MEXICO — Barbie Dolloff was easy to spot in the crowd. Her signed self-portrait looked just like her.
Dolloff of Canton, who was painting for the first time, was one of Pat Chandler’s students who displayed at least six works of art each in the basement of the Rumford/Mexico University Center on Tuesday evening.
This was also the first time in Chandler’s five years of teaching art classes at the university that her students could display their work. There just wasn’t space before.
College administrator Jean Kay made the space available for not only the exhibit, but also for Chandler to teach her classes. Despite the pipes overhead, and the unfinished basement that is shared with the custodian, Chandler is pleased to have so much room.
Everyone can spread out and have plenty of room to work, she said.
For Tuesday’s display, a dark blue curtain set off the exhibit space. Easels with still lifes, portraits, landscapes and abstracts encircled a wall filled with other artworks.
Dolloff’s whole family came to see her work from the painting II course.
“I love her painting,” said granddaughter Julia Sirois, 10, of Rumford.
Her brothers, Vincent, 8, and infant Keegan were there with her uncle Kyle and mother, Katie Sirois.
Julia liked the self-portrait, and the landscape that depicted the country road on which her grandmother lives.
Michele White, an elementary education student, gave abstract art a chance. Although she had several other more traditional pieces in the show, her untitled muted yellows and browns piece caught the attention of some.
“I liked doing this one. It didn’t have to represent anything,” she said, although some thought it symbolized the sun shining on a swamp. “I let the paint drip so I got all the shades of brown and yellow.”
White appreciated the individual attention Chandler gave to all her students.
“She takes the time to give advice,” White said.
Chandler said some of her students will likely become involved with the Pennacook Art Center, and some of those works may be shown at a future display by the arts group.
The class will end next week with a field trip to the Portland Museum of Art, where among the exhibits is one on still lifes.
Chandler, of Norway, will return to the university center in the fall to begin another season of teaching art, offering both drawing I and painting III courses.