WATERVILLE — An opening reception for the exhibit “Light, Shadow, and Soul,” by David O. Solmitz, is set for 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, at the Waterville Public Library.

The exhibition of watercolors will be on exhibit through April 28.

Solmitz, teacher, author and artist, began watercolor painting as a child under the guidance of his mother, Elly Solmitz. When she was 17, his mother began her studies to become a commercial artist in her home-city of Hamburg, Germany. At age 21 she won a citywide poster contest for charity to raise money for poor children in Hamburg. In 1933, Nazis forced her out of the art academy because she was Jewish.

In 1938, Solmitz’s father was arrested and incarcerated in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau. His mother heroically succeeded in getting him released and they fled to England. There they waited as trans-migrants until their quota number to the United States was reached in April 1940.

Three years following Silmitz’s birth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the family moved to Brunswick, Maine. There his father became a philosophy professor at Bowdoin College.

When Solmitz was 11, his family spent a year in London, England. He was struck by contrasts in London’s gloom, fog and smog. Among remains of bombed buildings, small bright yellow flowers appeared. Shiny red buses meandered between dreary soot-covered buildings. Besides painting such scenes, he was enamored by London’s parks especially in the spring. Yellow daffodils sprawling throughout lush green lawns caught his watercolorist eye.

Solmitz defines his style as a combination of traditional landscape painting with impressionism. To express his feelings, he incorporates abstraction to the mix. Using 30″ x 22″ sheets and 2″ and 3″ brushes gives him the opportunity to produce bold yet flowing creations. As a result, he experiences natural light, sometimes soothing and gentle, on other occasions intense, even piercing. “Light, Shadow, and Soul,” offers Solmitz’s observation of rocks and ocean waves, landscapes and city environs at home and from travel abroad.

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