'Expressionist' showcases colorful art at library

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Barbara Rosenbaum has always had a love of color and form but it wasn’t until she was in her 60s that she picked up a paint brush and started sketching with charcoal that she discovered her passion. That was seven and a half years ago. She hasn’t slowed yet, producing an average of two paintings a week.

Rosenbaum is cautious about calling herself an artist.

“I paint and draw,” she said, “I’m still not sure I can.”

Rosenbaum, assistant curator at the New Hope Art Gallery in Cranston, showcased numerous pieces of her work at the Central Library on Saturday.

The artwork included acrylic paintings in a wide range of colors and charcoal drawings. Aside from using those media, she also uses ink for her art. She draws real objects and abstracts from her imagination, calling her art "expressionistic"; using bright colors, as seen in many of her art pieces that were on display at the library.

"Everything I do is about color and shape," she said. "I never try to do exact, it is always from my own interpretation."

Works showcased at the library include "Benefit St. #1", an

acrylic painting; "Barbara Gothic", also acrylic; and many more.

Rosenbaum said she has always been interested in "artsy" things.

She designs gardens and helped her husband do interior design. She said that when she paints, she deals with "more than one sense at a time,” allowing her to create her own pieces. She also said that she got into art because she "just wanted to try it."

A retired speech pathologist, said she took up drawing after fully retiring and has been creating art for the past seven and a half years.

Rosenbaum said that after hearing Saturday's show briefly advertised on the news, an event that would be just her own art, she felt a sense of "disassociation" when seeing it on the screen, noting with a smile that her mother was in attendance of the show along with many of her friends and colleagues from the gallery.

She welcomed guests to Saturday’s opening reception with open arms and urging them not to overlook an extensive spread of appetizers.

“I’m Jewish, you have to have food,” she said laughing.

Art feeds her, although she can’t explain why.

“Maybe it keeps me going a little higher each time,” she said.

Rosenbaum's artwork is on display for the public until January 28, in the James T. Giles Community Room. The exhibit is free to the public during the library's open hours.

In order for an artist to display their artwork, said library communications manager Rachel Hutchinson, they must book it individually with the library. The library does not directly collaborate with the New Hope Art Gallery, but they have shown artists that have organized and showcased at the gallery before, according to Hutchinson.

The New Hope Art Gallery is located at 1070 Cranston Street. It will host its upcoming opening on April 2, the first Tuesday of that month.

As for her next project, Rosenbaum said she is working on the New England Outdoor Living Show that will be held March 7 to 10 at the WaterFire Art Center on Valley Street in Providence.

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