February 2, 2013

Manchester greenhouses provide artists, admirers break from cabin fever

By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

MANCHESTER -- Malvina Deveau-Randall said she felt inspired Saturday by the talented artists and artisans who gathered at Longfellow's Greenhouses for the annual Cabin Fever show.

click image to enlarge

Sherry Levesque, left, and Dale Haywood, both of Winthrop, look at panoramic photos by Farmington artist Scott Perry during the Cabin Fever art show at Longfellow's Greenhouses on Saturday, in Manchester.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Artist Laurie Proctor-Lefebvre works in her booth while waiting for customers during the Cabin Fever art show at Longfellow's Greenhouses on Saturday, in Manchester.

"I think it's wonderful," she said as she showed off a fabric sculpture of a lobster that she had just bought. "Look at the variations in her work. It's inspirational."

Deveau-Randall had just visited a booth featuring the work of Robin Lown Gardella, of Augusta, who offered paintings, sculptures, cards and other items for sale. Gardella has been coming to the Longfellow's show since it started 15-plus years ago.

"This is my favorite," she said. "I love it. The atmosphere, the plants, that tropical feel. It's the perfect time of year because people want an excuse to get out in February."

Owner Scott Longfellow said the back greenhouse is empty this time of year anyway, and it offers a warm space for the artists to show off their work. This year, there are 27 displays, including oils, watercolors, photographs, jewelry, ornaments, hats, sweaters and scarves.

"It just was something to fill in a really slow time of year," Longfellow said. "The artists love it because there's no real shows going on. We like it because it brings in traffic and gives back something to the community."

While Gardella has been to every show, it was the first time Aaron McClure, of Readfield, brought his charcoal drawings to a public event. The banker-turned-teacher uses white charcoal on black paper, which makes his work look like a black-and-white photograph. He works mostly on commission, specializing in portraits.

"I do a lot of portraits of grandkids," he said. "It's neat to deliver the piece to the grandparents."

In the next booth over, Dawna Gardner -- who calls herself The Blue Collar Painter -- stood with a brush and an easel as she painted a portrait of a man. Around her, she showed off paintings of dogs, horses, and people, and even a painting of a raccoon.

"I like the show," she said. "It draws a crowd."

The show continues from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the greenhouse, which is at 81 Puddledock Road in Manchester.

Susan Cover -- 621-5643

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