The Gallery at Grosvenor Park will display group watercolor show “Six Plus One: From Tentative to Bold” from May 1 to June 2, with an opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. May 1 at the gallery, 7 Loring Hills Ave., Salem.
In spring 2014, a group of students lost their watercolor teacher to cancer. However, the group reached out to Ron Harrison, an award-winning marine artist from Salem, who happened to be taking a hiatus from teaching — resulting in the continuance of the class.
With six students meeting regularly at Grace Episcopal Church in Salem during the last two years, Harrison is impressed with their progress and feels it is time for the next step: exhibiting their works.
“They’ve made so much progress, the public should see their achievements... and for the artists, confidence comes from showing your work,” Harrison said.
The students include five women and one man who began as a complete novice to having sold several paintings. The students are: Joan Pizzello, a longtime Salem City Hall worker; Janice Garlin, of Peabody, a former city worker; Faye Corning, of Peabody, a retired school teacher; Diane Brady, of Lynn, retired from the Belmont school system; Mary Ellen Campbell, of Reading, a retired physical therapist; and William Chan, a retired General Electric electrical engineer from Marblehead.
Since the class began, Harrison has covered portraiture, line and wash, landscapes, marine and cityscapes and a number of other areas — all of which will be part of the show.
New students are always welcome; for those who fear they cannot draw, Harrison offers a chance to use a grid system to build initial confidence and quickly advance to painting. Harrison said he could always draw, but it was only after 24 years in the U.S. Navy that retirement allowed him the time to focus on painting. He studied with Caesar Favizzi in New York and with North Shore artists Suzanne Mogel, Paul George, Ian Marshall and Don Demers.
Harrison currently specializes in painting navy ships, working boats and tugs. One of his largest works is of the Salem ship, “Francis” ­— a duplicate of the “Friendship” at the National Maritime Park in Salem and of the same period. He also serves as vice president and is a signature member of the International Society of Marine Painters, and he is a member of the American Society of Marine Artists.
Grosvenor Park Health Center is handicapped-accessible, and gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. For information: 978-741-5700.