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Science confirms what art has always known: of all the senses, smell has the greatest power to evoke memory. The smell of the salt marshes off the coast of Charleston, says Frances Roosevelt, brings her back to her childhood home. “The salt air gives me life,” she says. “It’s in my blood.” And the paintings in her new Union Street Gallery pulse with that life and love of the place.
When she was transitioning out of architecture and into painting fifteen years ago, Frances found freedom in broad brushstrokes on large canvases. She renders the big skies reflected in the water, and the light, color, and sunsets of these island landscapes in her expressionistic, slightly abstract style. She loves the quick-drying quality of acrylic paint and often begins with just the horizon line and color palette in mind. On those days when she feels inspired, the work seems to create itself, and that’s when the process is the most rewarding.
"On those days when she feels inspired, the work seems to create itself, and that’s when the process is the most rewarding."
Frances has lived in West Marlborough Township with her husband for thirty-five years, and their three children have returned to this area. While she values her creative solitude, she loves being part of, and giving back to, the Kennett Square community. The proceeds from some of her smaller paintings, for example, will go to Kennett Area Community Services (KACS).
She’s grateful for supportive family and friends who have encouraged her to show her work in galleries in Charleston, SC and Wilmington, DE, and annually at the “Abstractions” show at Scarlett Thicket Farm in Kennett Square. She hadn’t planned to open a gallery herself, however, until she saw the space at 108 North Union Street. “I knew right away,” she said. “It’s perfect.”
Union Street Gallery is open Thursday through Saturday from noon until four and by appointment.