Most likely, class will never end for Boylston resident J. Barry Hanshaw, retired pediatrician, teacher, dean of UMass Medical School, art student and accomplished artist. His work, featured in a new show at the Westboro Gallery, Barry Hanshaw: Recent Work, will be on display through Jan. 8.
An opening reception was held on Sunday, Nov. 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. Hanshaw seemed thrilled to be surrounded by fellow artists, friends and fans of the gallery. He told the Westborough Patch, "I've had a good life. I've been very lucky."
All framed in black with a gold inner rim, the show features fourteen landscapes painted in oil. Priced from $150 to $900, the smallest painting is 8 by 10 inches and the largest is 16 by 20 inches.
An Early Aptitude
According to Hanshaw, "The best mark that I got in high school was in a design course." He chose, however, to pursue his passion for medicine. Hanshaw earned his medical degree from Upstate Medical University (then part of Syracuse University). He met his wife, Chris, during his second year of medical school. A pianist and long-time teacher, she has always encouraged his art.
Hanshaw did find time to paint during his early years as a physician, but his output was limited. Proudly, he reported that he sold two pieces of art for $25 each from a staff exhibit during his residency at the University of Rochester. Hanshaw said that salary at the time was $50 a month.
While art took a backseat during next couple of decades, Hanshaw's life experience has fed his later exploration of art. He and his wife raised five children, lived and traveled abroad and collected art.
A cottage named Windfall on Lake Morey in Fairlee, Vermont, purchased after Hanshaw's youngest graduated from college, has inspired many of his paintings. It also provided a wonderful gathering place for his family, according to Hanshaw.
During the late 1980s when Hanshaw was the dean of UMass Medical School, his wife said, "You work all the time. You should go down to the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) and take classes."
For twenty years, Hanshaw says that he received good criticism and encouragement at WAM from nationally known artists, most notably Ella Delyanis and Bill Griffiths. He started in pastels, but switched to oil 15 years ago.
Hanshaw's representational paintings capture the light and texture of nature. He paints from photographs or plein air (at the scene). Nature's colors fill his palette.
According to the Westboro Gallery press release, "... (Hanshaw) is a magician of light and shadow, expertly capturing the reflection of the sun upon the branches, or the crisp, bold snow-capped peaks of the White Mountains."
The Westboro Gallery show reflects Hanshaw's experience and travels. It features images of what he calls Berberian Pond in Boylston, Santa Fe, Banff National Park, the Northwest Passage, and Rockport and Ogunquit, Maine.
Hanshaw's favorite piece in the show is Morning in Indian Country. Based on a scene in Santa Fe, he said, "I think that the light and dark in the painting and the color contrast appeals to me."
During the gallery's opening reception, Dr. Chris Purington, a colleague of Hanshaw's, commented, "I am overwhelmed that Barry has such magnificant talent besides everything that he did as a physician and academic." His wife added, "I love to see (Barry's) enthusiasm and real devotion to painting. He just loves it."
According to Hanshaw, he has received numerous awards, shown his work in several shows and sold about 250 pieces. He said, "If I know someone whose getting married, I'll give them a piece."
In addition to the 14 paintings featured in the Westboro Gallery show, Hanshaw mentioned that more paintings shown on his website are available for purchase. Others work can be seen in his coffee table book, The Art of J. Barry Hanshaw, published in 2009, which features forty of his favorite works.
See the Show - Westboro Gallery, a nonprofit cooperative, is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. The gallery is located at 8 West Main St. For more information, call 508-870-0110.