Belmont resident Carol Wintlehas always considered creativity to be a fundamental component of her personality.
As a child, she wrote poems. In college, she painted. Throughout the past 30 years in her career as a psychotherapist, she has drawn heavily on the creative side of her nature, whether talking with patients, leading workshops on bullying prevention, or writing books on early childhood psychology.
But only recently has she found the artistic outlet that she describes as “a fountain of youth I stumbled on in the woods” — making collages.
“Unlike some of my other creative avenues, collaging feels very much like it’s here to stay,” Wintle said.
Her first solo show, “Port of Entry,’’ is on exhibit through Nov. 30 in a gallery at the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Habitat sanctuary in her hometown.
Over the past several years, Wintle has dabbled in various media. “I took some art classes: a figure drawing class, then a class on illustrating and writing children’s books,” she said. “But it was when I took a collage class that it felt like a match had been lit. I knew right away that this was my artistic medium. This was where I could soar.”
Wintle, whose psychotherapy practice encompasses patients of all ages, learned a collaging technique that she describes as simultaneously detailed and free-flowing.
“You use an acrylic medium that you put on a base of archival paper. Then you take the images you’ve drawn or painted and put that down to create a background. Then you use a specula to work it into the base paper so the lines dissolve,” she explained.
Wintle is also fond of finding images for her works from magazines, and keeps extensive files organized by color, theme, and size so that when she has an idea for an image to put into a collage, she can find one.
For example, one of her favorite collages in the Belmont exhibition is called “Spirit Falls.” “I always knew I wanted to do a collage that included a pond, a waterfall, and stone steps. Then I came up with the idea of putting a fawn in the scene,” she said. “So now there is an image that connotes the spirit of a fawn. That’s one of the collages that really speaks deeply to me.”
One reason collage appeals to Wintle so much is that it complements her lifelong love of storytelling.
“There’s a strong connection between collage and stories,” she said. “When I came up with the idea of a fawn in a collage, I started looking through books of Native American folk tales, because animals figure prominently as symbols in Native American cultures. Not only did I find a story that included a fawn as a symbol, but it turned out to be a magical experience because that story had a message that I really needed to hear right at that time of my life, to help me with a challenge I was facing.”
Another of her favorite pieces in the exhibition is “Mi Shan’s Garden.” Unlike “Spirit Falls,” which took an unusually long time to make, she said, “Mi Shan’s Garden” happened quickly.
“I found a Tibetan folk tale called ‘My Father’s Garden,’ in which there is a quiet daughter who never speaks. Then at some point she does speak, and what she says has a transformative effect on her community. I imagine her as someone who would have a very subtle garden, deep, with lots of greens. The collage reflects what I picture as her garden.”
As Mass Audubon members, Wintle and her husband, Larry Blumsack, signed up four years ago to use one of the galleries at the organization’s Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary on Juniper Road in Belmont.
“We planned back then to do an exhibit together,” Wintle said. “But when the time came to divide the space between our work, I found it so difficult to limit myself that we decided we would each do a solo show instead. He’ll exhibit his photography in April.”
Wintle is donating 25 percent of any sales of her “Port of Entry” works to the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about the artist, go to www.collagebywintle.com.
SEASONAL GREETING: ShirleyArts! kicks off the holiday season early with its production of “Bah Humbug!” this weekend.
A cast and crew of 40 local children and adults will perform the musical retelling of Dickens’ holiday classic Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Ayer-Shirley Middle School, 1 Hospital Road, Shirley.
The general admission tickets are $8 if bought in advance from a cast member or at Hazen Memorial Library, and $10 at the door.
For more information, call 978-496-6427 or visit www.shirleyarts.org.
NEW DANCE: On Saturday at 3:30 p.m., the Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College will present a new work, “Way In,” commissioned by the Danspace Project in New York City and performed by dancers/choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener.
The free show will take place in the Tishman Commons, a nontraditional performance space in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center at the college, 106 Central St. in Wellesley.
For more information, call 781-283-2698 or go to www.newhouse-center.org.
GIANT MUSIC BOX: The Container Man Musical Expo takes place Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at Contemporary Arts International, 68 Quarry Road in Acton.
“Container Man” is the name of a gigantic sculpture made of mechanical musical instruments installed in a 40-foot shipping container at the sprawling exhibition space, and the expo will feature original compositions by more than 20 musicians who will be using the sculpture for their performances.
Daily tickets are $15 online, or $20 at the gate. For details on the schedule of performances and advance tickets, visit www.quarryfestivals.org.
EVOKING ERAS: The Metropolitan Wind Symphony with soloist James Ackley begins its 42d season with a fall concert Sunday at 3 p.m. in Cary Hall, 1605 Massachusetts Ave. in Lexington.
The program is designed to evoke a range of historical eras, with pieces that represent the Wild West, the Gothic literary tradition, an ancient Latin text, and a children’s march. Admission is $18 adults; $14 seniors; $6 students; free for children under 5. For more information, go to www.mws-boston.org.
RECITAL AND EVENSONG: Trinity Episcopal Church at 81 Elm St. in Concord presents a prelude recital and choral evensong on Sunday at 5 p.m.
Trumpeter Greg Gettel and organist Robert Barney will perform works by William Boyce, Matini, Viviani, Marten Lauridsen, Leroy Anderson, and others.
Following the recital, the Parish Choir will sing response and psalm settings by English composers George Dyson, Philip Radcliff, and Charles Villiers Stanford.
For more about the free event, call 978-369-3715 or go towww.trinityconcord.org .
MEET AUTHOR LAMOTT: Popular essayist and novelist Anne Lamott will speak at First Parish in Bedford, 75 Great Road, next Thursday at 7 p.m. as a benefit for First Parish and for Amirah House, a North Shore shelter that helps women survivors of human trafficking.
Send ideas to nancyswest@ gmail.com.