Thursday, September 9, 2010

ten years - or is it twenty-five?

We're celebrating 10 years at Lynden Gallery, having moved to the old Downtown Firehall at 117 South Market Street in 2000 from just down the street. Twelve years in our old Victorian were proceeded by four on Orange Street, in a 1939 Sears and Roebuck bungalow. And we did, literally, move many of our smaller household belongings transported on an old red wagon with two young children alongside! Remember our old Amish-made iron swingset? Hauled it down the street with a brother on each corner rather than take it apart. If finally ended up back at College Avenue at the house where I grew up - my brother is living there now, and Maya and Ian are enjoying this 1960's relic in it's new-found, modernist form - but that's a story for another day.

The house at 425 S. Market Street afforded me with two rooms in the front for a calligraphy studio - since 1985 with the birth of my first child, I'd been working in the corner of the dining room. The space quickly acquired a frame shop and I posted a sign out front - "Bedenbaugh Designs Studio and Framery, hours by chance or by appointment." The sign would periodically disaappear when student spring fever rose on the nearby college campus, but always seemed to magically reappear on the porch a few days later. Framing was often done with lego underfoot or a child on my back, but I loved the easy movement between household and work.

Once Jenna, Joe, Layne and Lynden were all off to school full days, I began to look for a Downtown location for my business. I pictured a frame shop/calligraphy studio/coffee shop combination, but instead found myself in partnership with Mike and Joyce Heberlein, combining our businesses and opening Lancaster Galleries West together. The gallery offered fine art, custom framing and a restoration studio with JD Wissler - Michael Allen managed the frame shop - both are accomplished painters whose work I continue to find inspiring.

Opening night, October 2000, brought a crowd of well-wishers and collectors to our new establishment for our first exhibit featuring four realists - Robert Heilman, Lynne Yancha, Amelia Rockwell Seton and Henry Libhart. In 2003, I went solo again as Lynden Gallery. The work inside the four walls continues to evolve with life. In 2007, I decided to combine work and home again, and moved to the second floor - once again achieving a certain balance and flexibility I value. Calligraphy has given way to the design business as I work toward completing my masters degree at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Reflecting our desire to provide continued, customized service, we'll have new storefront hours starting October 1, 2010. Wednesday thru Friday, 10:00 to 5:00, and Saturday 10:00 to 3:00 - additional hours by chance or appointment. 717.367.9236.

It's time to celebrate at Lynden Gallery - call it ten years at the gallery, or twenty-five since incorporating as Bedenbaugh Designs, Inc. Lynden Gallery's Anniversary Opening will be held on October 8, 2010 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm, featuring the work of Gary Butson. The Brandon Hollinger Trio will provide Jazz for the evening and the front wall feature is Susan Davitti Darling - eat well and buy more art!

Art on this page by Susan Davitti Darling - top: The Move, 4 1/4" x 14 1/2" ink on paper, 2000; bottom: eat well and buy more art, 15" x 15" mixed media on rag panel, 2010. The photograph of 425 S. Market is by Robyn Smith.

Gary Butson's Rebirth

I remember the first time I visited Gary Butson's studio - the door of his turn-of-the-century, white, clapboard house opens, and I'm ushered inside a rather dark interior, much like his paintings themselves. I was struck by the quiet, and the scent of his pipe, as he led me through the orderly house to the back stairs and up to his small studio on the second floor. Surrounded by books, paintings and drawings from floor to the slanted, low ceiling, the only light was coming through two windows - one facing south to the back yard and the other facing east.

He turned a lamp on at the easel and pointed up to the wall by the window where there was an old shelf with a rusty nail on the front face, and a collection of carefully arranged produce atop. The light from the window created dramatic shadows and contrasts, and from the easel, this was the latest still life in progress. Gary, his long dark hair pulled back in a ponytail extending halfway down his back, begins to talk about his work - "I love the still life, even though I use only a few props or models, the possibilities are endless. I find great enjoyment out of setting these things up on my shelf and moving them around until I find the right composition, as if I'm a director on stage."

