Tags Posts tagged with "Irene Ruddock"

Irene Ruddock

I am a realist painter with a focus on light, shadow, composition and abstract design. I try to simplify detail to create a more impressionistic feeling to my realism. – Peter Hahn

By Irene Ruddock

Peter Hahn

Peter Hahn has painted in watercolor for over 35 years. Known for his bold style with clean, luminous works that exhibit his mastery of the medium, the artist has shown his painting in exhibits in New York City, Long Island and Connecticut, winning awards in almost every show he ever enters. Locally, the Port Jefferson resident shows with the Setauket Artists, Gallery North, Deepwells Mansion, the Art League of Long Island and Guild Hall.

How did you get interested in  painting?

At age 5, I was drawing Disney characters and learned drawing from John Gnagy’s “Learn to Draw” kit. Years later, when I was in high school with the late Joe Reboli (Reboli Center for Art and History), I found out that we both started with that same Gnagy drawing kit. I worked in linocuts and woodcuts for many years, but after a visit to Joe’s studio where I watched him paint, Joe encouraged me to stop woodcuts and to start working in watercolor.

Why do you prefer to work with watercolor?

I like the transparency and glow of watercolor on handmade paper. On location, called en plein air, it is quick to set up, not messy at all. All you need is water! I enjoy painting in oil and acrylics too, but I basically consider myself a watercolor painter.

You are known in Port Jefferson for years of volunteer work providing the art for the high school prom. Tell us about that.

Yes, when my daughter was a senior, my ex-wife volunteered me at a prom meeting to become the head of design and construction! Designing the prom was such an exhilarating challenge. I loved the camaraderie that all the volunteers developed using acrylic house paint to cover 10,000 square feet of cardboard and plywood.

What was your favorite prom theme?

My favorite theme was Manhattan Magic. I walked all over the city to get my inspiration. We painted a 36-foot by 96-foot piece of plywood for the whole skyline of Manhattan! I designed, and the construction team built, a replica of the 59th Street Bridge for the students to walk over to enter the prom. The lobby was Central Park, the gym was the theater district and the food court was Sardi’s and Tavern on the Green. Every year we came up with a new theme!

I learned that you are contributing a painting to Mather Hospital’s new wing. Tell us about that.

Because the theme for the new wing is Wonders of Nature, I intend to paint a Niagara Falls view with acrylic on plywood. I am in awe of the majesty of the falls, so I hope this “natural wonder” will create a healing effect for cancer patients.

I know that you follow many artists of the past, often traveling to visit their homes or museums that display their work. Who are the artist you most admire?

My role models are Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth. I learned watercolor techniques such as color lifting, dry and wet brush and mixing colors from Homer. I was thrilled to see Homer’s paintings in person at the 150th anniversary exhibit of his birth at Yale. From Sargent, I learned his technique of painting with one stroke to create something so the painting is not overworked. Hopper inspired me to have an abstract design to my realism. Finally, I was fascinated by Wyeth’s egg tempura techniques and studied one of my favorite paintings “The Night Sleeper.” Here the incredible light came only from the moon. All these and other artists inspire me to stay loose and impressionistic.

You paint many commissions. How difficult is it for you to interpret and then create what the person envisions?

By getting to know them and talking to them I get to understand their desires. Often my clients give me a series of photographs and I make detailed sketches before I begin.

Can you give us an example of commissions that you painted that met yours and the person’s goals?

Yes, one was a triptych on 300-pound, full-sized watercolor paper depicting a panoramic view of Port Jefferson. Another is a view of Mount Misery Point in Port Jefferson.

I understand you recently retired. How do you intend to spend your time?

I hope to paint as much as possible and perhaps to teach a few classes.

What is the best advice you can give a student about the art of watercolor?

I would say study all the books you can get on watercolor technique and watch videos by artists such as Tom Lynch. Go to museums to become inspired! Keep doing quick sketches en plein  air. If interested in my work or my future classes, you may reach me at peterenpleinair@aol.com or call or text me at 631-433-3721. 

'Harbor Reflections' by Angela Stratton

Reboli Center for Art and History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook will host a summer exhibit by the Setauket Artists from July 23 to Aug. 4. 

‘Stony Brook Village’ by Joan Bloom

The show, curated by Irene Ruddock, will feature over thirty paintings with many of the paintings reflecting the beauty of Long Island.

