Looking to escape the summer heat? Step inside the Post Road Art Center where gentle breezes riffle the dune grass and the setting sun bathes the ocean in a golden glow.




Looking to escape the summer heat?


Then step inside the Post Road Art Center where gentle breezes riffle the dune grass and the setting sun bathes the ocean in a golden glow.


But owner Randi Isaacson knows every day can't be perfect even in an art gallery featuring talented painters and photographers from across the region.


Fog settles across Dowses Beach, washing color from the morning. And wet snow blankets the old Grist Mist at the Wayside Inn, reminding visitors of New England's whimsical weather.


Welcome to "Landscape/Seascape," the Marlborough art center's annual exhibit that celebrates New England's ever-changing beauty in paintings and photographs by 30 artists. It runs through Sept. 3.


Describing the show, Isaacson said, "This has been a really popular show."


"There's definitely an increase in quality of the art that's been submitted. We're definitely attracting a larger group of artists. The competition has become more intense," she said.


Isaacson said submissions for the show were judged on "composition, technique and creativity."


Lorene Jean, owner of Hudson Art & Framing, curated the exhibit and chose the three award winners, a painter and two photographers, all from greater MetroWest.


Jeanne Smith of Sudbury earned first place for her gorgeous pastel "Sunset Glow." And photographers Jeff Strobel of Marlborough took second place for his striking digital photo on canvas "Mill in Winter" and Tim Walton of Northborough took third place for his brooding "Johnson's Island."


Several photographers create striking effects through digital technology or innovative printing techniques.


By printing his digital images on canvas, Strobel gives the surfaces of his photos the tactile richness of a painting that enhances their colors. Also printing on canvas, Bolton artist Roberta Anslow enriches the colors of her lovely photo of a beached skiff titled "Blue on Blue." Shooting digitally, Boston photographer Sean Sullivan creates a haunting nocturnal image titled "Lunar Beach."


Isaacson said she's been pleasantly surprised an ever-widening circle of artists have been submitting works for her exhibits. I'm really amazed how far some artists have traveled to be in this show," she said.


In two lovely oil paintings, Leominster artist Juan Leon employed subtly nuanced hues to create serene rural vistas. Shading toward Impressionism, Zsuzsanna Donnell of Andover used confident brush strokes and bold colors in her powerful acrylic "Eager Egret." Using watercolors, Crist Filer of Somerville created an ethereal "Winter Twilight," one of the show's most striking paintings.


Since 1990, Isaacson has provided one-stop shopping for artists and art lovers by fulfilling her slogan, "Everything your art desires," from her business at 1 Boston Post Road.


After graduating from Framingham North High School in the 1980s, she earned a fine arts degree with an emphasis in oil painting from Colorado College. For awhile she studied engineering at Boston University before listening to her inner muse to pursue a career in art.


While working in a local frame shop, Isaacson noticed the Post Road site, then known as the "Rhubarb Cafe," was up for sale. She bought it and, doing much of the work herself, turned the long-gone cafe into its present incarnation as frame shop, art supply store and all around mecca for area artists.


Inside the signature purple exterior of Isaacson's 19th century, two-story colonial home and business, the walls are covered with shelves of art supplies and rows of frames are nestled atop one another






Isaacson's already looking ahead toward her next exhibit, a first-time show based on "Miniatures" featuring artwork 8 by 10 inches or smaller. For artists who want to submit their work, the drop-off date is from Aug. 29 to Sep. 3.


And Isaacson is preparing for a exhibit of her own paintings in November. For two expressive paintings of Kip Tiernan, who founded Rosie's Place, she layered paint on with a pallet knife to give the portraits the texture of a living person.


"How do you make something look like a person," Isaacson asked herself. "The more effort you give it, the more interesting it comes out."


MetroWest Daily News


THE ESSENTIALS:


The Post Road Art Center is located at 1 Boston Pond Road (Rte. 20), Marlborough.


It is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


On Thursday, Aug. 27, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Randi Isaacson will give an informal talk about the exhibit and painting techniques.


For more information, call 508-485-2580 or visit www.postroadartcenter.com.