This most recent visit, I found little had changed regarding Gary's passion for still life and painting - despite the new energy in the household. In addition to Melissa, Wolfgang (Mozart) and Stanzie, his pair of dogs, there is Jackson.

Gary openly shares the fascination and joy of being father to his young son, now four - especially at the age of 50. "I have things put away and next thing I know everything is out again. The mess is a bit of a challenge for me," he admits with a wry smile. If "mess" means a train set, a coloring table and some books strewn about, it's not bad, in my humble opinion.

These days a corner of the studio has given way to Jackson's easel and painting accouterments - his most recent collection, according to Gary, is "a series of black rainbows." And it doesn't sound at all dark to me, knowing his father. Last Saturday, Gary stopped in the gallery to discuss the framing for his upcoming show, and when I asked where Jackson was, he painted a picture of the tow-headed, little guy happily running about the back yard as Spiderman, too busy to come along.

"Spiderman is his current favorite," he said. And I remember the corner of the sitting room outside the studio - the far wall painted in chalkboard paint, with a larger than life rendition of the superhero. "We used to change this rather regularly," he said, "but I think this one is here to stay for awhile."

Gary's latest work will be exhibited at the Lynden Gallery this fall. Opening night is Friday, October 8th, with jazz feature the Brandon Hollinger Trio, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m., and with any luck, Spiderman will make an appearance.

For more on Gary Butson and other Lynden Gallery artists, visit

Monday, June 28, 2010

summer salads and Betty

"A cruel irony of your life... you are married to a Philistine when it comes to food." So much of who we are... who we think we are, is wrapped up in our perceived opinions of those closest to us. My identity, including my feelings of pride and who I am are wrapped up in food and my ability to shop on a shoestring, create and serve up healthy dishes with some finesse (not to mention "neatness" in the kitchen - I'm a firm believer in CAYG)

My husband, on the other hand, will happily feast on ramin noodles with broccoli, chicken, eggs, or whatever happens to be available in the fridge. He loves to cook, with preparations flying all over the kitchen, preferring clean up when it's all over - he does a great job of clean up and makes fantastic fried rice, I might add, but seems to miss the aesthetic sumptuous of prepartions I adore.

He favors dinner at 3:30, going to work early in the morning and skipping lunch in favor of a two mile run. I, on the other hand, typically have cheese, Hammond pretzels and raisins for lunch at my desk around 2:00 and prefer a European timetable of dinner after 8:00. I relish preparations with a bit of jazz and a glass of wine in hand. Dinner together, I've learned, requires planning ahead - "Honey, can you be sure you have a yogurt or two after your run so we can have dinner later?"

I've found myself missing "family dinners" as a young family in my past life - four kids and a husband who seemed to thoroughly enjoy my cooking. Candles, linen napkins, and an appropriately set table weren't a part of every day, especially with kids running off in different directions to swim and band practice, the gym, or youth group at church, but when we did sit down, we celebrated. I remember cheerful banter about the day, silly songs, and playful fun - even when we were silently suffering through the reality of divorce, dinners remained a constant bright spot. I still relish the opportunity to cook for all of them when they are around.

This afternoon I was bemoaning to myself, my fridge mostly empty after returning from several days on vacation - barren, in fact of anything without preservatives or pickling. I wandered over to my friend Betty's house to water her plants, and remembered she had asked me to clean out the fridge and take anything edible home - dinner! My mouth was watering all the way home with a bag of fresh greens, assorted fruits and vegies, and some leftover grilled salmon. Now you need to know, Betty is an awesome cook, so finding her abandoned salmon was as good as dropping close to $30 on on precooked from an organic gourmet deli!

