The bustling traffic of Middletown's Main Street this past March inspired one local artist to render its vitality en plein air in oils.
"Main Street Traffic," an oil painting by Durham artist and art teacher Terry Oakes Bourret, has won the Bosworth Grier Award at the recent Madison Art Society’s exhibition. Bourret created the painting on site on Main Street in Middletown, and it is one of a series of urban scenes she has been painting in and around the Middletown area in recent months.
Middletown Patch spoke to the artist in mid-March while she worked on the street corner near the Washington Street intersection. Here is an excerpt from City's Bustling Downtown Muse to Artistic Quintet.
Oakes Bourret, of Durham, says the 100-year-old neighborhood grocery store reminds her of another, much larger, city.
“I’ve been doing a lot of things with the lately,” she says. “I like to be in New York City, so this is the second-best thing. Oakes Bourret, well-known in this area for her prolific work on landscapes and animal portraits, started off as a registered nurse, so it’s not surprising she likens Middletown’s Main Street to another swift-moving, densely populated locale.
“We just like to paint on the street,” she says of her fellow artists. “It’s very exciting, it’s sort of like doing emergency room work, very intense. It’s a challenge because everything is moving.”
The painting was actually completed after two visits to the area, Oakes-Bourret says. "The first day I was with a group of elected artists from Lyme. I went back to put the cars on the road in .... and a woman parked her car in the handicap spot which pretty much blocked the whole scene," she says.
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
"I was going to have to go home because I could not see anything with the car there and she fortunately decided to move her car (she was not handicapped)," Oakes-Bourret says.