Three years ago, a few folks from Pine Shores Art Association conceived the art show “Deck the Walls” almost as a throw-away project — just something to fill the barren walls during a commonly slow period of the year. In that short time, however, Deck the Walls has become one of the most popular and looked forward to events of the year.

“December was usually nothing (at the gallery). We figured people were too busy and they wouldn’t bother,” says Pine Shores board member and artist Margaret Hartwell, who, among others, has changed her mind about that theory. “It’s just for fun … an exhibit to brighten the gallery during the holiday season.”

Part of the reason it’s “just for fun” is because Deck the Walls is the only Pines Shores’ show where no judging takes place.

“People (artists) are more relaxed knowing they won’t be judged, so they can have fun,” Hartwell says.

One of those artists having fun is Lee Fricke, who at 84, not only still paints, but continues to challenge herself with various mediums from weaving and watercolors to oils and, more recently, zentangles — drawings of structured patterns.(tncms-asset)e174514c-bd75-11e6-9af1-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)

The former art teacher mostly concentrates on watercolors these days, having been “taken” with them from the get-go.

Fricke’s Deck the Walls’ piece, a watercolor titled “Icy Reflection,” started off as a demo.(tncms-asset)6ba3a9d6-c3b5-11e6-8048-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)

“It was a memory of a lake in the Westwood area,” Fricke says. “I did it from memory and added things in it that I wanted to put in … different techniques.

“In my paintings, it’s a lot about how I feel about the scene — why I’m painting it and how I can enhance it — and to let the viewer see something in it, too … memories or emotions.”(tncms-asset)9b2e1ca4-b0f5-11e6-9fa3-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)

Hartwell, who is a former postal worker, says that this would have normally been her busiest time of year at work, and she doesn’t miss it at all — “especially the cold wind.”

Maybe her past position was the inspiration for her current Deck the Walls painting of a kingfisher perched on a snowy rope in icy weather.

The title? “Next Year, Rio.”

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