I decided on my personal version of comfort food - salmon pasta salad and a fresh fruit salad, above. A glass of wine from a bottle of Trader Joe's Coastal Cabernet Sauvingnon, 2006 brought back from vacation in Virginia, and a lovely oboe suite on WITF (which I wish I'd have written down, as one of the middle movements was particularly moving) made for a delicious end to a quiet Monday.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

slaw variation with water chestnuts and sour cherries

Second to slow-broiling in the sun (and yes, I've done my share of baby oil basted, slow cooking), come summer I savor the adventure of inventing recipes using up leftover produce in my refrigerator. Thanks to my brother Brandon, I gathered an interesting mix of ingredients this evening while the chicken breast was doing the cooking instead of me.

This slaw recipe was inspired by Mollie Katzen's "The New Moosewood Cookbook" originally published in 1977. I learned of it after more than one recipe was copied to me from Susan Darling, including one for Gypsy Soup, which happens to include the unexpected combination of sweet potatoes, tomatoes and cinnamon. This was the cookbook I grabbed first for slaw inspiration, and needn't look further. Here is my twist on the Carrot-Yogurt Salad on page 72.

Coarsly cut or chop the following:
4 cups napa cabbage
2 medium-sized carrots
remainder of a small head of raddichio
1 small leek, including most of the greens
1 clove garlic

Whip the following in a glass measuring cup until smooth, then toss with the chopped vegetables:
8 oz. plain greek yogurt
8 oz. real mayonnaise (a household compromise)
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of celery ceed
dash of lemon pepper
sprinkling of coarse salt
a bit of dried ginger

Add the following additional ingredients and toss until coated with dressing:
1 small can drained, sliced water chestnuts
1 chopped, unpeeled gala apple
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 tablespoons dried sour Michigan cherries

Chill briefly to let the flavors meld, and enjoy with whatever if coming off the grill. A simple rice pilaf, leftover pita and ginger curry hummus from market were the perfect compliment, alongside my current house favorite wine, Yellowtail Chardonnay.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

black bean salsa and the graduation party

This week has been a whirlwind of parties and events, with the graduation of child #3, Layne, from highschool. Earlier in the week we celebrated Lynden's 16th birthday and Lorelei's graduation, and I managed to complete my semester finals in the midst of it all. Tonight we are throwing a party to celebrate, and since a trip to Central Market early this morning for produce, I've been happily ensconced in my kitchen with prepartions for the evening.

Top on Layne's food request list, along with Cheez-it's and banana chocolate chip muffins, was "that stuff you make with nacho chips" - Black Bean Salsa. This recipe comes from the Pillsbury Classic Cookbook #172, June 1995 and has been a family favorite ever since, with some minor additions and changes of my own - like ginger, which seems to appear in just about everything I make! It's a labor of love, especially for a big crowd, so I've got everyone lined up to start chopping as soon as I finish this blog entry.


Add the following to an appropriately sized ceramic bowl, worthy of presentation:
(1) 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 plum tomatoe, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 large clove garlic, pressed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine in a glass mixing cup, wisk together:
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. hot sauce, or more to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin

Wisk with a fork, pour over the vegetables and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate a few hours to blend the flavors. Serve with nacho chips. I love this as a chutney with grilled pork or chicken as well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Peanut Butter Icing on Lynden's Sixteenth Birthday

Well, it's birthday cake season again (we have several within a few short weeks early summer)and I've got Stella's Wackie Cake in my oven. While it's baking, I went in search of a recipe for Peanut Butter Icing - I recall doing this every year. The cake recipe is easy to find, as it's hand-written in an old Contestoga Composition Book, "property of Bryan Hollinger". Somewhere along the line it became mine, and I spent the summer of 1979 jotting down my favorite recipes from home to take with me to college. Number 15 in my contents on the first page shows "Wackie Cake".

This afternoon I put on my Williams Sonoma black and white ticking apron, a birthday gift from my son Joe and prepared to whip up this delectable cake for Lynden's 16th birthday. Joe sat across the island from me searching thru my digital archives for photos to turn into a slide show to commemorate Lynden's day. It's become a family tradition to show a slide show of the celebrant on our big screen in loft - projecting onto a white, king-sized sheet stretched across the upper railings. I think the first one was for Layne's 16th, and when it was complete I sat and watched it over and over before she came, tears streaming down my face. Nothing like the past going by bigger than life!

