Summer derecho inspires storm of creativity for Kensington artist -- Gazette.Net







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On June 29, printmaker and painter Yolanda Frederikse had finished 11 prints for her solo show. Ten of them were framed, leaning against the wall of a studio at her home in Kensington.

Then, a violent summer derecho swept through the region.

“As I finished them, I would mat them, frame them — and boom! They got smashed and useless,” Frederikse said.

The storm brought tree limbs crashing through the roof of Frederikse’s studio, where her dog was sleeping in his crate, and blew in the windows.

“I ran down to rescue the little guy, and I couldn’t get in the room,” she said.

A blanket over the dog’s crate saved him from the spray of broken glass, but Frederikse’s artwork was not as lucky. The storm caused water damage to several of the works she already had finished and framed for her show.

“That’s a lot of work. It kind of broke my heart a little bit,” she said.

As Frederikse started the slow process of rebuilding her studio and her home, she kept working on her art. Over the summer, while workmen rebuilt walls and ceilings, put in insulation and replaced windows, Frederikse rebuilt her art collection, alternating between her basement and a studio at Montgomery College.

The shake-up to Frederikse’s routine prompted her to take her work in a different direction. Before the storm, she had been planning for the pieces in her show to be mostly linocuts printed in black ink.

“It was just so devastating that I just couldn’t keep on doing what I was doing,” she said.

A few pieces in her show depict damage from the derecho, although many are serene, undamaged nature scenes of the C&O Canal, Brookside Gardens and the Potomac River all her favorite places in the area.

In a departure from her earlier plan, Frederikse experimented with putting more color in her prints.

“I had been doing monotypes with watercolor, and I suddenly started playing around with putting the etching ink on the monotypes, which gives it kind of a more brilliant look,” she said. “... It just occurred to me.

“If you don’t mind, I would call it a brainstorm.”

Somehow, Frederikse said, the workmen got her house put back together, although she is still waiting for her insurance claim to go through. She completed more than 30 prints and watercolors for her solo show, titled “Before and After the Derecho,” which includes a few pieces of storm-damaged artwork.

Through the repairs process, Frederikse said a “survivor instinct” kept her working on her art.

“I just worked through it,” she said. “... That’s kind of what held me together.”

“Before and After the Derecho” is on display through Nov. 25, and admission is free. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The gallery is at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 2nd Floor, 8230 Georgia Ave. Learn more at or by calling 301-273-3660.