Our Art Is…

May postcard RGB

Exploring What Art Is At The Hillsborough Gallery Of Arts

Three very different artists are featured this month at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts. Painters Pat Merriman and Eduardo Lapetina and sculptor Lynn Wartski present their newest work in a show they call OUR ART IS…..
Pat Merriman, a founding member of the gallery, says “When I paint it is always with my favorite themes…this time I have revisited Koi on long 10”x30” panels that allow them to swim up or downstream. ” They shine with glints of gold, unusual colors and playful acrylic textures. There will also be one or two Hillsborough or NC scenes, and I am honoring my love of cooking by painting vegetables, fruits, and cooking scenes from my kitchen.”

Eduardo Lapetina paints large colorful canvases. Describing his creative method, Lapetina says “I strive to produce paintings that exhibit the powerful emotions embodied in the process. That is much more important to me than making images that are necessarily pleasing or objectively beautiful. An image arrived at through such a slow, deliberative set of processes appears fresh and immediate by maintaining spontaneity at every turn. The destination is unknown until I finally get there.”

Lynn Wartski adds whimsy to the show with the unique doll sculptures for which she is increasingly well-known. Says Wartski “My art doll sculptures test the limits of expression that can be achieved with unconventional material choices of forged copper, and other metal work, for faces, hands, and various elements of design. The result is a collection of pieces with a cohesive sculptural style despite the incorporation of widely varied materials and experimentation. The dolls I have been working on for this year’s show have an additional dimension beyond capturing gesture and interesting costuming. With these sculptures I introduce more of an element of narrative into each piece. I’ve worked to capture a moment of movement, or the figure caught somewhere mid-stride. I hope the viewer finds him or herself looking at that single captured static moment and wondering or imagining what the next moment would hold.”


Please join us for the Opening Reception
Friday May29th


To follow our Blog please hit the FOLLOW button at top of page.

To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website


What I came here for

 Chris Burnside

“If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you don’t bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.” Gospel of Thomas


I believe we each have the opportunity to create our own lives and that if we don’t, we will have regrets. To create one’s “own” life, I think a person needs to examine what is important to them and what it is they want to be doing.


I started drawing early and by 5 years of age had decided I wanted to be an artist. In the 60’s studying art in college, I also became incredibly excited by dance and decided to pursue it as a career. BUT – I promisedpromisedpromised myself that I would one day come back to the more solitary studio practice in the Arts that I loved. In 2001, I realized that it was time.


My glass process has been the result – one that includes color & textural relationships I see in Nature, influences from 60’s abstract artists, and a sense of movement that comes from my years in dance.



Coming back to the visual art practice has been a right choice, and a fulfilling one – One that has influenced both my “still alive” interest in dance and my life. Each day I’m excited about what’s next – what can I envision and then translate into a real piece? I’m excited about the mystery of the creative process – It is part of who I have been since the beginning!


I think that our society doesn’t always do such a great job of encouraging our young to follow their interests, their passions. The Arts path isn’t an easy path, but it certainly can be a rewarding one. I was incredibly fortunate to have two parents that encouraged me to follow my heart – Who encouraged me to CREATE MY LIFE.


This is my first featured artist show at Hillsborough Gallery and I feel most fortunate to have worked with Arianna and Michele – there has been such a sense of ease, serendipity, and joy in the process.


To follow our Blog please hit the FOLLOW button at top of page.


To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website

What I came here for


Arianna Bara

Before I made jewelry, I tried a lot of different things. I drew, painted, sculpted, took pottery classes. None of them felt like “what I came here for”. I kept asking myself in which direction I was supposed to go and no way became clearly “the” way.

In the 90’s I read a book on lucid dreaming, which is a way to awaken within your dream state so you can ask your subconscious questions about your life: little questions like how to solve a problem, or the bigger ones like “Why Am I Here?” questions. I practiced the techniques and, amazingly, was able, several times, to become aware or “lucid” when I was dreaming.

As you can imagine, this is tricky on several levels. The key is to realize you are dreaming without waking up. One of the ways you can do that is throughout the day and as you fall asleep at night, you ask yourself the same two questions and listen for the answer. You ask “Am I dreaming”? “Can I fly”? As you ask yourself throughout the day, the answer is, of course, no. I’m not dreaming, I’m writing this on the computer. Can I fly? Nope, my feet are firmly on the carpet.

As you ask yourself these questions as you fall asleep, there will be a time when you ask yourself if you are dreaming, and you will be uncertain. You will ask yourself if you can fly and you will. You will fly!


Dream flying is the most exhilarating thing. You just want to fly forever. So the next tricky part is to stop flying and ask your question. One time my question was “What will my art look like”? I saw myself in a gallery and my work was on the wall. It was far away and I kept trying to move in closer to see it but I couldn’t get a clear view. It was small and seemed metallic, but it was hanging on the wall and so was not clearly jewelry.

I had fun with lucid dreaming and had some fabulous flights, but never found exact answers to the questions I asked. It took constant practice and I was unable to keep up with it as the demands of my life took precedence.

I discovered jewelry-making about 10 years later, when a friend invited me to join her in a class. I had recently lost my husband and was stunned and grieving. I had no idea what metalsmithing entailed and next to no interest, but I wanted to spend time with her so I signed up for it. The minute I picked up a pair of round-nosed pliers and wire I began making spirals. Over and over. I was hooked. Then came the hammer and the forging and the torch and there was no going back. All the therapy I needed was in those motions and the creative process.

