One could not begin to ask or dream of a more glorious weekend to stage the annual Riverwalk Fine Art Fine, which is sponsored by the Naperville Art League (www.napervilleartleague.com). The reasonably crisp Autumn temperatures combined with cloudless sunny skies had us all wanting to avoid being indoors.
We’ve devoted allot of time and attention to the interior of our house this summer and among the finishing touches has been the expansion of our original art collection. As you can imagine, given my deep love and passion for the arts, this weekend arrived with great anticipation.
Aside from stopping off for a delicious lunch at Tessa’s (review to come), we ended up spending a total of four hours browsing back-and-forth along the Riverwalk and Jackson Ave narrowing our selections while navigating crowded narrow passage ways. Since my wife drove the selection of the piece we purchased earlier in the summer at the Naperville Fine Art Fair, it was my turn to take the wheel in the selection process.
As it may come as no surprise to my loyal readers, I love paintings rooted somewhere between realism and impressionism with a focus on architecture and life in small towns and big cities. My favorite artist of all time is Edward Hopper (1882-1967) who was best known for his soul-searching depictions of contemporary American life. For anyone who has visited the Chicago Art Institute, you will likely recognize perhaps his most famous piece “Nighthawks”. Thus, for me I always have my eye out for artists that venture somewhere in the general direction of Hopper.
This year, I found two artists which I admire greatly. The first was Milwaukee-based artist Shelby Keefe (www.studioshelby.com) who focuses on oil paintings and identifies herself as a contemporary impressionist. I must admit that her entire collection was love at first sight for me and I hope to eventually own a couple of her pieces, which at the present time were just a bit beyond our budget. Nonetheless, please visit Shelby Keefe’s website and please support her considerable artistic talent. Below is a good example of her work which I found on her website.
Though we came very close to making Shelby’s “Corner Store” piece our official selection, we also discovered the work of Rolling Meadows-based artist Joe Ruck who uses a brayer (roller) to create his unique style of art which consists of (and sometimes combines) paintings, sculpture and drawings. As Joe may recall, we made many trips back and forth to visit his booth as we were very drawn to an alluring piece entitled “Street Theater” (first image above) inspired by the Goodman Theatre in downtown Chicago.
The piece itself was painted diagonal on the canvas which really adds an interesting perspective to what was already an engaging painting. I’m thrilled to report that we purchased “Street Theater” and it’s vibrant amber hues are already gracing our family room wall. Even more, we are amazed by how the painting seems to almost come alive once the sun goes down.
Though the work of Shelby Keefe and Joe Ruck were my favorites, there were a multitude of extremely talented arists from all over the country displaying and selling their work. To each of them, I hope that it was a successful weekend.
In addition, perhaps saving the best for last, there was a strong showing of local Naperville artists in the Naperville Art League’s booth and at some point I look forward to getting over to the Art League’s local gallery at 508 N. Center Street for a future selection (www.napervilleartleague.com).
To the leaders and artists of the Naperville Art League, my deepest appreciation for your vision, passion and support for advancing the beauty of art in Naperville. Be inspired by the work you have shared with us, keep focusing on your artistic passion and know that each of you bring immense beauty to our world. SM