By Irene Ruddock
Living right here among us is Fred Mendelsohn, a modern-day Renaissance man — neurologist, philanthropist, author, musician and artist. Residing in Port Jefferson with his wife Sunny, Fred has recently retired and is now devoting his time to oil painting.
After a lifetime of being a neurologist, what inspired you to devote your time to art?
Before enrolling in the sciences, I went to college on a music scholarship where I became enamored by the French horn, the instrument that “sings”; however, after surgery on my throat, I could no longer play, so for creative release I began my artistic journey.
Was there an artist who inspired you the most?
I would have to say that it was my first teacher, my neighbor, who was a professional artist and illustrator, took me under his wing at age 10, teaching me drawing and prospective, thus illustrating the profound effect a teacher may have on a child.
With whom have you studied?
Locally I studied with colorist Christian White, in New York at the Art Student’s League with Robert Cenedella and at the Art League of Long Island with Nanette Fluhr and David Peikon. I learned something of value from each of them.
How would you describe your art and what is your ultimate goal?
I think of myself as a truth seeker. I want to create an original work that emulates Mother Nature in a painterly fashion, rendering art that captures the effects of atmosphere through color and light. My goal its to effortlessly paint what I envision in my mind’s eye.
Where do you enjoy painting?
The bucolic fields and waterways of the North Shore and the hills and villages of Italy are sources of inspiration to me.
What art period has influenced you the most?
The Impressionists have had an effect on me because of the way they depicted shimmering colors: color within color, color within shadows, colors within water and sky.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
The most emotionally gratifying moment was successfully operating on a 10-year-old with an aggressive brain tumor. Having patients like him survive is the most rewarding thing that can happen to a doctor.
You are also an author who has won the Reader Views Literary Award for your book. What is it about?
The book is called “A Doctor’s Journey,” a compilation of true stories about my medical experiences that touched me in such special ways that I wanted to share them with others.
What exciting art events do you have planned for your future in art?
I am exhibiting my paintings in the Winter Exhibition at Art Blend Gallery in Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. Snow birders are invited to attend! My paintings were accepted for exhibitions at ArtHamptons in July and at the ArtExpo in New York City in April.
Locally you can find my work in Expressions Gallery, LIMarts exhibitions and at the Setauket Artists Annual Exhibition. I am especially honored to be asked to donate a painting “that will enlighten and uplift patients and visitors alike” for the new wing at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital. You may see my work by visiting www.artistfredericmendelsohn.com.