Sandy Williams, of Niles shows off her water color painting hanging at the "In Like a Lion" art exhibition at Lake Michigan College Bertrand Crossing Thursday evening. The exhibit, which runs through June, features an eclectic collection of work by local artists. (Daily Star Photo/AARON MUELLER)
Sandy Williams, of Niles shows off her water color painting hanging at the "In Like a Lion" art exhibition at Lake Michigan College Bertrand Crossing Thursday evening. The exhibit, which runs through June, features an eclectic collection of work by local artists. (Daily Star Photo/AARON MUELLER)

Archived Story

Local artists share talents at LMC show

Published 9:02am Friday, March 26, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star

Splashes of color and a wave of creativity were on display at the opening of the “In Like a Lion” art exhibition at Lake Michigan College Bertrand Crossing in Niles Thursday evening.

Dozens of community members turned out to view an eclectic mix of paintings, drawings and fine art photography by local artists and members of the Niles Art Association.

But one artist in particular may have appreciated seeing the works more than anyone else in attendance.

Sandy Williams, of Niles suffered from temporary blindness for more than a year, keeping her from doing what she loves – her art.

“In March 2008, I noticed a problem with my vision and in a few weeks I was all but blind,” she said. “It was a kind of white blindness.”

Williams said she went to doctor after doctor before finally being diagnosed with bilateral optic nerve atrophy.

“For the better part of a year, I had the support of my family leading me around,” she said. “I couldn’t read or write. I couldn’t do any art work.”

She started to regain her sight in April 2009, when she could start to read large print books. By that summer, she was reading regular print and beginning to delve back into her art.

“It’s just nice to be out in the world again,” she said with a smile.

Williams has three works on display at the show that runs through June 5.

Most of her work revolves around botanicals and wildlife, which often are done in gouache. Two of her works hanging at the show are of horses, one in watercolor and the other in colored pencil.

Williams’ works have been hung in galleries across the country, including the Smithsonian Institution, which earned her a mention in the Washington Post.

Also on display was a unique piece titled “Moving Day” by Heather VanDyke Pletcher, of Niles. The work is a box with nooks filled with various, multi-colored trinkets, invoking memories of moving out of one home into another.

“I had a big collection of junk,” VanDyke Pletcher said. “I wanted to do something that shows how you feel when you move. Things come with you and are lost, things are left behind. It’s not exactly all happy.”

Pletcher created the piece after a move from Indiana to Niles.

Patricia Rose, an illustrator for three children’s books by Niles author Cheri Hallwood, was on hand at the exhibition as well.

She had a pastel drawing of a pear on a rose plate, which was done as part of a series on plates.
Rose, who owns two businesses in Niles, finds time to do a lot of painting and illustrating.

Hallwood and Rose’s next book, “One Wish for Winifred Witch,” will be released soon.

“I have to say that was the book I looked forward to the most, because I could use my imagination,” she said. “I could really have fun with it.”

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