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  • Writer's picturelphinney

A Life full of Sparkle and Glitter

“Keep on moving in life. Rain or shine, good times or bad times; just keep on moving and live every day to the absolute fullest that you can. ”

-Toby Lynne Schwartz

Toby Lynne sure lives her life to the absolute fullest with her tambourine in one hand and a paint brush or some other type of artistic material in the other. She is always leaving a little bit of sparkle and glitter wherever she goes.

Growing up with very supportive parents who encouraged her to achieve her dreams, meant that the prospect of being an artist could be a reality for Toby. She started drawing at the age of 4 and would draw on anything that she could get her hands on, including test papers in school. Needless to say her teachers were not happy that their tests were doodled on with crayons and pencils but a young Toby couldn’t have been happier! Art just came so easily for Toby, she would sit for hours and draw horses from the Westerns that she used to watch on TV.

During her interview, I could just picture Toby as a young girl, the many colors of the crayons and pencils she used splayed out on the rug all around her, papers everywhere filled with colors and horses, maybe sometimes a cat or two, and old Westerns playing in the background. It reminded me of when Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz transitions from black and white to vibrant color and life! Toby was living in full technicolor and still is today almost 65+ years later!

Having moved beyond the simple crayons and pencils of her past and graduating to acrylic paints (a favorite medium of hers), flea market finds and even chicken eggs, Toby’s artwork today seems to come alive with wonder, awe, inspiration and of course color. Although there are no hidden messages in her artwork, every piece has something different behind it and something that viewers of all artistic backgrounds can enjoy and appreciate. Like her idol, Andy Warhol, some pieces even get the viewers to become a literal part/ piece of her artwork. He loved to work with lots of colors and had a lot of cats as well!

Her 2019 art show winner called, Fish and Chips, is an interactive art piece where a cat and a fishbowl are painted on a mirror and the viewer has to look into the mirror to become a part of the painting. I think to me, this is my favorite part about this particular piece; everyone that looks at it will see something different. Life is all about accepting the differences, accepting the flaws, and accepting the past. Demi Lovato said it best, “Instead of looking in the mirror focusing on your flaws, look in the mirror and appreciate your best features…everyone has them.”

With close to 50 art shows under her belt, you would think she would be exhausted and need a break from painting and creating. At this Toby laughed a little bit, as she stated she “is always creating!” “No, in all seriousness, I like my life how it is; hectic yet extremely peaceful. I am blessed to still be creating new projects and still be able to live my life the way it should be lived through kayaking at Powers farm, taking pictures, volunteering at the local cat shelter, having picnics and playing my tambourine with local bands! I get to play with my two wonderful rescue cats, Emerald- a sassy black cat and Reba, yes named after the real life Reba Mcentire. (Most of my art that I do, incorporates my cats into them somehow! ) Everyday, Monday through Friday, I still wake up and attend my duties as a crossing guard for the Town of Randolph, to which I have lived in since 1955.” She took a minute to smile and say that that almost made her a townie! At this I had to smile too as it was just Toby bringing life yet again to everything she touches.

Since it was recently the RICC’s 2 year anniversary, she generously gifted us a hand painted pumpkin with the we R one logo, another hobby she took up a few years ago in the spirit of making people smile! In the wise words of Toby Lynne Schwartz, “Don’t be afraid to sparkle!”

Make sure to check out her work on the second floor of the RICC and I am sure the many more art shows she will be attending!

A pumpkin she hand painted for an RICC staff member's child.

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