May 3, 2023

“The Darkest Hour” Exhibit at Lambertville Free Library

“REFLECTION ON MIRROR LAKE”: Paintings by Hopewell-based artist Nicky Belletier are featured in “The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn,” on view through May 27 the Lambertville Free Public Library.

The Lambertville Free Public Library, 6 Lilly Street, Lambertville, now features landscape paintings by Hopewell-based artist Nicky Belletier in “The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn.” The exhibition is on view through May 27.

For Belletier, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was a time of uncertainty and fear, but also presented time to devote to artistic expression. With even local parks closed, she revisited photos and memories of past travels to beautiful places as far flung as Rio de Janeiro and as close as the county park down the street. Remembering the sense of peace she felt in the presence of the natural beauty of those places was a comfort, and there was a wealth of inspiration to draw on for paintings that felt long overdue to be created.

As the pandemic and associated unrest wore on, the act of painting became less of an opportunity to relive happy memories of travel and more of a way to process the experience of living through unprecedented times. Through that “pandemic winter,” she found new inspiration in the faint light and colors that persist after the sun has set. She said that creating these paintings felt like a meditation on finding beauty through dark times. Some of those darkest hours have now passed, giving way to glimmers of light, color, and hope through continued uncertainty.

The body of work featured in “The Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn” reflects the range of emotion felt by Belletier since 2020 as filtered through painting the landscape, from the nostalgia of a sunny day on a weekend trip to the coldness of a bare tree on a February night, to the warmth and comfort of a colorful summertime sunset.

Belletier is a visual artist with a primary focus on landscape painting. Acrylic paints are her preferred medium and she particularly enjoys experimenting with metallic and iridescent materials. Her work has been featured in local exhibitions in New Jersey and Bucks County, Pa.

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