2019 BVAA Sunflower Show at the Booklovers’ Gourmet

Image by Betty Havens

Our Third Annual BVAA Sunflower Show celebrates the sunny beautiful flower! The art show is in conjunction with a stunning lush garden of sunflowers out front of the Booklovers’ Gourmet.

The sunflower art show is held at the:
Booklovers’ Gourmet
55 E Main St
Webster, MA 01570

About the Show
If there ever was a flower which symbolized glorious summertime, the sunflower is the one. Did you know that nearly all of the 70 species of sunflowers are native to North America? They can grow to be up to six feet tall and they even tilt as the sun moves so they always face it!

The Blackstone Valley Art Association is celebrating this sun-shaped delight with a sunflower show throughout the month of August at the Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster. Our show complements the stunning garden of live sunflowers which the bookstore is famous for. Come on out to admire the live flowers, appreciate the artistic versions, and explore the shop’s offerings!

The submission deadline for the sunflower show is Monday, July 22nd, 2019. We have limited wall space here for about 20 items so what we’ll do is have each member submit one JPG of an artwork via email to Lisa Shea they’d like to include. If we get too many we’ll do a Facebook vote. This show is open to all BVAA members and is free to participate in. This is not a judged show – it is primarily a visibility and sales opportunity. Any sales will include a 25% commission taken by the shop. The BVAA takes no commission on this show. Full BVAA terms: BVAA Show Terms and Conditions

The drop-off for the Sunflower Show is either Tuesday, July 30th or Wednesday, July 31st between 10am-6:30pm. If you can’t make either date, contact Lisa and she’ll arrange something. The shop will take care of hanging the items.

Public Reception
The reception will be 2-4pm on Saturday, August 3rd or 10th. We’ll take a poll to see which is better for members.

Pick-up for the show is Saturday, August 31st, any time during their open hours.

This show is all about sunflowers! The Booklovers’ Gourmet is well known for their beautiful sunflower garden, which will be in full bloom during the show’s run.

News Clippings from the 2017 Sunflower Show

Photos from 2017 Sunflower Show

Photos from 2018 Sunflower Show

Millville Canal Lock Photography Workshop – July 21

Date: Sunday, July 21st, 2019
Time: 10am – noon

All levels of photographers warmly welcome! All ages! Bring a cellphone, a film camera, whatever you want!

About the Canal Lock

Until the early 1800s, traveling around central Massachusetts was fraught with trouble. The woods were thick. There were wolves and other dangers. Either you were trudging through deep snow in the winter or dealing with swarms of bugs in the summer.

It was nearly impossible for any trading to get done.

Finally in 1823 the Blackstone Canal Company was formed. Its mission was to create an easy-to-navigate canal connecting Providence to Worcester. This would then open trade up to the entire world via the
Narragansett Bay.

Construction went fairly quickly – they began in 1825 and were completely done with the first travel on October 7, 1828. It took two days for one of the slender canal boats to make its way from one end of the course to another.

They expected the canal system to last hundreds of years.

Unfortunately for them, the railroads saw the opportunity and quickly moved in. By 1848 the canal was shut down. The railroad had taken over that quickly.

Come on out with us to get a hands-on look at this amazing part of our history! The Millville Canal Lock is the most complete remaining lock on the canal. You can imagine what it would have been like to live in a time where sailing up and down the canal was the easiest way to travel.

We’ll meet at 10am in the Millville bike path parking lot. This is on the Southern New England Trunkline Trail at the intersection of Central and Hope streets. Look for the St. John’s Episcopal Parish Church at 49 Central Street, Millville to find it on a GPS.

Then we walk east on the paved bike path for about 1500 feet. Then north down a dirt path toward the river for maybe 250 feet. And we’re there! There’s also a railroad bridge and other things to take photos of.

Please let us know via our contact form if you’re planning on coming, so we know to wait for you. If you’re late, just walk down the bike path and find us. It’ll be a great morning of learning about photography and exploring our Blackstone River history!

Feel free to bring any props that might be interesting to shoot in this location e.g. toys, dolls etc. Weird things that you would not normally see when in juxtaposition with this location, maybe, food items, flags, Bob Ross, Groot, clock, let your imagination run wild!

* * *

National Park Service Info on the Millville Lock

This is just one part of our month-long Celebrating the Blackstone artistic celebration. Be sure to check out all of our events!

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.

Plein Air Painting Workshop – Blackstone Gorge – Sun July 14

Plein Air simply means we’ll be painting outdoors, and attempting to paint the landscape we see. It’s a great way to get out into nature, relax, and have some fun. If you’ve never done plein air painting before, come join us! We warmly welcome newbies to come. We have all the supplies! Come try it!

We’ll meet at 10am and paint for an hour or two. If you want to stay longer, or show up later for light reasons, that’s quite fine! This is a casual, relaxing painting and photography day.

The Blackstone River is an incredibly powerful waterway, going 46 miles from Worcester to Pawtucket, RI. Over that length it drops a full 450 feet in height. This awesome power is what gave motion to the many mills which developed along its length. It’s also what carved out the beauty of the Blackstone Gorge.

