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