Back to my search.. the first place I looked for the icing recipe was on my blog, as I thought I'd been doing a pretty good job of posting my old favorites. But alas, it was missing, so here it is...

Thoroughly combine the following in a mixing bowl:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Wipe down the sides of the bowl and mix until there are no lumps, then on slow speed, add a little milk, a little sugar, in small portions at a time, mixing until smooth. Use the following proportions:
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat with happy abandon until smooth, adding a bit more milk to improve spreading consistency.

POSTSCRIPT: We just finished making Grandma Stella's Chocolate Wackie Cake for Layne's nineteenth birthday. She's working at the pool all day and only has a 45 minute break to celebrate, so we're taking pizza, vegies and cupcakes to her. With my niece Maya's help, we made cupcakes and put a mini Reeses peanutbutter cup in each one, frosted them with peanutbutter icing, then decorated them with buckeyes. Yum! Can't wait for dinner - Happy Birthday Layneb!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Brad Stroman's "Black Mountain Fever"

We recently traveled to Black Mountain, North Carolina to visit Brad and Ellen Stroman in preparation for Brad's upcoming exhibition at Lynden Gallery, aptly titled "Black Mountain Fever", a nod to the obvious inspirational feast he's found since moving there in January 2009. The photo above is of the two of them, walking sticks in hand on the trail one morning. It was hard for us to leave, surrounded by the gentle signs of early spring in the the elegant, misty mountains that ring the small town they've come to call home.

We spent our first, and only sunny day, hiking in the woods outside of Asheville, the trails heavy with rhododendron which grow stories high, and bending with their weight create enchanting tunnels. The first blooms won't come until May, and we missed them on our visit last fall. Brad has created furniture for their stick built, timber home out of rhododendron branches he finds just behind their house. The dried curled up leaves were inspiration for an elegant ceramic wall triptych he created for the show.

Communing with the earth, uneven earth and rock beneath my feet, the water twinkling in the sunlight and rushing by below, the wind rustling the leaves far above my head, the warmth of early spring sunshine on my face - the constructing of my own stone totem reminded me of my own precarious nature of self, in this bigger picture we call Life.

Leaving this piece of active self-expression to the elements, along with the cares, concerns and joys of that particular day, was in a sense, an act of leaving the blessing or sacrifice of myself behind. "Leaving behind" being the operative words. We tend to be so thoroughly ego-centric, rendering our view of the world through tunnel vision, insular in our limited perceptions,unopened to the insight and guidance before us - if only we'd Look.

Atop an old, primitive cabinet in Brad's studio, sits this collection of dried gourds and Humpty Dumpty - who I understand was a bit scary to son David in his younger years! The gourds were a gift from a friend, and Brad has taken to carving lids, varnishing, and painting images upon them, some of which will be included in the upcoming exhibition. Snakes, ginkgo leaves, herons, crows and the Man on the Moon, all find their identities in this unique medium.

Dinner at an Asian Fusion restaurant in downtown Asheville, beginning with an order of steamed and salted edamame pods, was an ethnic treat like nothing I've had in awhile. It was Palm Sunday and we were seated next to several young families. I enjoyed watching the chubby little 2 year old next to me struggle with his chop sticks to get the long marinated noodles to his mouth - he was obviously enjoying the whole process, and mom appeared to be not a bit concerned about the mess!

Across the way was a little blond girl about he age of three, all dressed up in poofed up white taffeta and chiffon, struggling a bit more adeptly, with the same noodles - must be a local kids favorite, and the ideal "fast food". The vegetarian stir fry David and I shared was sweet, with a hot bite behind it - the Asian beer the perfect accompaniment to the meal. I detected fresh ginger, a breath of garlic and cardamon, but don't think I could recreate that lovely dish if I tried. Will definitely go again, pay a bit more attention to the ingredients, and ask some questions.

