Rita Spalding: Valentine's Day Art Show 

Stutz-based Rita Spalding is an accomplished painter who breathes new life into the still life genre by creating large-scale paintings - larger than most flat TV screens - and softening the focus. In the oil on linen "Pears," the brightest areas, highlighting reflective fruit surfaces, are the center of focus. Moving away from the center, towards the shadowy colors, the edges of the fruits are softened and you are invited into the realm of impressionism - unlike in traditional still life. By layering glaze on the edges of the fruit, Spalding is able to achieve that softened, or blurred, effect. Another large-scale painting, "Cherries," employs a mirror as a prop for said fruit, so you see reflections rather than shadows. Spalding was on hand during the Carmel Gallery Walk painting a more traditional - and smaller scale - still life. This particular painting was coming quite easily and quickly to her, as if it was already done in her head. Through March 31; 317-844-0005, www.magdalenagallery.com.

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