Participating artists include Lana Ballot, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Eleanor Berger, Joan Bloom, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Jeanette Dick, Marge Governale, Peter Hahn, Anne Katz, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Michael R. Kutzing, Jane McGraw Teubner, Terence McManus, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Laura Westlake, Marlene Weinstein and Patricia Yantz.

‘Last Goodbye’ by Lana Ballot

 The Reboli Center is pleased to welcome the group to our wonderful building,” said Lois Reboli, President of the Reboli Center.

Don’t miss the Reboli Center’s summertime display of paintings that adhere to the Setauket Artists motto, “Art for a Lifetime.”  Join the artists for a reception July 25 from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Reboli Center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.  1For additional information call 631-751-7707 or visit www.ReboliCenter.org. To learn more about the Setauket Artists visit www.setauketartists.com or call 631-365-1312.

By Irene Ruddock 

Jessica Randall

Jessica Randall fabricates, casts, designs and forges unique contemporary jewelry. A graduate of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she has shown her jewelry in the Portland Museum in Oregon, the Holter Museum of Art in Montana as well as galleries such as the Young and Constanin Gallery in Vermont, Stones Throw Gallery in Massachusetts and the Carlyn Gallery in Texas. I recently visited Randall at her studio in East Setauket where this metalsmith of over 20 years hand makes every piece of original jewelry.

How did you get started in jewelry making? 

I initially enrolled in art school as a fashion design major. On a lark, I took a jewelry class at MassArt and fell in love! I have been making jewelry ever since.   

What is your inspiration for the creative process? 

The impulse to collect is at the heart of my creative process. I collect all kinds of natural debris like: found animal bones, skulls, beach stones, pine cones, crab claws and shells; found turtle shells, semiprecious stones, sea shells and beads. These found objects are then catalysts for designs. I will either use a material directly or use just a shape, line or texture from something I’ve found in nature.  

What else influences your art? 

As a little girl, I loved to visit the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my family. I was fascinated with medieval weaponry, taxidermy, ancient Egyptian art and Pacific adornment. As a young woman, I had the opportunity to travel through Europe and North Africa, experiencing the art from these cultures firsthand. Later in life, I lived in Texas with my husband and three sons, which instilled a love of Native American and Mexican silver jewelry. Midcentury design and Scandinavian modern design have also influenced my jewelry. 

What tools and equipment do you use?

 I own lots of tools I have collected over the years, each with a specific purpose. I also modify tools. For example, I grind down the jaws of steel pliers, then polish them to create a smooth surface that won’t mar metal. I use various shaped hammers for forging and chasing, various shaped pliers for bending and shaping and digital calipers for measuring. I use a mini drill press, a flex shaft with assorted attachments, a tumbler, polishing motor and an ultrasonic cleaner as well.

What materials do you work with? 

I like to work with both traditional sterling and argentium silver because they are relatively soft and easy to forge, yet strong enough to cut easily with a jeweler’s saw. Argentium silver is brighter and whiter than traditional sterling silver and tarnishes at a rate 70 times slower than traditional sterling silver. It is virtually tarnish-free!   

What else can you tell me about the process?  

I hand make or “fabricate” most jewelry in my studio. “Fabricating” includes forging, soldering, stone setting, tumbling and polishing. I also work with a casting and plating company. The caster uses an ancient process known as “lost wax casting” to reproduce silver multiples, which I finish and then use in designs. The plater submerges silver jewelry in a bath that chemically coats the pieces in 24-karat yellow or rose gold to produce “vermeil.” Vermeil jewelry has a thick, durable 24-karat gold finish over sterling silver, at a fraction of the price of solid gold jewelry.    

Is there a material that you wish to experiment with in the future? 

24-karat gold! 24-karat gold is 100 percent pure gold, as you probably know, not alloyed with any other metals like 10k, 14k or 18k gold. Goldsmiths love working with it because it is “like butter” … so soft and malleable. I would also like to experiment with a small-scale 3-D printer to produce resin models that could be cast. I would like to figure out how to utilize 3-D printing technology in my work, if that’s viable.  

Is there a period of jewelry making that you most admire? 

My favorite period is the 1950s and ’60s. I love the American studio jewelry movement and also modernist Mexican and Scandinavian jewelry from this time period. At midcentury, American universities across the country began offering serious metalsmithing programs. Because these skills were taught in a conceptual, university setting, jewelry began to be seen as contemporary art or miniature sculpture, not just wearable craft.  

