Painting is a hobby with community impact for Bolton artist Hershberger
BOLTON – Ann Hershberger has painted professionally and personally over the years, “but usually given away a lot”.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, “I decided to finally spend my time and effort on being a full-time artist and eventually return to art education when we can safely assemble for class,” Hershberger said.
Part of this painting became a fundraiser for the Bolton Community Fund.
“To be honest, I wanted to paint for a good cause during this stressful time for a fundraiser,” she said, and turned to Doctors Without Borders first. “But after reading several posts and stories about the needs of our immediate community and the great work the Bolton Community Fund is doing to reduce food insecurity, support neighbors in need, and help the elderly, I decided to focus my efforts here. “
Hershberger then started her project “Painting one day”.
“Painting a day started on December 1st and was a daily challenge for me while painting. I took pictures almost every day and then the first thing in the morning I would post them on my website and Facebook for people to buy.
“In the last week before Christmas, I invited ex-art students to take part too, to involve the children and give them the opportunity to show their art,” she said.
“It was a lot of fun and I would definitely like to do it again and invite other artists, both adults and students, to come and see me next year. We had a great show and all the pictures were sold the day they were released. So there was great – and much appreciated – support from the community.
“The topic was largely drawn from all of the outdoor studies that were done with the outdoor group during the summer and fall, so the topic was relevant to our community,” she added.
Hershberger has lived in Bolton for 16 years and moves to town with her husband Kevin and three sons Joe, Michael and Matthew. She taught until her son was born, but then volunteered at schools.
“I consider myself very fortunate and particularly enjoyed my time with students and staff at Florence Sawyer Elementary School,” said Hershberger.
She had returned for another Masters in Counseling specializing in Art Therapy and was working at VA Hospital in Bedford.
“My husband and I both served in the Army Reserve, so it was a very special place to work and I loved working with veterans,” she said.
She has also worked as an adolescent therapist at the RFK Children’s Action Corps, an adult expression therapist at the Westford Inpatient Psychiatric Clinic, and most recently at FLACC, a collaborative elementary school that cares for the needs of students with social and emotional needs.
“At the same time, I started a home studio where students in grades 3 through 8 taught art and taught several classes a week until last year,” she said.
She has “painted in pretty much one capacity or another for as long as I can remember and in many forms – murals, acrylic, oil, mosaic, clay, collage, fiber art, and most recently some printmaking,” she said with a couple of years ago free when the boys were young.
“In the beginning, as a child, I had private lessons and lessons in very traditional methods of fine arts and painting,” said Hershberger about her training. “It has helped me take as many classes as possible in school and college for electives to meet the need for art for me. “
She has also studied and attended various courses at Mass Art, RISD and Worcester Art Museum. She is currently taking a class online with Todd Bonita, an artist and gallery owner based in Portsmouth and Ogunquit.
“It was a silver lining for the quarantine – I finally had time to take classes again. I plan to keep studying and taking classes until I can no longer hold a brush. That is the beauty of art. There is always more to learn, ”said Hershberger.
She finds many of her art objects outdoors.
“Right now, and in the last few years I prefer to paint outdoors. Painting outdoors in oil, gouache, or acrylic is great for athletes like calisthenics – great exercise, strenuous, and very satisfying when done. Plus, artists in the same place outside can work together and connect with nature, ”she said.
“There is nothing better than painting and hearing the twittering of birds, the croaking of frogs and crickets. I started an outdoor group last June as a safe detached community activity that really provided community support and did a great job of mitigating the effects of social isolation and fear. We call ourselves the Central Mass. Plein Air Painters.
“It was a lot of fun and we plan to keep going outside with masks and distancing in the spring if we can. There were plenty of places in and around Bolton that we could paint generously on their property, such as Townsend Horse Farm, Phineas Wright House, Carlson Orchards, Schartner Farm, and Bower Springs Nature Reserve, ”said Hershberger.
“Right now I use gouache and oil paint for most of my outdoor work. Mixed media is a favorite too, and that uses pretty much anything – paint, inks, collages, etc – it’s great fun, playful, and spontaneous. I switch to oil in winter when I work inside, ”she said.
The originals for the fundraiser are all sold, but prints are available and can be ordered from the Hershberger website www.annhershberger.com under the Prints and Products tab. The student work is there too. Additional original templates are available and published weekly.