So, what did I come here for? I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are here to remember, in the face of love and loss, that we are radiant eternal beings. We are here to “arise and illuminate”, as poet John O’Donohue says. That is what my jewelry is about.


To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website


What I came here for

Michele Yellin


What I Came Here For was not the first name Arianna Bara, Chris Burniside and I decided on for our Featured Artist Exhibit. In fact, we were pretty committed to our first title, until we found out it was too long (and also, perhaps, slightly too boring). It wasn’t until we met for the third time over cups of coffee and Arianna shared the poem A Morning Offering by John O’Donohue that it was obvious what our exhibit should be called. It comes from the last stanza of the poem and is as follows:

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

There are so many beautiful phrases in this poem, but the line “To do at last, what I came here for” resonated profoundly with all of us. I think that it probably rings a bell with everyone. Why are we here? We have been given this great gift of life. Are we wasting it? Are we doing the things we are meant to do? For Arianna, Chris and me, this exhibit of our work is tangible evidence that we are doing the things we were born to do.


When I am in the middle of working on  a painting, and struggling to solve the puzzle of it, I am often filled with angst and despair. It seems as if I will never get it figured out. I have to remind myself over and over to have faith in the process. No matter how many pieces of art I create, I never feel like it comes easily. It feels just as likely that I will fail in my effort to create something beautiful, something joy-filled, than succeed. And yet, and yet, and yet…as many times as I have considered quitting, I continue to plod on. And then, all at once it seems, I successfully complete a piece of art! And then another! And another! I am doing what I came here for!

And now, if I only I could waste my heart on fear no more….


To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website

what I came here for

April postcard RGBPlease join us

To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website


Ellie Reinhold

CITY STRUCTURE_scaled4web_P1080214Ellie Reinhold

Back in graduate school a respected visiting artist came to my studio. She took in my digs in a single panoramic sweep, locked eyes with me and intoned gravely, “You have got to focus.” I was scared straight. In the years since I’ve stayed pretty faithfully inside the rails of what has become my oeuvre: iconic figurative paintings with a story.

In 2010, 2 decades later, my dedication failed. I was knocked right off my tracks by the simplest of events: a vibrant fall leaf season. Each day I would walk to my studio through the glowing woods and arrive with a head full of staggering color. Apparently, being a couple years out from cancer treatment, the timing was just right for me to say to hell with the rails and have an unfettered fling with color. Break the rules! Meander! Play!

I continue to have all sorts of fun in my new category, as well as my old. But that small permission 5 years ago opened a veritable Pandora’s box and a whole slew of “problems” arrived. I now have two totally different bodies of work—and often two totally different audiences. (Are you interested in the figurative or the landscape?) For each show I need to choose one sort of work, or the other, for focus within the exhibit.

But it seems that inside the “new” category I am continually diverging. That one Inspiring Fall faded. “Landscape” became “abstract/landscape”, then became “pattern/abstract/landscape” or “conceptual landscape” or textural exploration ignoring landscape altogether, then became…ROSE WOOD_scaled4web_P1080258

This show. Which has developed into a veritable study in divergence.

Still, there are several threads I’m following (swinging around on, tying in knots, weaving then unraveling, flinging to the wind):

Surface quality and surface depth: I prefer (for now) to remain within the limits of acrylics, but I jealously admire the surface qualities of cold wax, encaustic and oil. Occasionally I see an acrylic surface I can truly love and several pieces here, or parts of them, come close to that pinnacle.

Palette: Color play! This is how I ended up off the rails to begin with.

Title/theme: Some pieces here were completed before our theme was conceived. But the concept uncharted has had a direct influence on others. I must confess that in my divergent mind the “un” fell away and I kept thinking charted… data graphing, grids and patterns. How about a bubble chart of a forest? Or a bar graph of a city? This is how Forest Grid, Big Cheese and related pieces arrived.

At the show you can let me know if you notice other threads I’ve left off my list.FALL FOREST GRID_scaled4web_P1080087

To receive Hillsborough Gallery of Arts Newsletter please complete the form below with your name and email address.

Please visit our website


_20150408_102728Nell Chandler

After Ali and Ellie and I brainstormed many suggestions of titles for our featured artist show Ali finally came up with Uncharted.

We could all relate to that title because they both had children that are getting ready to fly the nest and  I knew I had some uncharted territory of my own. I knew there were techniques I have long wanted to try with my jewelry.

I’d always wanted to try to work with colored pencils on metal and had just never found the time. This was the  perfect time. But I found the medium tedious as I applied layer after layer to achieve the depth I wanted to achieve. Plus the colors that I am normally drawn to wouldn’t show up on the metal as well as the colors that are not a part of my regular palette. I tried the gesso ground technique and contemplated the acrylic spray in between each layer but the gesso was just like white paper and I knew the acrylic spray would  eventually end up as gunk.

So I ended up scratching the surface with a stylist to created a rough surface for the prisma color to adhere to. It still took layers and layers but I got some satisfaction. I eventually accented it with a rapidograph (technical pen) and a white paint pen.

In the middle of this process, when I was getting discouraged, I was talking with a friend. I said how I had all these designs in my sketch book back when designs were just flowing out of me when my children were young that I never had a chance to make. We decided that that too was uncharted territory. So I fabricated a very linear group that has just been sitting on the pages of my sketchbook for years.