How do you decide on an individual design?

 I make multiple versions of designs, sometimes three, five, even 10 variations of the same piece. After experimenting, I choose the one I like best and then scale back details until the design is distilled to a simple, clean piece. I also take commissions and make one-of-a- kind commissions at a client’s request.    

Are there jewelry makers whom you admire in the past or present? 

Some of my “art heroes” include Alexander Calder, Georgia O’Keefe, Andy Goldsworthy, Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hube, Betty Cooke, Art Smith, Coco Chanel and Jill Platner. There are too many to list and I discover new influences every day.

What was your favorite piece that you designed? 

A favorite piece in recent memory is currently on view at Studio 268 in Setauket. It’s a large sterling silver and moss agate flower mounted on black canvas, displayed in a shadow box. I made it to illustrate the idea that jewelry is not just a functional, wearable medium; jewelry can also be viewed as “art” displayed and hung on a wall.

Did you ever have a piece that you couldn’t bear to sell? 

Yes, I made a pendant from sterling silver, horsehair and a cast plastic fishing lure that I found on the beach for our senior thesis show at MassArt. The finished pendant resembled a tiny, abstract broom, almost like a miniature African totem. I loved how it came out and wanted to use it as an inspiration for future work, so I put it in the exhibit with “Not for sale” on it.  

Where can we see your jewelry? 

My work was recently included in the Setauket Artists Spring Show at Deepwells Mansion. It is currently part of the Small Works Show in Studio 268 where my jewelry will continue to be shown through June on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Look for me in September at Gallery North’s Outdoor Art Show and Music Festival on Sept. 7 and 8. 

I can be reached at 214-906-4425 or jessrandall@sbcglobal.net.   

By Melissa Arnold

Art exhibits draw crowds for a host of reasons, often as varied as the people who attend them. For some, it’s the work of a particular artist they enjoy, while for others it may be an intriguing theme or interesting medium.

This month, the Setauket Artists have put together a collection that not only shows off local talent, but does so in a space that is attractive all on its own — the Deepwells Mansion in St. James.

The Setauket Artists hold an annual fall exhibit at the Setauket Neighborhood House, an event that’s become an important part of the area’s culture. “As the exhibit and the number of visitors grew over the years, we found the need to extend our viewing time. We were delighted when the opportunity came along to have an additional show,” said Irene Ruddock, president of the Setauket Artists in a recent interview.

“There will be close to 100 works of art on display including oil, watercolor and pastel paintings, as well as soft-ground etchings, collage and hand-painted photographs and all of them are for sale,” she added. 

Participating artists include Ross Barbera, Eleanor Berger, Catherine Bezas, Joan Bloom, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Anthony Davis, Bart Deceglie, Julie Doczi, Jeanette Dick, Marge Governale, William Graf, Peter Hahn, Melissa Imossi, Laurence Johnston, Anne Katz, Deborah Katz, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Michael R. Kutzing, Joanne Liff, Celeste Mauro, Jane McGraw Teubner, Terry McManus, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musara, Iacopo Pasquinelli, Paula Pelletier, Demerise Perricone, Denis Ponsot, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carol Link Scinta, Sungsook Setton, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Patricia Solan, Angela Stratton, Mac Titmus, Marlene Weinstein and Patricia Yantz.

“The Setauket Artists have been in existence for 38 years . . . many of their paintings reflect the beauty of Long Island — the rivers, lakes, ocean, and bays that make this island so unique,” said Ruddock. “When curating the show, I look for paintings that touch the soul and bring the beauty of nature or a magical moment to the viewer. Every painting in the exhibit reflects our group’s motto, ‘Art is for a lifetime.’”

 Setauket Artist member Robert Roehrig agreed. “Although there is no particular theme to the exhibition, the Setauket Artists always display many beautiful scenes of our local Long Island landscape,” he said.

“The Deepwells Farm Historical Society is pleased to welcome the Setauket Artists to Deepwells Mansion for their first spring art show,” Denise Davis, a board member for the society, said. “The mansion, which is part of the Suffolk County Parks, was built in 1845 in the 16th century Greek-Revival architecture   for Joel Smith, a descendant of Smithtown’s founder Richard ‘Bull’ Smith. Deepwells is the perfect venue for displaying and sharing with the community the many local scenes of beautiful Long Island,” she added.

The community is invited to an opening reception on May 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. Refreshments and appetizers prepared by the artists will be served.

