Art Walk: From Belgium to the Black Belt

Published 1:11 am Saturday, February 6, 2010

The photography of Karen Weir and the paintings of Sonia Martin’s grandfather, Fernand Coenderaet, were featured at this month’s Art Guild gallery and Art Walk.

Coenderaet’s oils span the periods from 1904-1943.

The paintings depict different scenes of Brussels, Belgium, where Martin’s maternal grandfather lived.

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“He painted a lot,” Martin said.

When she came to the United States in 1947, she brought many of her grandfather’s paintings with her. Acquiring more paintings from family members, her home is now decorated with Coenderaet’s paintings.

Martin decided to feature her grandfather’s paintings of Belgium at the Art Guild after Gary Anderson mentioned the paintings to the Guild.

“He said, ‘Sonia, I want to put your paintings here,’” Martin said.

The paintings will only be available for viewing because Martin would like to get them back on the walls in her home.

“My house is naked,” Martin said.

After agreeing to set up and take down the photos from her home and to the gallery, Anderson convinced Martin to do the art show. The Art Guild gallery will be open Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. for viewing of Martin’s collection.

“It’s just a beautiful expression of her growing up in Belgium,” Anderson said.

Anderson and Martin have known each other for many years because they met when Martin was Anderson’s French teacher at Morgan Academy.

At The Frame Shoppe, Weir’s photography adorns the walls. After taking a photography course, Weir started to have an eye for finding items to photograph.

“I’ve been interested forever in old things and in doing black and white,” Weir said. “Lately, my eye has been capturing it. Something just clicked and said ‘OK, it’s time to do this.’”

Her collection features places attached to memories for many people or sights in the countryside for people such as her grandchildren.