By Martin Renzhofer
Artistic journeys are often time-consuming, sometimes frustrating and with many of the dividends purely spiritual.
Dedicated artists rarely reap financial rewards.
So, for much of their lives, Doris Smith and Anita Feld, two of a handful of Bedford artists whose works are on display at the Concord Center for the Visual Arts’ latest exhibition, “Membered Juries 2,” had to set aside artistic aspirations for making a living.
Now the two retired teachers have embraced this second career.
“MJ2”, which runs through March 21, features creations in mixed media, collage, crafts, photography, drawing, graphics and printmaking.
Smith, whose print titled “Star Island” is on display for MJ2, surprised friends with her artistic side.
“I have enjoyed it very much,” Smith said. “It’s been very fulfilling. Being at the Concord show, once you get into a show that has been juried, it validates you.”
Kathy Deflice-Secor and Astrid Reischwitz are other Bedford artists included in the exhibition, while artists Gillian Frazier, Anthony Pilla, and Madeleine Lord have roots in the Bedford community.
The works submitted for acceptance must have been new to Concord Art as well as not being older than three years.
More than 80 pieces are on display, including two by Feld, who uses block woodcuts to create designs that were used to make abstract prints of an abandoned church: “W. Boylston Jewel I” and W. Boylston Jewel II.”
As a person who belongs to a critique group and critiques the work of others, Feld embraces the idea of having her work judged.
“To have my work selected is quite an honor,” Feld said. “It’s a privilege and it makes a statement for getting my work out there. Other than that, the only other people who would enjoy it would be me and my husband.”
Smith, who was an elementary school librarian in Bedford for about 30 years, took art classes as a student at Augustana College, a private liberal arts college in Rock Island, Illinois. She used that creativity while creating different projects as a librarian.
“I knew I couldn’t make a living [as an artist],” Smith said. “Once I retired, I started taking classes. What really surprised me, when I started looking around, was just how many artists live in Bedford.
“It’s a tough road to take. We all put ourselves out there and hope somebody will buy it. You have to get beyond getting judged.”
Feld used art to relax, to take the edge off of the intensity of earning her various degrees. Although art has been a lifelong exploration, Feld only began to work at it full time once she retired.
It has become a second career.
“It allows me to focus on what I’m looking at,” Feld said. “It also allows me to become more observant. It opens up the senses.”
Feld and Smith have enjoyed some success, each selling their works.
Feld has been exhibited at the Gallery Twist in Lexington, Watertown’s Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts, the Belmont Gallery of Art as well as the First Parish art gallery in Bedford.
Like Smith, Feld enjoys being part of the Bedford art community. However, both women also believe that community can become larger as well as organizing more open studio shows.
“Having support is very important,” Smith said. “I’d like to see more artists open their studios.”
“Bedford has been a place for a lot of artists to share experiences,” Feld said.
For these artists, being creative has been an enjoyable second act.
Editor’s Note: 2019 Members Juried 2 ~ Collage, Crafts, Drawing, Graphics, Mixed Media, Photography and Printmaking is on display through March 21 Hours: Tuesday — Saturday, 10 am to 4:30 pm; Sunday, Noon to 4 pm | Closed Mondays | Free Admission CLICK THIS LINK FOR A FULL LIST OF ACCEPTED ARTISTS and THEIR WORK