The exhibit will also include a small boutique gift shop with handmade wares from the Setauket Artists featuring jewelry, cards, scarves and small paintings. The group will continue its tradition of raffling off three different paintings on May 26, the exhibit’s last day. Visitors can enter the raffle throughout the exhibit’s run and do not need to be present to win.  Robert Roehrig, vice president of Setauket Artists, is donating his oil painting titled “Still Afloat,” and Anne Katz and Paula Pelletier will each donate a watercolor painting.

“It’s an exciting new venue for us,” said Setauket Artist member Joan Rockwell. “There will be something for everyone and the show will be open for Mother’s Day weekend too!  We’ll serve refreshments and have a flower for all those special Moms.”

Sponsored by Bryant Funeral Home, the Setauket Artists Spring Exhibit will be on view from May 4 through May 26 at the Deepwells Mansion, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James. The mansion is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.setauketartists.com. Private group or single showings can be arranged by appointment: call 631-365-1312 or email peace2429@optonline.net.

By Irene Ruddock

‘My goal as an artist is to seek beauty and truth in my paintings and to find an element that viewers can relate to.’

  William Graf

William Graf is a fine artist, professional illustrator and instructor of drawing, oil, acrylic and watercolor painting at The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James, the Art League of Long Island and the National Art League of New York. His extensive art career began after completing his drawing and old master painting studies at the Art Students League of New York and in Florence, Italy, at the Cecil- Graves Studio. 

Graf continues to be commissioned for work as an illustrator for major publishing companies. One of his noteworthy commissions was for a mural depicting a scene of President Theodore Roosevelt’s children in the White House, which was painted to be displayed in the Museum of American History. 

Recently, I had a chance to chat with the Huntington resident about his journey from graphic design to the fine art world. 

 How would you describe your work? 

Having studied with realist art instructors in the states and in Florence, Italy, my work echoes the classical realist tradition. I paint simple images in life, hoping to bring a certain poetry to my artwork.

How has your painting evolved over the years? 

I feel that my painting has matured from photographic realism to a more naturalistic style all the while incorporating good realistic principles.

What do you feel has been the most gratifying about the art world? 

The thing that gives me the most gratification in art is teaching people all that I have learned during my career. I love to impart my knowledge to students seeking to become better artists. I enjoy watching the progression when the practice of good drawing and painting come together, and the student has that “breakthrough moment.”  

In this diverse art career from graphics and design to illustration for major publishing companies, can you describe a turning point that lead you to pursue fine art? 

I’ve always kept my hand in fine art, continuing to paint landscapes, portrait commissions and still life while working as an illustrator. The crossover stemmed from the fact that most of my illustration work was figure oriented with landscape backgrounds, so, for me, it was a natural crossover. 

You still are actively commissioned by major publishing companies for illustration. What fine art qualities do you bring to this? 

Yes, I am still actively taking on commercial illustration projects, such as book cover design, illustration and children’s books. In my illustrations, I try to incorporate a higher aesthetic, whether it be in composition or drawing. I strive to make my illustration and fine art synonymous.

Your awards and scholarships are from prestigious organizations —The International Miniature Portrait Society, etc. Is there one award that is most meaningful to you?

There was one award that had a meaningful impact on my fine art career. A few years back, I painted a self-portrait and decided to show it at a juried portrait show at the Huntington Arts Council. Well, the judge was Kevin McEvoy, director of The Atelier at Flowerfield and he awarded the self-portrait “best in show!”

You now teach at The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James. Why did you choose to teach there? 

After winning that best of show award I was approached by Kevin McEvoy to consider a teaching position there. The timing was perfect. We both studied in Florence with the same instructor so our backgrounds were similar. What we teach is classical realism with emphasis on “sight size” drawing and painting. The type of study is in the tradition of the European atelier system where students can observe the techniques as demonstrated by the instructors. All levels of students are in my classes from beginners to professionals who wish to learn the old masters’ techniques of painting. 

What about your future excites or inspires you? 

I will be teaching a plein air workshop in Cortona, Italy, in June 2019. This will be a Tuscan landscape workshop with some portraiture.The following September I will teach a workshop in Maine where we will paint in various locations that Winslow Homer painted. Come join us! I am also looking forward to having a solo exhibit at the Barnes Gallery in Garden City in October. For details, visit my website at www.williamgraffineart.com.  

