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Chester County Press

Small art done in a big way

12/03/2015 10:14AM ● By J. Chambless

The Chadds Ford Gallery is packed with small paintings for the 'Christmas in Miniature' show.

By John Chambless
Staff Writer

The “Christmas in Miniature” show is a Chadds Ford tradition that always draws a crowd, and at the opening afternoon of the exhibit at the Chadds Ford Gallery on Dec. 2, there were plenty of browsers and buyers finding their favorite small paintings.

The show is an every-square-inch affair that requires you to spend some time focusing on the paintings that are displayed, quite literally, from floor to ceiling in four rooms. You can buy and take your purchases right away for gift-giving, and the works are replaced by others from the same artists. That means that the show warrants repeated visits to see what's new, and it also means that if you find something you like, you'd better buy it right away, because it might not be there when you come back.

This year's show has a nice array of old favorites and some newcomers. You'll find everything from the inevitable Chester County barns to fine landscapes, animal portraits and a few things that push the envelope just a tiny bit.

There are outstanding works by artist Ned Young scattered throughout the show. There's a dazzling, razor-sharp autumn view of a Victorian home, “Morning Side,” that has a nearly photographic level of precision. His other works are just as strong.

“Highballs,” by Sarah Yeoman, is a watercolor of glasses – a tricky thing to depict, but very well done. Bradley Hendershot's “Monhegan Scallops” has a lovely, battered wooden door with only a trace of blue paint. “Wellhouse, Poston Farm,” by Don Shoffner, captures the look of sunlight on a whitewashed barn door.

There are a couple of cute, folk-art style paintings of country life by Alice Woodward, and several works by J.M. Standish of crisply rendered, sunny interiors that are as masterful as always. Monique Sarkessian has a fine summer light and a sense of space within the small dimensions of her beach scene, “A Day in Ventnor.” Local artist Karl Kuerner's “Jet Stream” is a striking twilight view.

There are other highlights, including Mike Tomasso's vibrant little “Pears Checkers,” the simple woodland view “Birch” by Susan Myers, and the dazzling “Snow Day” by Ben Watson III. Watson's winter scene is rendered in egg tempera. It's mostly a white expanse of snow, but the tree trunks, spindly limbs and pool of melted snow are breathtakingly well done.

The show kind of spills out into the whole gallery, so don't forget to wander through the back rooms for other small works. You can go and browse, and then go again in a few days because things will have been replaced. Just don't hesitate if you find something you really love.

The “Christmas in Miniature” exhibit continues at the Chadds Ford Gallery (1609 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford) through Dec. 31. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Call 610-388-2412 or visit

To contact Staff Writer John Chambless, email [email protected].