Highlights from Members Show: New Beginnings

By Caroline Browne on March 20, 2021

Written by Caroline Browne

The Copley Society of Art is proud to present the Members Show: New Beginnings, an exquisite showcase of unique works by artist members in a variety of medium and styles. In this thematic juried show, our artists work will reflect various new beginnings – from the annual transition of winter to spring, to new ways in which the global pandemic has altered how we approach and live our lives.

 In this week’s blog, Co|So highlights five pieces from the exhibition that approach the theme of “New Beginnings” through landscape in different styles and mediums.


Pictured: Penny Billings, CA, Red Sky at Night, oil on linen, 38 x 26” 

Award-winning artist Penny Billings works in a unique style of contemporary realism, creating atmospheric and tonalist oil paintings which capture the constantly shifting light and mood of today’s varied American landscape. Her work is influenced by the incredibly diverse landscape of the Northeast, with its changing seasons and the striking intersection of light and shadow at certain times of day. Penny’s creative process starts with her desire to memorialize the feeling inherent in a particular place. She creates from her imagination based on a lifetime of landscape memories, en plein air, and sometimes from photographs.


Pictured: Janine Robertson, CA, Spring Valley, oil on aluminum, 26 x 38” 

Janine Robertson specializes in painting luminous landscapes on aluminum and copper. She draws inspiration from the marshes, fields and shorelines of the New England landscape. The artist paints both en plein air and in studio to ensure a strong composition and effectively explore the effects of light and time on the landscape.

Janine began her career as a muralist and trompe l’oeil painter but eventually changed her focus to landscape painting in oil. In her exploration of landscape painting, she discovered a love of aluminum and copper as a substrate. The smooth surface highlights brushstrokes and texture, while adding an ethereal quality to her work. The depth and light of the reflective surfaces add extra dimension to her landscapes, as evidenced in her painting Spring Valley which depicts a lush green valley with amethyst clouds.


Pictured: Marsh Shasha, CA, Lost Horizon, oil, 26 x 38”

Mark Shasha is an award-winning contemporary realist whose work has appeared in numerous museums, galleries and publications. While he is best known for his coastal paintings of New England, he has created several paintings around the country in a variety of genres. His oil paintings evoke passion for the alluring and mysterious scenes in nature that capture his eye, whether they be a coastline, shadow or intimate corner. He paints en plein air to capture the textures and light play of nature, which he approaches in a traditional style, blending oil painting techniques of 19th and 20th century masters. He conveys his particular fascination with the timeless and magical qualities of reflected light on water, in the atmosphere and on the unique textures found at the edge of the sea.

The artist’s commentary on Lost Horizon is the following: “To venture forward we look beyond our obstructions. It takes courage to take those first few steps but when we get to the top of the hill we can chart our course.”


Pictured: Paul M. Murray, Dawn on the Ridge, photography, 15 x 30”

Paul M. Murray is an internationally recognized color photographer. His approach to photography is to remain open, trust his instincts, and discard labels that are divisive. He uses technology to increase his creative options and productivity, but not to replace his vision.

“I am very much a visual traveler who interacts with people, places, objects and ideas on a variety of levels through several planes of vision that intersect with time and space. At those intersections, I may capture a moment and portray it with my implied perspective. The journeys to those intersections afford the opportunity to see, and perhaps become intrigued by what I am experiencing.”

In Dawn on the Ridge, trekkers are out to meet the challenge of the dunes, sun, and heat as they traverse the landscape.


Pictured: Laurinda O’Connor, CA, Winter Light, soft pastel, 24 x 24”

Laurinda O’Connor is an accomplished pastel artist and educator. She strives to let simplified strokes of color and line create a path into a scene and moment in time, pushing herself to capture the sense she feels from the landscape as well as to create the up-close excitement of color, texture, and expression on the surface of her paper. For Laurinda, landscapes are always changing and offer so many possible interpretations. Depending on the landscape and what is needed, her stroke is either very gestural or controlled. She loves how the light, shadows, and various times of day can inspire her.

In Winter Light, Laurinda uses the beautifully soft colors of pastels to create a winter scene along water’s edge.

Members Show: New Beginnings continues through April 25th, 2021 and is available to view online or in person during gallery hours at 158 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116