My journey back into creating art started with a workshop series known as the Orange Leadership Program in 2012 after attending one of the monthly presentations that was part of the learning process of becoming more aware of the needs of the Orange County, NY (my community) and how to effectively create change. The person who I met was Shawn Dell Joyce, the founder of the Wallkill River School, located in Montgomery, NY.
I had already lived in Orange County for 10 years, but like many commuters, had little to do with the daily life of my community. My work as an urban planner was demanding and hours were long. I was given an opportunity at the time to start my own consulting business, and was busy building clientele, and mainly saw the Orange County Leadership Program as a way to get deeper connections with my community, and possibly make new business connections, since it was better for my and my families well-being that I find employment closer to home, so that I could be a more active participant in my son’s life instead of ushering him through afterschool care after putting him through long days of day care for the first 5 years of his life.
I was electrified to meet Shawn, who is at the time was an influencer of the Art Scene in Orange County. After hearing about the struggle of the career artists, I arranged for an exhibit and sales opportunity at our Orange County Graduation dinner, built a program for one of my clients that included an opportunity for artists to get paid for demonstrating their work in Highland Falls, NY. We ended the arts session a month later at the library with a silent auction, where collectively a little over $4000 worth of work sold at the silent auction. I also started to attend the Sunday “Plein Air Workshops” that were hosted by Shawn Dell Joyce, including arranging for several location for her group in September of 2014.
I have to also tell you that my interest in art is not fleeting. I have a bachelors in Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma, and was worried about making income after I graduated. So, after I graduated, I concentrated on my second love, historic preservation and urban planning and entered a productive career that still provides me with great projects, interesting clients, etc.
But skills in drawing and painting fade over time, so I went to the Wallkill River School to kind of get reacquainted with my inner artist. It took some time, and a number of advise from different artists, but I get better every year. Art require practice, similar to music or any other creative skill. When I got started again the motor needed a little “kickstart.” I started with Pastels, since I do love to draw, but I don’t like some of the aspects of this type of medium, specifically rubbing my hands in the medium on the gritted boards. I like black and white drawing, pencil drawing, etc.; but what I really love to do is paint.
As my first blog on this website, I wanted to credit these wonderful teachers for helping me along the way. Click on their names to go to their websites.
Shawn Dell Joyce: She was generous to me and my son, and I still have fond memories of her at the Plein Air events and at classes that I took from her at the WRS. She’s now in Florida, so if you live near her, she gives lessons and leads other fellow Floridians in workshops. You can find her information on the hotlink to her website.
Gene Bove: He’s a co-founder of the non-profit that became the Wallkill River School. I took a class from him in 2014 so that I could see if there were changes in the way that oil painting was done. I saw him an his lovely wife, Marylyn just after Christmas last year in San Antonio, TX where they now live. We did a little plein air painting together. He paints and displays in local galleries near the Riverwalk.
Rebecca Leer: She’s my current instructor where I take lessons at the Ridgewood Art Institute. She’s given me great advise that has helped me to advance my oil painting techniques and finished product. She’s been teaching me to think of Plein Air Painting as sketches that can also lead to a more fully developed work in the studio, and create more effectively planned work in the field if I want to stop there. I’ve created several great still lives under her guidance in the classroom, and have sold some of my own work, and have become more confident with my skills.
I’ve also learned from my friends, which include Marylyn Vanderpool, Naomi Genen, Mitchell Saler, Mary Mugele Sealfon, Sal Russo, Catherine DeCesare, and have taken workshops with other artists online that enrich my personal style and perspective.
When I first started MAS (with the help of my friends) it was to be able to take part in the building of their careers and to help them sell work as I developed a voice with my own art, and practiced my skill. It has always been my intention to be able to sell my artwork, even if it is part time for right now. I’ve taken a few steps to achieving that goal, and look forward to having the company of my fellow artists along the way.
I think that I will use this website to chronical some of the lessons and techniques that I think are successful in my own art, and in the arts of others. I hope that you enjoy reading.
Owner/Director of Monroe Arts Society, LLC.
My latest Painting, Yellow Chrysanthemums, 11 by 14, oil on Canvas.