David, undaunted by the raining, overcast weather that weekend, took a long hike on Overlook Trail from Montreat one morning, and found himself on a peak overlooking Graybeard, where he'd hiked the previous day. The misty, purple mountains have become his latest painting exploration, and from where I sit to write, I can see these peaks and trees on his easel across the loft from me.

Brad Stroman's, "Black Mountain Fever" opens Friday, April 23rd, 5:00 to 8:00 at the Lynden Gallery. Featured band for the evening is "Furnace Mountain" from Appalachian West Virginia, and special guest, my brother Brandon Hollinger. For more information on this event, the artist, and the Lynden Gallery, visit our website

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Figures and all that Jazz

"Figures, Chocolate and all that Jazz" opens tomorrow night, Friday, February 12th with several reasons to celebrate - well the snow stopped didn't it? Emerging from the blizzard of the century (so far), I hear the traffic below my window moving at a normal rate of speed on pavement rather than ice. Yesterday at this time it had finally finished with a second dumping of snow in a week, each more than foot, so it's no small feat to find the roads clear!

This bi-annual Figure exhibition has always been one of my favorites, and as we installed this one, I couldn't help but feel fortunate to have the camaraderie and talent of the stable of artists I do. This latest show includes some from our first Figurative show in 2002 - Eva Bender and Catherine Prescott, some regulars from Lynden Gallery like Janet Hammond, John Lehman (yes, we found figures by John!), Stacey Carter, Fran Williams Wagner and Jim Bright, and some more recent additions including Bob Patierno, Holly Crocker Garcia, Clifton Sheely and Constantine Kermes. The show is stunning, which David and I spent our snowday installing, showcases each at their best.

Spanning the decades, some work by Fran, Eva, Bob and John go back as far as the 1950's and 60's. Which brings me to the second reason to celebrate - the life and work of Fran Williams Wagner, who passed away early January this year. An illustrious, creative career behind her, I met Fran at the Masonic Homes at the urging of her friend (and my customer) Jody Darrow, who is no longer with us either. "You have to see Fran's work!" she would tell me numerous times before finally bringing an armload of sketchbooks and journals to the gallery, putting them in front of me, and saying, "now look!" I'm glad she was persistent, because it's truly been a privilege sorting through her work and getting to know Fran over the past three years.

Fran Williams Wagner was born in 1916 in San Francisco, California and spent most of her adult life working as a ceramicist and muralist. She hand-glazed and fired ceramic tiles of all shapes, colors and textures for enormous, commissioned murals she designed and installed. Her old scrapbooks show a young, lovely woman, tilework laid out at her feet as she walked around adjusting final details, or up on scaffolding during installation. Her public commissions include the Miami International Airport in Florida, Joaquin Bacardi Home in Santiago de Cuba, and Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, and additional works in Arkansas, Puerto Rico, Key West, Washington DC, and Buffalo, New York. A few smaller ceramic works survived her collection along with her sketches, which Lynden Gallery manages as was her wish. The sale of her work will continue to benefit her family and the Masonic Homes. For more about Fran and her work, kindly visit

Our third reason to celebrate is twenty-five years in business, which began at the kitchen table with a newborn, Jenna, by my side in 1985. As a calligrapher I peddled my work to Donecker's of Ephrata and numerous craft shows in the area including Lancaster Town Fair, the Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts Show at the Farm Show Building in Harrisburg, and the Mount Gretna Outdoor Art Show. Joe came along in 1986 followed by Layne in 1992 and Lynden in 1994. In 1991 we renovated an old Victorian home on Market Street, just down the street from the current gallery location, and opened a frame shop with my calligraphy studio.

In 2000, after working with lego underfoot and the kids finally all in school, I was eager to move the business out of the house and opened the gallery. Another reason to celebrate! Ten years!

"Figures, Chocolate and all that Jazz" opens with an Artist Reception from 5:00 to 8:00 pm. Jazz feature is The Reese Project and chocolate provided by Elizabethtown's own M&M Mars Chocolate Company and Spence Candies. The exhibition will continue through mid-April.