By Irene Ruddock
Shain Bard is an oil painter who has been in numerous gallery exhibitions, one woman shows, and has her work in many private and corporate collections. She is the recipient of many awards in juried exhibitions for her paintings, which have been described as “luminous, poetic, and powerful.” Her education includes a Master’s of Fine Arts from Lehman College. Bard currently teaches painting and drawing at the Art League of Long Island.
I was recently invited to the artist’s Huntington studio where she shared her philosophy of life and her art.
What does art mean to you?
To me, art is really whatever is created out of following your passion in life, and which expresses your deepest feelings in a truthful, exciting and unique way. In a sense, we become our art. I also see the word “artist” as a verb … simply someone who is creating art in the moment.
I see that you are known for your paintings of birches. Why do they have a special appeal to you?
I think all artists gravitate toward particular things in the world which they feel a special connection to. For example, Van Gogh painted sunflowers, Cezanne apples, Monet water lilies. For me, one of my recurring “leitmotifs” seems to be for birches. I fell in love with birches when I was a child at camp, and didn’t like it when we had a project of making canoes out of birch bark. I wanted the birches to be left alone and not be cut up, LOL!
I just love the soft white skin/bark, and the black markings on the trees speak a certain “language” to me. I found them fascinating. I didn’t start painting birches, though, until I moved to Long Island and took a picture of a birch tree and was so happy painting that bark and its markings, that it was almost magical to me.
What is most important to you in creating your art?
I think what’s most important to me is simply seeking a truthful moment in nature, when all the elements work together to form a moment of clarity and beauty, like all the instruments in an orchestra playing together to make a beautiful piece of music.
Can you explain your fascination with the play of light often seen in your work?
As I create my compositions, I view light as the conductor and I am a conduit of that light as exemplified by my painting “Light Spilling Down the Street.” This painting won the Award of Excellence in the juried show at the Art League of Long Island titled It’s All About the Light. I feel that light takes me on a beautiful journey which we artists are so lucky to be traveling on.
How do you share your art?
Well, I love teaching and interacting with my students. Last year, I had an art fundraiser for Hurricane Harvey victims who were left with nothing, and, along with a few artist friends, raised a good amount of money, all of which went directly to Houston. I also donated several paintings for another fundraiser for Puerto Rico. I was never so happy for all those painting sales in my life, knowing that not only was it an honor to have people want to own my paintings, but that the money went to people who needed it more than me. It was definitely a win-win situation and felt so good.
Where is your work shown?
Right now, I am represented by Gallery 67, 67 Main Street, Northport. My latest exhibit is at the Roslyn Village Gallery, 1374 Old Northern Blvd, Roslyn, which will continue until Oct. 20. I have also been invited to the Setauket Artist Exhibition at the Setauket Neighborhood House from Oct. 28 to Nov. 19. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dialogue with Birches
My trees and I
we’re on the same page
in art history book
of accidental couplings
you’ve taught me so much
in whispers of your secrets
because you know that I’m all ears
to your magical markings
that tell me of your wounds
and battle scars
your triumphs and delights
like adolescent love’s carvings
in rudimentary hearts
tattoed across your thin white skin
that like my own never grew thick
to protect from the users
liars and abusers
who would love to see you cut down
your markings speak
without bossy know-it-all words
that define and box us in
with no room left for growth
hope imagination and think they
can tell us how to see
the unspeakable gift of art
you so stunningly offer me
— Shain Bard