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North Salem Artist Treasures Trees

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – North Salem’s Sally Frank was in the middle of the Maine woods as she talked, via cell phone, about her collection of tree art, now on display at the Ruth Keeler Library.

“Most of what I do is make prints,” she explained. “Unfortunately, I have a day job, but I like to do monotypes which are spontaneous and don’t take a long period of time.” Monotypes are a form of prints, dating back to the 17th century. Each is made individually.

Frank has been drawing all her life and has trained in many places, including Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, Mass., and Long Island University, where she earned a masters in fine arts. At the age of 19, she was apprenticed to Tom Bostelle, the American painter and sculptor who was a colleague of Andrew Wyeth.

“I’ve always drawn trees and the natural landscape. I went from focusing on the architecture of a tree – its sturdy trunk and the strong presence it has on the landscape – to what is left when a tree dies away and leaves forms behind.

“I’m fascinated by the texture and light that trees create, the patterns – a tree’s essence. I look for trees that are expressive and show their age. I’m interested in what’s gone on around the tree during its lifetime, and also what has gone on in the greater context, that is, around the world in the lifetime of the tree.”

Locally, she likes to sketch the Norway spruces, the dogwoods and the sycamores.

“There are some wonderful old maples on Hunt Lane,” she added. She takes the sketches home and creates her monotypes, using a small printing press in her studio.

On a larger scale, she works at Norwalk’s Center for Contemporary Printmaking, where she served on the board for seven years.

Describing the pieces in the library exhibit, she said, “It’s an intimate space, so I tried to put together something that would show a range in subject and media. Trees can be very spiritual.”

“Trees” by Sally Frank will be at the Ruth Keeler Memorial Library, 276 Titicus Road, North Salem, until the end of September.

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