By Irene Ruddock 

‘Self Portrait,’ oil

Terence McManus is a retired social worker with a master’s degree from Adelphi University. A self-taught artist, he has participated in over 100 exhibits and juried competitions winning over 60 awards. He has had portraits exhibited at the Butler Institute of Art and at the Heckscher Museum. McManus is a signature member of both the Pastel Society of America and the Connecticut Pastel Society, and a member of the prestigious Salmagundi Club in NYC, as well as other art organizations across the country.

Recently, I was able to interview McManus at his studio.  

How did you decide to become an artist and, specifically, a portrait painter? 

I can’t remember not considering myself an artist. When I was in the first grade, I remember proudly telling people that I was an artist. And even as a young child, it was a person’s face that fascinated me and I copied faces from magazines. In high school I did posters of friends running for elections, in college I did portraits of my friends and their girlfriends, etc.

Was there someone who influenced you? 

When I was 10, I was thrilled to get my Jon Gnagy set of drawing instructions, but, seriously, I have not had any formal art training. The one art course that I took in college was a disaster because the instructor was an abstract artist and I was a Norman Rockwell fan! Instead, I have learned from books, videos, magazines and demonstrations and practice. 

Can you demystify the art of portraiture?

In painting a portrait, it is important to make sure the features are positioned correctly. I leave out details when starting a painting, except I paint the eyes in quickly. With the person looking back at me, I feel a connection with the subject. After I sketch in the positions, I apply the pastel or paint in the traditional manner, going from darks to lights. I frequently view the portrait backwards in a mirror to see the painting from a different perspective which helps to check on accuracy. Once the positions are correct, doing a portrait is not so different from doing a still life. You can use any color you wish, but you must have the values correct. Just look for the light and dark values, and like a puzzle, it would come together.

If you paint from photographs, what is the single most important thing that must be present in that photograph? 

I prefer to use my own photos since using the photos made by others is their vision, not mine. I look for how the light hits the face, creating drama and the feelings I wish to bring out in the painting.

In this increasingly image-conscious society, how do you compete with photographs and why are painting portraits different? 

A good photographer can capture real emotion, but most are just an image of the person for that second. A portrait artist usually tries to bring out the subject’s life experience. The artist can add or subtract or emphasize different aspects to reflect this. 

What is the hardest part about painting a portrait? 

It depends if I am painting for myself or for a commission. When it is for myself, I am trying to capture a feeling more than accuracy. With a commission, it is the exact likeness that is most important to the client, but I still aim to paint a good painting that can stand by itself.  

Do you like painting animals? 

I love painting animals. How can you not love those eyes looking at you? But like humans, aside from the eyes, their body language can convey much as well. 

In your view, what is the magical element that makes for a great portrait painting?

It is the intensity of the emotion that comes across and how well it is done, regardless of the style that makes for an interesting and unique portrait. 

Are there any portrait artists’ work that you feel personally drawn toward?

I love Rembrandt for his dramatic use of light, John Singer Sargent and Thomas Eakins for their realistic but painterly portraits, Alice Neel for her unique expressive style and Burton Silverman for his outstanding portraits.

If you could paint a portrait of anyone, whom would that be? 

Alexander the Great! Educated by Aristotle, king at 20, ruler of most of the world by 30. What strength and determination would his face reveal!

How can you be contacted for commissions?  

I may be reached by email at mcmfam99@optonline.net. 

All images courtesy of Terence McManus

'Harvest's End' by Marge Governale

When autumn arrives, residents of the Three Village area may start to think of the annual fall art show that has become a true community treasure. The Setauket Artists will host its 38th Artists’ Exhibition 2018 from Oct. 28 to Nov. 19 at the Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main Street, Setauket. 

‘Last Cottage’ by Fred Mendelsohn

Over 40 award-winning artists will participate in the show this year including Lana Ballot, Ross Barbara, Shain Bard, Eleanor Berger, Rina Betro, Joan Bloom, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, Jeanette Dick, W.A. Dodge, Marge Governale, Peter Hahn, Melissa Imossi, Laurence Johnston, Anne Katz, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Michael R. Kutzing, John Mansueto, Jane McGraw Teubner, Terry McManus, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra, Genia Neuschatz, Iacopo Pasquinelli, Paula Pelletier, Denis Ponsot, Joseph Reboli, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Carole Link Scinta, Sungsook Setton, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Mac Titmus, Nancy Weeks, Marlene Weinstein, Laura Westlake and Patricia Yantz. 

