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Greenville & Hockessin Life

Inspiration to create

Dec 31, 2014 12:30PM ● By Kerigan Butt

Laura Pucceschi works to capture her photograph before the light changes.

(Editor's note: This article first appeared in our Spring 2014 edition.)

By Carla Lucas


Artists interpret life through color, shape, line and texture to express what they see. Inspiration starts the process.

“We invited artists to come to the gardens as a source of inspiration,” said Maggie Brock, the education and research assistant at Mt. Cuba Center.

More than 30 artists from five states came for the first annual Art-In on Sept 26. Some just walked the grounds and photographed what caught their attention for later work. But others brought their easels, paints, pens, canvases and sketch books to work on site.

Sitting in the gazebo with a sketch pad in her hands, Kathy Ruck of Landenberg looked out over the pond, where the towering trees framed the sloping meadow. “I noticed this view on another visit and knew it would be best in the fall,” she said. 

Ruck is known for her watercolors of local places, and has done several paintings of Mt. Cuba. 

“The leaves are just starting to change their color and the meadow's colors are gorgeous," she said. "Mt. Cuba is one of my favorite subjects because of its natural beauty.”

Across the pond was Roe Murray of West Chester. She works in oils with an impressionistic style. Roe prefers to paint on site, immersed in the location, as opposed to painting from a photograph. 

Roe Murray likes to be surrounded by what she is painting.

“This is a beautiful day to paint, and the weather is perfect," she said. "This spot called to me. It is peaceful. The water is so still.”

Connie Newby, an artist from Wilmington, specializes in trees. “This was a great opportunity in a beautiful space,” she said as she sketched a bent branch in a grove of evergreens. “It is peaceful and gorgeous here. There is a mix of landscaped trees and wilder areas."

When she returns to her studio, Connie will translate the small sketches she did at Mt. Cuba into a four-by-five-foot charcoal drawing. 

Connie Newby found inspiration for her sketch in a grove of evergreens.


Home schooler Billie Rose Newby used the Art-In as a learning experience. She came with her mother, Connie, and found her own inspiration near the pond. “The little things near the water's edge caught my eye,” she said as she sketched.

“Every time I turn my head I see another beautiful thing,” said Laura Pucceschi, a photographer from Wayne, about her first visit to Mt. Cuba Center. She'd heard wonderful things about the site and decided the Art-In was the perfect opportunity. Pucceschi's close-ups of plants remind her that beauty is around all the time, and all you have to do is observe. For her subjects, she looks for patterns, textures and shapes.

“It's important to get shots in context, the global landscape,” she said. At Mt. Cuba, she found many opportunities to explore plants in their natural setting. 

Bill Rose Newby found her inspiration near the water's edge.


It was a first visit for Julie Dixon, a photographer from Chester County. She spent the morning walking the grounds and capturing fall images. For her, this was a new local landscape. The reflection of the trees in the ponds inspired her.

Catherine Carney, from Boothwyn, spent her morning working on a pastel of a cherub sculpture near the main house. For her afternoon, she planned to work under the trees, interpreting the little island in the middle of the pond. 

Catherine Carney shows the first piece she created at the Art-In.


“There's too many places here that are inspiring,” she said. “All you have to do is look around.”

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