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Tuesday, June 19 Local

Artist brings nature to the YWCA

GREENWICH — Sometimes, Lucie Anderes would sketch the skeleton of a house or church. But as a girl growing up in Switzerland, her eye usually drifted more to natural landscapes, delighted by what it found.

Over the decades, that childhood penchant has never changed. Now a professional artist, Anderes takes her cues from the outside world to create impressionist fantasies from environments across the globe.

Throughout February, the town resident’s paintings will grace the walls at the YWCA Greenwich, where visitors can ogle at landscapes from Morocco, France and Greece, as well as Greenwich itself.

Ensconced in the Gertrude G. White Gallery this month, Anderes’ art will greet local children who frequent YWCA’s programs.

“That’s fabulous, you know, how they’re inspired by things. And they look at the painting, and they tell you the truth,” Anderes said.“They’re so open-minded. ... They’re not like the grown-ups.”

Over the course of her career, Anderes has had shows around the world, including several in her home country. The YWCA exhibition has been planned since last summer, when the nonprofit’s staff asked Anderes if she would be willing to feature her work.

The paintings span from still lifes to glitter-dusted winter wonderlands, from blue and white China scenes to New England’s vibrant foliage fading into fall. These visuals come from Anderes’ experiences, both in Old Greenwich for the past half-century and on the open road.

As a hiker, skier and traveler, Anderes has explored all different corners of the earth, with a focus on what lies beyond major centers. She and her husband frequent safaris, and last summer she visited South Africa, where she was particularly gripped by atypical tree structures she is now painting.

Recently, she also took a car trip up to Winnipeg, Canada, during which she never forgot to look out her window.

“We drove through sunflower fields for hours,” she remembered. “The sunflowers looked at you on this side, and the other side they turned towards the sun.”

In her canvases, Anderes will occasionally include a pedestrian or jungle animal from afar. But never up close; she does not prioritize a subject over the environment.

“For some reason, I tried portraits, and I would have been successful but it just didn’t mean anything to me. I love nature,” Anderes said.

Though she works en plein air, painting a landscape while it sits in eye’s reach, Anderes said she has never finished a piece in the field. The light is ever-shifting, uncontrolled and unruly, so she needs time to craft the perfect tableau.

That magic takes place at her home studio, where her impressionist sensibilities take shape. Because she is not a realist, Anderes has no loyalty to what is, which gives her the flexibility to discover what can be.

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A tree that was on the right may end up on the left. Or a plant may hover forward, when before it loomed distant in the background.

Those decisions are all Anderes’, and she claims them with verve.

“It’s my painting,” she said. “I can do whatever I want to do.”

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