Brooklyn Water Lilies by Virginia Cramer
Brooklyn Water Lilies by Virginia Cramer

With their strong lines, vivid colors and powerful subjects, Virginia Cramer's abstract paintings and collages remind viewers of works by Picasso.

But, unlike the eccentric master, Cramer's primary career is as a teacher -- specifically math and science in the Chelmsford public schools.

The art, however, is crucial to her identity. And, while not an art major, she has studied it extensively since childhood at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, de Cordova Museum School, UMass Lowell, Worcester Art Museum, School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Mass College of Art and Danforth Museum School.

Her work is on view at Chelmsford Library, 25 Boston Road, through November in the exhibition Gardens, Bones and Abstractions.

Cramer's philosophy is simple -- that art should not require elaborate explanations to be understood or appreciated and that it should speak for itself.

Cramer, who has a studio at Lowell's Western Avenue Studios, will be at the library for a reception on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 2-4 p.m.

For info, visit chelmsfordlibrary.org/programs/exhibits/virginia_cramer.html or her website virginiacramer.com.

Art picks

  • GARDNER HEIST: On Wednesday, Nov. 6, Steve Kurkjian, a longtime Boston Globe investigative reporter and editor, visits the Whistler House Museum of Art, 243 Worthen St., Lowell, at 7 p.m. to talk about the world-famous -- and still unsolved -- art heist in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where two thieves, disguised as cops, stole 13 pieces of artwork, valued at $500 million. Kurkjian has written about the heist and will share the latest news about the investigation as part of the Parker Lecture Series. Free. 978-454-7979 or parkerlectures.com for info... On Friday, Nov. 8, at 10 a.m. at the Chelmsford Library, Anthony Amore, director of security at the Gardner Museum will talk about The World of International Art Crime. Since 2005, he has led the efforts to track down the missing artwork.
  • AT ZEITGEIST: Found Art & More, is on view at Zeitgeist Gallery, Market St., Lowell, Nov. 6-30. Featured artists include Karen Bettencourt, Karen Boutet, Aria Boutet, Penny Cox, Marc Ducharme, John Engstrom, Mark Fisher, Charles Gallagher, Tom Hart, Madeleine Lord, Markus Nechay, Alan Nidle, A Non, Karen Provost, Smitty, Mick Spence and Billy Strong. Opening reception is Saturday, Nov. 9, 6-9 p.m.
  • GALLERY NEWS: Jeanne Fallier, a longtime fiber artist and Westford resident, shares her favorite tapestries through November at the Parish Center for the Arts, 10 Lincoln St., Westford. The gallery is open Sundays, noon-2 p.m.
  • 'SEASONS' AT LTC: The changing seasons energize Lowell artist Barbara Nolan - and she shares her inspiration in her show of oil paintings, Inspired by the Seasons, at the Lowell Telecommunications Corporation Gallery, 246 Market St., Lowell. The show, on view now through Dec. 20, opens with a reception at the LTC Gallery on Thursday, Nov. 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m. For hours and other LTC news, check out ltc.org. Don't miss the Vintage Video that LTC staff is compiling which features news clips from the 1980s - a flash back in time.
  • CHRISTMAS IS COMING: This weekend's Boston Christmas Festival Nov. 8-10 at the Seaport World Trade Center will feature more than 350 artisans including Lowell residents, Eleanor Landry of Designs by Sue, who creates cozy kids fleece coats and blankets, and contemporary artist Tracy Levesque of T Levesque Fine Art. Tickets are $12 for adults and free for children under 14. For information, call 617-385-5000 or visit BostonChristmasFestival.com.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.