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Color Her World

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Maria Bertrán insisted on visiting the French countryside last summer before creating her contributions to Selections From Artists Represented. "The light on the lane, on the water, or in the fields can only be captured by feeling the landscape and its secrets," she says. "I aspire to capture the spirit of the people through their environment, their structures, their colors."

The exhibit displays 10 of Bertrán's oil paintings alongside 20 other oils and watercolors by Lisa Hannaford of Chagrin Falls and Parisian natives Walter Sauermann and Hélène Renard. Bertrán's impressionist pieces stand out with their bold colors and even bolder brush strokes.

A native of Venezuela, Bertrán first picked up a paintbrush more than 30 years ago, when she set out to capture the vividly colored houses and boats of her homeland. Today, she maintains several studios in Southern California, Key West, and a remote village near the French Riviera to paint subjects as simple as a bunch of coconuts on a tree or as detailed as her renderings of farmhouses. "Shadows have fascinated me since I was a kid," she says. "When the shadows fall perfectly to the ground, you get this incredible distance, and the perspective is beautiful."

Bertrán has rules: She only paints in the early morning and late afternoon, when the sunlight isn't washing out the color of the landscape, and she never works from snapshots. "We're a dying breed of artists who like to be there on location," she says. "It's sad, but the truth is, when you're at the spot, you capture something that's lost in a photograph. When you paint something on location, it's forever." Selections From Artists Represented is on view at LaCachette Gallery (20 East Orange Street in Chagrin Falls) through May 1. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is free; call 216-401-8920. — By Cris Glaser
Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Starts: March 25. Continues through May 1

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