,” also on exhibit, recently won the award for “Best Political Statement” at the North Seattle Community College.

“I want the viewers of my paintings to think about aging — particularly the beauty and strength of the elderly and the challenges they and their caregivers face,” Rothwell said. “The elderly are an important part of our society — they represent our grandparents, parents, and even us someday. If we are lucky, we will grow old someday; we need to think about how we are going to approach our own aging. I hope my work helps enlighten and bring a positive focus to issues of aging.”

Rothwell has lived in the Seattle area for over 30 years. She enjoys a home and studio in Fremont on the ship canal, painting on location amidst tugboats and crabpots.

Painting primarily in watercolor and oil, Rothwell is a member of the Northwest Watercolor Society, Eastside Fine Arts Association, Pacific Northwest Arts Council, California Watercolor Society, and the Georgia Watercolor Society. She has exhibited for the Edmonds Arts Commission, Ocean Shores Arts Commission, Wyoming and Georgia Watercolor Societies, and regularly displays her work at the Pike Place Market Art Stall Gallery.

The exhibit is now on display at the Frances Anderson Center, 700 Main St. in Edmonds. The EAFM Gallery and the City of Edmonds Arts Commission display case are located at the main entrance. The gallery is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays. For information about the gallery call 425-771-1984.

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