‘In my paintings, I attempt capture a strong sense of place and a distinct light source in hopes of creating an atmosphere that goes beyond the physical and into the emotional realm.’
— Celeste Mauro
By Irene Ruddock
Celeste Mauro, a Northport resident, has earned art degrees from Adelphi University and Parson’s School of Design. She has been an avid watercolorist for over 30 years, but that didn’t stop her from experimenting with collage and mixed media that have enhanced her work. Mauro was a member of The Firefly Artists Gallery in Northport. Two years ago, she and fellow local artist, Demerise Perricone, launched a new art gallery in Northport: Gallery Sixty Seven. I was able to catch up with this busy lady recently to talk about her art and her new adventure!
What motivates you to start the creative process?
The patterns and motifs found in nature inspire me to create an image that evokes intuitive feelings or sentiments rather than a realistic painting.
You have been known for your work in watercolor. What is it about watercolor that attracts you?
The transparent quality of watercolor allows the work to have an inner glow, almost as though lit from behind. I enjoy working with acrylic paint and mediums that offer translucency. Plus they are the best adhesive for collage.
Can you explain what collage is and how it enhances your work in watercolor and acrylic?
The word “collage” is derived from the French verb “coller” that means to glue. As a watercolorist, texture had to be “implied” through the use of various techniques. Working with acrylic paint, I can create actual texture by affixing unusual papers or materials to the canvas or by working with various textural acrylic mediums and sometimes “found-object” printing.
I alternate media and layer paint or printing over collage … then collage over that. The free-form shapes of torn paper add a sense of abstraction; the brushwork adds detail and the printing adds an element of surprise.
I see on your website, www.celestemauro.com, that you have a category called Back Stories. Can you explain what that is?
Many people are curious as to how artwork is created. This section provides the step-by-step process, shown with photos, which takes the mystery out of the process.
What did you learn from being a member of The Firefly Artists Gallery that has helped you in setting up Gallery Sixty Seven?
That experience has proved to be invaluable! Any artist who steps outside the comfort zone of their studio and into the retail business of selling art has much to learn! Establishing a professional identity, framing, pricing, marketing, salesmanship, doing commissions, creating reproductions, understanding “sale-ability” and handling finances are some of the skills needed.
Can you tell us about your new adventure?
Gallery Sixty Seven, located at 67 Main St. in Northport, is a gallery as well as studio space, which makes it unique. Now as the owner and a Northport resident, I especially love that people from the community feel free to drop by to observe art being created or to browse the works in the gallery. Gallery Sixty Seven has a strong “Northport” feel to it! As local artists, we are inspired by the natural beauty of local sites and our clients appreciate that.
How did you choose the artists for your new gallery?
As a small gallery, we can represent but a handful of artists. All of the artists in the gallery have a distinctive style that sets them apart and yet their different styles play beautifully off one another. As lifelong artists, they each have a body of work that exemplifies their unique personal perspective. I also look for professionalism and a cooperative spirit in each artist.
Do you offer workshops?
Yes! The gallery is looking to expand its offering of workshops since they were so successful last year. The instructors are the gallery artists who are experienced art teachers; our limited studio space allows for lots of personal attention … a winning combination. Our website, www.gallerysixtyseven.com, will provide information about our artists workshops, etc.
What exhibits are coming up?
Currently, we are showcasing large-format paintings in our BIG Show, which runs through the end of April. One special feature of this show is that there are “thumbnail” photos of all the paintings hanging in residential settings. This helps people to visualize how the work might look in their home! Everyone is welcome to visit Gallery Sixty Seven anytime!