‘Perfect Day’ by Lana Ballot

The exhibition will kick off with an opening reception on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. All are invited to this free event to enjoy some light refreshments while viewing the beautiful artwork, all of which will be for sale. Take a chance on winning a painting by four Setauket artists, the proceeds of which support the art organization. Marlene Weinstein will offer a photograph titled “Fishing Boat Trio,” John Mansueto will offer an original oil, Muriel Mussara will offer a watercolor titled “Conscience Bay” and Frederic Mendelsohn, this year’s honored artist, will also offer an original oil painting. 

For over 10 years, Fred Bryant of Bryant Funeral Home has sponsored the Setauket Artists, allowing this exhibit to be one of the most attended functions in the Three Village area.  

‘Autumn Reflections’ by John Mansueto

This year’s distinguished guest artist is David Peikon, renowned oil painter and winner of many awards throughout the country. Tom Mason, known for his old master paintings and portraiture, will be the distinguished judge.  

If you miss the first reception, you will have a chance to meet your favorite artists at the second reception at the annual Wine and Cheese Art Event held on Friday, Nov. 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. Many new paintings will be displayed for the evening, just in time for holiday giving.

“Don’t miss this once-a-year opportunity to attend the receptions or daily viewing to see paintings that are classic and enduring and have given credence to our motto “Art for a lifetime,” said Irene Ruddock, coordinator of the event, adding, “After the exhibit, visit www.SetauketArtists.com to learn about the group’s Art Consultation feature where you may arrange to see paintings in your home before you decide whether or not to purchase them. The paintings of the artists include a wide range of modalities featuring work that is impressionistic, contemporary or traditional, including a portrait artist who will paint the perfect likeness of your loved ones or pet.”

For further information, you may contact  Irene Ruddock at peace2429@optonline.net. or 631-365-1312. For viewing hours at the Setauket Neighborhood House, visit www.setauketartists.com on the Events page.

'Birches on a Slope'

By Irene Ruddock 

Shain Bard

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? 

‘Birches Blushing’

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 shainbard@yahoo.com.

‘Birches on a Slope’

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

Being a hospital patient for any length of time is not likely an experience that engenders tranquility or inner peace for most, but local artists and hospital staff are doing their best to change that.

The 3 North Patient Care Unit at Port Jefferson’s John T. Mather Memorial Hospital, a newly constructed intermediate care unit on the third floor, is now furnished with paintings from artists who donated their work to be displayed for and enjoyed by patients and staff.

The hospital hosted a reception to thank the artists, including Irene Ruddock, president of Setauket Artists, who played a leadership role in getting the idea off the ground.

“The art installation endeavor was the inspiration of Dr. Shug-Hong Young, a cardiologist at Mather Hospital, who purchased one of my paintings which he donated to the hospital’s newest wing,” Ruddock said.

She said Young then took the idea to Mather president, Kenneth Roberts, who liked the concept and requested works featuring Long Island waterways and boats be displayed.

“This is actually a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful meeting of community members and artists with their local community hospital resource,” Roberts said. “We put a brand new wing on with private rooms with computers in the rooms so we don’t have all of the [computers on wheels] or [workstations on wheels] out in the hallways, so nothing is crowded. So we have this brand new nursing station with beautiful finishes, but the one thing we didn’t have was artwork.”

Ruddock was tasked with selecting paintings from her group’s members that fit the bill.

“I chose art that would add to the beauty of the already beautiful space, create a peaceful, serene environment that might provide a sense of spiritual healing,” she said. “I wanted paintings that touch people’s hearts and souls — ones that were memorable and draw you right into the painting.”

Young explained why he donated Ruddock’s initial painting, and why he thought it would brighten up the wing.

“It came to me that if we could bring all of these local artists [works] to the hospital, because many of the artworks reflect local scenes — the beach, the port, the pond — that would make patients feel they are not isolated, they are still connected to the beautiful environment,” he said.

Emily Emma, nurse manager for 3 North who recently transferred to the position, said she asked colleagues in her unit if there was anything she could do to elevate their work and the care they provide to patients, and a common theme emerged in the answers.

“Most of them had said, ‘We would really like some artwork on the walls,’” Emma said. “Patients can’t get enough of them. It’s really a nice peaceful journey to get through their progression of health.”

Jim Molloy, a Miller Place-based artist, was among those who donated a piece to the hospital that he called “Turning Tides.”