The Blackstone Gorge, with the Rolling Dam right above it and the Tupperware Mill right below it, is right on the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The Rolling Dam is in Blackstone, Massachusetts while the Tupperware Mill is in North Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Directions and Time
Parking is found at the corner of Staples Lane and County Street in Blackstone, MA.
To find that, search on:

66 County Street
Blackstone, MA

The parking lot is immediately across the street from that house.

Date: Sunday, July 14th, 2019
Time: 10am to around noon, or you can stay longer if you have your own supplies.

We’ll have tray watercolors, brushes, and watercolor paper available. If you’d like to bring a beach chair to sit on, and snacks / drinks, feel free. If you have your own painting supplies, that’s fine too!

If you’ve never done a plein air paint before, you might read: Plein Air Painting – Preparing for your First Outing.

Please RSVP via our BVAA Contact Form so we know how many paints to bring.

National Park Service page on the Blackstone Gorge

This is just one part of our month-long Celebrating the Blackstone artistic celebration. Be sure to check out all of our events!

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.

Ashton Mills Plein Air / Photography – Sun July 7 – Celebrating the Blackstone

During its heydey, the Blackstone River was the powerhouse behind the many mills which sprung up all along its length. Town after town boomed due to the jobs and products created at these mills. Many of these large brick structures represented prosperity for the entire town. The mill owners would often build smaller brick houses for their workers.

The Ashton Mill complex is a great representative of what these communities were like. The area was put onto the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1984.

Come on out with us to get a solid look at this amazing part of our history! What would it have been like living in the era of the mill? Where all your family and friends worked in the same place and could hang out together side by side on weekends?

Location and Time
The location is now apartments. The address to get there is:
Ashton Mills
51 Front St
Cumberland, RI 02864

We’ll start at 10am – this is a CASUAL event. Lisa Shea will be on hand at 10am to greet people and answer any questions about the BVAA. She’ll wear a BVAA t-shirt. Feel free to come whenever you wish and to stay for however long you’re entertained. Bring paints, cameras, notebooks – whatever strikes your fancy!

Across the street is the The Captain Wilbur Kelly House Museum which has great exhibits about the mills.

This is just one part of our month-long Celebrating the Blackstone artistic celebration. Be sure to check out all of our events!

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.

Celebrating the Blackstone – July 1 to 31 2019

Celebrating the Blackstone

a community artistic exploration of the Blackstone River

For hundreds of years the Blackstone Valley has been defined by its river. Native Americans treasured it for a safe means of travel through thick forest. The Industrial Revolution puts its currents to work powering mills all along its length. In modern times we can still see remnants of the Blackstone Canal and its many locks.

Throughout the month of July 2019 we’ll provide a wealth of ways for you to explore your creativity, get in touch with the history of our beautiful landscape, and have some fun.

Here’s just a few of the events we’re planning. Dates and times are subject to change as we finalize the schedules. Be sure to check back for more details as we get closer!

Date Pending:
James Hunt Millbury Bike Path Photography Workshop
Millbury Bike Path, Millbury MA – 10am

Date Pending:
Guided plein-air event probably at River Bend Farm

Sun July 7th:
Ashton Mills Plein Air / Photography
Ashton Mills, Cumberland RI – 10am

Sun July 14:
Blackstone Gorge Painting by the River
Blackstone, MA – 10am

Sun July 21:
Blackstone Canal Millville Lock
Millville, MA – 10am

Where else should we go along the Blackstone River? Let us know! What else should we do that is art-related and Blackstone River related?

Here’s a map to get you started:

Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

We’ll then have an open art show, free for community participation, to celebrate all the art we’ve created. We’re still planning when this will be.

This month-long celebration is sponsored by Constellation, an Exelon company.

To see what we did in 2018, visit:

Unexpected Connections – Mon June 24 2019

On Monday, June 24, 2019 from 5:70-7pm there’ll be an invitation-only event held at the Singh Performance Center in Whitinsville, Mass. This inspiring evening will bring together 20 local community members from all walks of life to learn about each other, explore their creativity, and try out a variety of fun activities.

If you’ve been invited to attend our Unexpected Connections event – welcome! Here’s what we are planning.

5:15pm – arrival period and community sculpture creation. Participants receive colored name tags which sort them into four groups of 5 each.

5:30pm – introduction and song singalong

5:45pm – icebreaker! Each group creates fun “machines” with our bodies.

6:00pm / 6:15pm / 6:30pm – the groups rotate through three stations:

  • Creating string art
  • Planting edible flowers
  • Writing a joint story

6:45pm – light snacks and drinks are provided. People relax and share their thoughts

7:00pm – goodbye song

This event was developed out of a workshop series on “Arts in Complex Community Change” – a series designed to help local community leaders in the Whitinsville area develop new ways for the arts to help foster improvement in community relations. It’s run by EmcArts.

A purpose of tonight’s event is to help play-test the idea of having events which are focused on a particular topic, such as gardening, storytelling, music, and art creation. We’re interested in finding out which types of activities individuals would be interested in attending. We’re also examining if this type of activity helps to foster stronger bonds between diverse members of our community.

