Surround Yourself With Originality

Artist, Carmen Lee Nance Gambrill, work available at Carmen’s Gallery

Artist, Parran Collery, work available at North End Gallery

Writer: Carol Harvat

Artist, Ruth Collins, work available at North End Gallery

The beautiful surroundings and numerous talented artists of Southern Maryland make decorating with original art a wonderful option. Art can evoke calm, passion, mindfulness, peace, desire and fond memories. The key to displaying original art is buying what you love and surrounding yourself with it.


One can gather the  essence of someone by their home decor. It’s an extension of oneself, so decorating with local art brings about personal flare and originality.

A self-professed lover of art, Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow has decorated her home with an array of local artists’ work with varying styles.
“We’re very easygoing here, we just want to relax,” she says. The setting feels relaxed right from the front door, which opens up to a living area filled with original artwork, with no particular theme.
Much of the art around the home was purchased directly from artists who created their pieces during past Solomons Plein Air festivals.
“It’s about a feeling I have of the art and a connection with the artist,” she says.
Each room of the Oliver-Farrow home brings on a different feel; from the naturalistic local water scenes painted by Solomons artist Rex Miller to acrylic pieces of angels, dragon flies and horses by St. Mary’s County artist Monica Richards to Carmen Lee Nance Gambrill’s mixed media collages.
Oliver-Farrow owns six Gambrill pieces, which are scattered around the home.


Artist, Joan Sutton Wooddy

Original and unique

Artist, Mimi Little, work available at CalvART Gallery

Gambrill, who owns Carmen’s Gallery in Solomons, says she usually uses oil paint and cold wax, layering and scraping the product, then excavating the piece with paint thinner.
“It’s very organic and textured,” she says. “It’s intuitive with no preconceived idea.”
Like Gambrill’s work, the décor of the Oliver-Farrow home is colorful and unique with large and small pieces that fit into each space like a puzzle created by a whimsical mind with out-of-the-box ideas.
“I am drawn by the colors Carmen uses. Her colors are vibrant with interesting texture and materials,” Oliver-Farrow explains. “I love her work. It brings me joy.” Three of Gambrill’s pieces hang in one bedroom. A large canvas titled, “Toast,” a muted burnt sienna painting with hints of orange and blue hangs over the headboard. “It’s abstract and reminds me of a sunset,” Oliver-Farrow says. In a corner over a vanity are two of Gambrill’s smaller mixed media works created during a trip to Cuba, in which Oliver-Farrow accompanied other artists.
Oliver-Farrow knew she wanted the pieces after watching Gambrill create the Cuban-inspired collages.

Artist, Carmen Lee Nance Gambrill, work available at Carmen’s Gallery


Parran Collery, work available at North End Gallery

Bringing the outdoors inside
Tom and Mary Kirby’s Calvert home, which overlooks the Chesapeake Bay, displays local art.
When the Kirbys remodeled in 2006, they needed a large piece of art for the dining room. Mary turned to calvART Gallery in Prince Frederick and found the painting by Suzanne Sheldon, “Talbott Road,” a painting of corn stalk rows in the foreground and an old barn surrounded in the background.
“I needed something big enough, that we would always enjoy looking at. It looked great,” Mary says.

Artist, Toni Wolf, work available at North End Gallery

Since then, the Kirbys have purchased three more of Sheldon’s canvases, which depict local landscapes and an old Route 4 home that was recently torn down.

Artist, Nicole Stewart, work available at North End Gallery

“I want to bring the outdoor colors inside,” Mary says, and Sheldon’s artwork does, with greens, blues, grays and yellows.Sheldon, who paints mostly landscapes in acrylics, says she “finds inspiration by driving down roads.” She is known for her series “Tour de Route 4,” and “Paintings of Jefferson Patterson Park.”
The Kirbys just added Sheldon’s “Bluebird Sentry” to their foyer. “I love the backlighting. It looks like you can walk right into the painting,” Mary says.


Southern Maryland is blessed with many talented artists, whether their work is abstract, naturalistic or somewhere in between. Bringing local, original art into your home will create a unique, personal space all your own. Check out these local galleries:
Calvert County
ArtWorks@7th, 8905 Chesapeake Ave., North Beach; 410-286-5278,
calvART Gallery, 110 Solomons Island Road, Prince Frederick;
Carmen’s Gallery, 14550 Solomons Island Road, Solomons; 410-326-2549,
Medart Gallery, 10735 Town Center Blvd., Dunkirk; 301-855-4515,
Charles County
Mattawoman Creek Art Center,
5565 Upham Place, Marbury;
St. Mary’s County
Leonardtown Arts Center,
22660 Washington St., Leonardtown; 301-475-5775,
North End Gallery,
41652 Fenwick St., Leonardtown; 301-475-3130,