“I think that’s what art is about — it’s about brightening up someone’s day,” Molloy said. “If somebody can look at a piece of art and kind of escape for a while, then that makes me feel good, it makes them feel good — it’s perfect.”

Ruddock thanked Roberts, Young and Emma for their efforts in bringing the idea to fruition, as well as Mather employees Nancy Uzo, vice president of public affairs, and Laura Juliano, director of annual giving. Juliano said artist Renée Caine also provided invaluable help during the planning and installation phases of the idea. Caine donated one of her own works.

“By far, the most rewarding aspect of the project was the reaction of the patients, caregivers and staff to the paintings,” Ruddock said. “One staff member said of Michael Kutzing’s painting of a sailing vessel, ‘I mentally take a ride on the boat every day on the Long Island Sound to breathe in the air.’”

One of Rick Mundy’s Adirondack paintings, ‘These Mountains 1'

By Irene Ruddock 

Rick Mundy is an award-winning watercolor artist who specializes in realistic paintings of Long Island, the Adirondacks, the Caribbean Islands, New York City, Africa and Alaska. He is noted as being one of the top art businesses on Long Island and has been published in Art Business News, The New York Times, Boater’s Digest and the Encyclopedia of Living Artists.

I recently visited Mundy’s Setauket studio to get a sneak peak of the artist’s upcoming exhibit featuring 60 watercolor paintings at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River. An artist reception is scheduled for Sept. 2 and again on Sept. 23 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. 

I am amazed by the vast variety and creativity of your portfolio. How do you think of all these ideas? 

Painting is a celebration of the creative spirit and all that is beautiful in nature. As a teacher of biology, I learned more about nature, which is a recurring theme in my paintings. It is fun and exciting and I can’t stop myself once I get an idea! I like to paint in themes and in a series, and I most often do a diptych or a triptych. 

When did you first decide to become an artist and was there an artist who encouraged you? 

I enjoyed art since I was a child being inspired by John Nagy and winning a few contests, but later I apprenticed with the watercolorist Andrew Stasky who encouraged me to paint in transparent watercolor — where the light travels through many layers of paint to the viewer creating a fresh, clean painting.

‘These Mountains 111’ by Rick Mundy

Your new exhibit sounds stunning with a 360º view of the Adirondacks that includes a series of eight paintings. What is it about the mountains that attracts you so?

 I was an outdoor guide licensed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation for decades. The Adirondacks possess the calm of a woodland pond, the roar of a gorge in the spring and have ever-changing personalities from season to season. I know practically every trail in the mountains — its waterfalls, rocks and special ledges to stop for lunch! I enjoy going higher and deeper into the mountain where, in my mind, I compose the essence of the scene I want to paint — moving water, rocks, wildlife. I don’t photograph or sketch much; instead I develop the ideas in my mind so that these paintings are not actual places —they are created in my painting.

How has your extensive mountain climbing influenced your philosophy of life in other ways? 

I feel that nature feeds the soul. Being at one with nature, not fearful, but calm with the knowledge of the beauty that nature can deliver. Knowing Mother Nature is in charge and respecting her vastness. She will show you great things, but she is in charge. 

‘Royal Adornments’ by Rick Mundy

You are showing three rooms of paintings — Long Island, Adirondacks and the third titled ‘Well, … certainly different.’ Can you give us a hint about that? 

The Long Island paintings are all about the special beauty of the island’s beaches, boatyards, barrier islands, etc. In the last room, I exhibit my African collection including royal hair combs, animal skins and beading; my tropical mosaics, which look like Tiffany glass; my floral Gingko paintings; and some cityscapes.

What kind of presentation are you planning at your art receptions?

I am going to show examples of sketches and notes that I worked from, even the ones that didn’t deliver the look I wanted. It will show how the Adirondack paintings, which took two and a half years to complete, finally evolved.

What would you like the viewer to take away from this exhibit? 

I would like people to see in my paintings something in nature that they may have missed or wish to experience. I especially want to share with the viewers all the beauty I have witnessed. 

View Rick Mundy’s exhibit at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, 440 Montauk Highway, Great River from Aug. 30 to Sept. 30. The arboretum is open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For parking fees and restaurant information visit www.BayardCuttingArboretum.com. Visit Rick Mundy’s website at www.rickmundywatercolors.com.

All images courtesy of Rick Mundy

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