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Retirement lets artist pursue her passion

Published June 07. 2012 05:01PM

Artist and photographer Linda Mann of Albrightsville may be entering her most productive period now that she is retired and can focus on her drawings and photography creating and exhibiting new work, and teaching about the art she brings to her work.

On Saturday, June 9 from 2-5 p.m., Mann will host a reception to open an exhibition of her drawings and photography at MudWorks Pottery Studio & Gallery in Effort. The exhibit will run through the end of July.

Alabama-born Mann majored in art at Mississippi Women's University.

"After a year, I realized that it was very difficult to make a living as an artist, so I switched and became a clinical social worker," she said.

She went on to get a doctorate in social work.

Her career didn't allow her the time she needed to create the detailed drawings that she loved. She turned to photography, hoping to bring her sense of composition to this faster, more technological medium.

"I wanted to take good photographs," Mann noted. "I was never happy with my photographs. Thirteen years ago, my one and only grandchild was born. I took some pictures of her they were just plain mediocre."

Mann began taking photography classes at Montgomery College, where for the first time she learned how to operate a camera, and in those early days, she learned how to develop film in a dark room.

"Photography very quickly became my favorite medium," she said. "I learned to operate a camera and how to pay attention to the background.

"I now take better pictures of my granddaughter, even though my training wasn't specifically on how to do portraits," she adds.

Since retiring, Mann has had the time she needed to revisit drawing.

"I like drawing a lot. It's much slower, but that's okay. I have to think more about what I'm going to do, how I'm going to plan it, and, if I'm going to make a series, which ones. If I want to spend three weeks making a drawing, that's okay."

Mann's exhibition features 18 framed pieces: five drawings and 13 photographs. Four of the drawings are of historic buildings, three of which are from a series of historic buildings in Jim Thorpe.

Her drawings rich with fine detail and attention to shadows are drawn in pencil on 11-inch by 14-inch textured paper. They are matted and framed to 16 inches by 20 inches and are archival quality, using non-glare glass.

All pieces in the exhibition were created within the last three years.

Two photographs in particular, show Mann's love for the American landscape. "Mittens East and West" captures the sensuous colors of Monument Valley.

"Canyon Sunrise" uses black and white photography to illustrate the depth of the scenery in Big Bend National Park in Texas, as the Rio Grande meanders between the mountain formations.

Several of Mann's photographs have a watercolor style.

"You can change a photograph by working with the camera controls, or sometimes you can change it after it's done to give it a softer look," she said.

"That gives it more of the painterly look. I print those on the special ink jet printer using the photographic paper that simulates the texture of watercolor paper."

MudWorks Pottery Studio & Gallery is located at 3278 Route 115 in Effort. Owned by JoAnn Stratakos, it is a gallery of American-made art by local artists mostly pottery, with exhibits by two-dimensional artists.

For more information call (570) 872-9683, or visit

Mann will also give a presentation on drawing to the Carbon County Art League on Wednesday, June 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the Penn Kidder Senior Center, 1874 State Route 903 in Jim Thorpe. The talk is free and open to the public.

For more information call (570) 325-4980.

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