RICHMOND — Of the 13 paintings, Christina Williams was especially drawn to the one titled “Uncle’s Songs for Children.”
The image of children listening to a man play the piano reminded Williams of playing piano for her own nieces. She said the whole exhibit, with its images of children and the adults who care for them, was poignant and beautiful.
“It was really moving about how it takes a whole community to raise a child,” Williams said.
Williams, the daughter of the Rev. Chad Williams of St. Alexander Nevsky Russian Orthodox Church, was one of about 50 people who listened to painter Wendy Patterson talk on Sunday about her exhibit now on display at the church’s parish hall at 28 Kimball Street.
Patterson, who lives in Gray and is a member of the church, describes her exhibit, “The Twenty,” as an elegy for the children of Newtown, Conn., and a love song to all children.
The paintings are Patterson’s response to the deaths of 20 children in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown last year.
“It had to do with my reaction to that event,” Patterson said. “The event was so horrible, so I wanted to image children being embraced.”
Twelve small encaustic paintings, which are created with pigmented wax, are arranged around a larger painting of an apple tree, inspired by imagery from T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” poems of the laughter and voices of children in an apple tree.
Patterson said she hopes people who see the exhibit will leave with a sense of healing, of the vitality and hope that children embody, and pay attention to the needs of children around them.
Sunday’s talk and reception were originally scheduled for Dec. 15, the day after the anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, but it was postponed twice because of bad weather the past two Sundays.
The exhibit will remain at the parish hall until Jan. 25. It will be open for viewing from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on Sundays or by making an appointment with Patterson by calling 207-657-3886.
Patterson said her paintings, which are not for sale, will be part of a larger exhibit at the University of New England starting in March. She’s also looking for other places to display the paintings in coming months — ones welcoming to families and children, such as schools, libraries and community centers.