We look forward to seeing you there! Ask with any questions!

This workshop is planned and run by:

Donna Blanchard and Alaina Calloway Bolton, Apple Tree Arts
Peter Friedland and Matthew Johnsen, Worcester State University
Phil Marshall, ValleyCAST
Dennis Rice, Open Sky
Lisa Shea, Blackstone Valley Art Association

Portrait Sketching by Laura Sfiat using Reilly Method

For the afternoon of our 2019 Uxbridge Sketch Walk, on June 8, 2019, talented instructor Laura Sfiat guided us through how to create portrait sketches.

All levels of artists were welcome to join us and participate.

Laura uses the Reilly Method of sketching portraits. These are the supplies Laura recommends:

bristol smooth pad
2b and 4b pencil or mechanical pencil
kneaded eraser

Thank you to Dennis Smith for setting up this day of creative exploration.

Thank you also to the Massachusetts Cultural Council Festival Division for supporting this Second Annual Sketch Walk experience.

Here’s more information on Laura:


Carol Arnold Oil Painting Class – June 2019

NOTE: This class will focus on still life. Bring what you’d like to paint and your light and Carol will see you there!

Oil paint has been the medium of choice for a wealth of famous painters. Leonardo da Vinci. Claude Monet. Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Paul Cezanne. There is just something spectacular about the beauty of oil paint which captures the eye and the imagination.

Whether you’re a raw beginner or an experienced painter, this oil painting class will take you to the next level. It’s full of personal hands-on advice and a warm, welcoming atmosphere!

Talented painter Carol Arnold teaches a monthly oil painting class at the BVAA Alternatives Uxbridge Community Gallery! Carol is a member of Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik’s Putney Painters! All levels of painters are welcomed with open arms. The focus will be on drawing, edges, values and color. These are areas which a beginner can practice and an advanced student can hone to perfection.

Carol makes these classes fun and inspiring, while supporting you to the next level of your growth!

This monthly class usually meets on the first Thursday of every month from 6-9 pm. We are experimenting with other days to see how they work.

The maximum class size will be 10 students, to ensure plenty of hands-on time for each one.
If there are only 1 or 2 students registered for a class, the class will be cancelled.
If there are 3 or 4 students, each student pays $20/hr for the class = $60 total.
If there are 5-10 students, each student pays $15/hr for the class = $45 total.

Invite your friends! Share the news! The more students which attend, the less you pay and the more fun it is to learn from each other.

Monday, June 3, 2019
6pm – 9pm

BVAA Open Sky Uxbridge Community Gallery
5 South Main Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

There is a TON of free parking immediately next to this building. It is fully and easily handicapped accessible.

BVAA Alternatives Uxbridge Community Art Gallery Information

This class is open to the public. It is open to all ages and to all levels of painting ability.

Please make sure you register beforehand so we know how many to expect. Carol will send you a supply list to get you started.

To register, please make sure you email: carol@carolarnoldfineart.com

To learn more about Carol Arnold and to view her painting gallery:


Follow Carol on Facebook!

Carol Arnold Fine Art on Facebook

Open Paint – Sat May 25 2019

If you’re interested in painting, drawing, and illustrating, we have the perfect Saturday lined up! It’ll be a great time with laughter, conversation, creativity, and the space to stretch out!

The Spectacular Spring show is now live! Come in and take a look!

Spectacular Spring Show Details

We’ll do hands-on help with Instagram for anyone who brings in a smart phone or tablet!

Open Paint 10am-3pm
For the entire day, it’s an open paint! All are welcome, including the public, family, and friends! It’s free! We have watercolors and acrylics on hand, or bring your own if you wish.

If the weather is nice out, visitors can also embark on an Uxbridge sketch walk. We have the maps all ready.

Saturday, May 25, 2019
10am – 3pm

BVAA Open Sky Uxbridge Community Art Gallery
5 South Main Street
Uxbridge, MA 01569

Our Saturdays at the gallery include an open paint session where all styles of art are warmly welcome. Whether you’re 12 or 102, whether you’re a new beginner or a seasoned artist, we would love to have you. It’s completely free to participate in the open paint. You can bring your own paints or we’ll have watercolors and brushes to share.

There is a TON of free parking immediately next to this building. It is fully and easily handicapped accessible.

BVAA Open Sky Uxbridge Community Art Gallery Information

Feel free to show up for some or all of the day to paint. Some come for just the morning, some for the afternoon, and some for the entire time. There are several options on the same block to grab lunch if you’d like. We also bring in a pizza and those who want slices chip in a few dollars.

Our Saturday events are free, casual, relaxed, and fun! All levels are welcome.

Ask with any questions – we’d love to have you join us!

This Uxbridge gallery is supported in part by BVAA member dues, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and by ValleyCAST. The space use is kindly donated to us by Open Sky Community Services. Open Sky uses this space for client activities during weekdays. They allow the BVAA use of the space – and its gallery walls – on evenings and weekends.