Cotuit Center for the Arts presents three exhibits March 24 through April 21: paintings by Donald Beal, encaustics by Stephanie Roberts-Camello, and “African Art through Different Eyes.” There will be a talk with the artists at 5 PM on Saturday, March 24, followed by a reception until 7 PM. Donald Beal, of Provincetown, paints largely from imagination. “Most of my paintings,” he said, “are inventions, in that they were not done from observation or studies, or according to some plan. The process is an improvisational one. Each mark suggests another, and then another, on and on until I have wiped, scraped, and re-painted my way to the dogs, trees, brooks, figures, and flowers that populate these paintings. “I’m done when the pictures have found a freestanding meaning or poetry that I am unable to improve,” Beal said. “My hope is to make paintings that give voice to experiences that are outside the literal descriptions of words and ideas.” In a recent interview, Beal said that he has painted the woods in Provincetown over and over again for 20 years. “I go there because it’s unknowable; another way to put it is that it’s hard to find a pat response to the chaos of the trees, branches, shafts of light, and pitching hills and valleys.” He also paints the ocean, harbor and inlets. “The challenge here,” he said, “is to see past the clichés and find your own way.” Stephanie Roberts-Camello, who earned her BFA at Rhode Island School of Design embraces both painting and sculpture in her new exhibit, “Surface Tension.” She builds up layers of encaustic wax, using beeswax from the apiary she and her husband run, placing old family letters or text under the wax. The texts reference “past or inner doubts we all carry around,” she said. “Obstacles are a part of everyone’s life,” she said. “They have a tendency to become so huge and overbearing that they transform into phobias, only to be avoided. This work is about overcoming personal obstacles.” The layers of wax in Roberts-Camello’s work cover up the past. “Released, removed, manipulated, flipped over, refused, all of these actions give me a sense of freedom, and the ability to step outside myself,” she said. “There is risk involved, but the [work] conveys a sense of resilience and life which keeps me returning.” “African Art through Different Eyes” explores how artists, both African and non-African, present their reality of Africa in two dimensions. Painting, print making, and photography are relatively new mediums for African artists, and exhibitions of these forms are rare outside the African continent; thus, the stories by Africans about Africa are not seen. On the other hand, European and American artists have “written” their own stories about Africa. These stories–in movies, news, books, as well as in two-dimensional art–have influenced our view of Africa. This exhibit juxtaposes these realities. The art in this exhibit is from the collection of Joanna and John McWilliam of Falmouth. They began collecting African art in the 1960s and have exhibited their three-dimensional art (masks, sculptures, and terracotta) at the Falmouth Art Center and the Zion Union Heritage Museum. This is the first time that their collection of paintings, prints, and photographs has been exhibited. Joanna and John have spent much of their adult lives in Africa. Joanna is an African historian, and John, a demographer working in public health. There is no charge for admission. The gallery is open 10 AM to 4 PM Monday through Saturday and during evening events at the Center. For more information, visit artsonthecape.org, or call 508-428-0669. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit.