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The Atelier at Flowerfield

It was a hot, muggy, summer Saturday, as crowds gathered in the cool exhibition hall of The Atelier at Flowerfield for another Open House. Visitors observed portrait drawing demonstrations by Bill Graf, who teaches several classes in painting and drawing. They also watched Fellowship student, Alyssa Kolakowski, warm up with several quick sketches then demonstrate Master drawings.

Those who dropped in were treated to tours of the art studios and Fine Arts Library by Fellowship student, Annie Nate Schindler and Carol D’Amato, Librarian and Teacher Assistant.

On display was the artwork of Fellowship students Annie Nate Schindler and Jonathan Horn.

Guests could also grab a brush and paint along with Carol D’Amato, Teacher’s Assistant and Librarian, as she demonstrated Watercolor painting techniques.

The Fall session begins September 12th with several classes, daytime and evening, in studio and online, in painting (all mediums), drawing, illustration, plein air and a new class in Fashion Textile Design. Every Monday night is Open Figure Night with a live model and its only $20 per 3-hour session! The Atelier also offers lectures and workshops.

The next exhibition, featuring a Fifty-Year Retrospective of Neill Slaughter’s artwork, opens on Thursday, September 8th with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information or to register, go to https://theatelieratflowerfield.org or call 631-250-9009.

Image by Robert Rosenberg

The Atelier at Flowerfield, 2 Flowerfield, Suite #15, St. James hosts a three-day Comic and Character Design studio workshop with artist Robert Rosenberg at Atelier Hall on Wednesday, July 7, Thursday, July 8 and Friday, July 9 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Robert Rosenberg is a recent graduate of SUNY Stony Brook and will begin an MFA in Illustration at FIT in September. He is an illustrator and the creator of several comics which can be viewed on his website, City Slicker Blues. In this workshop, he’ll share his love of comics and character design with The Atelier at Flowerfield.

He will outline what goes into designing good characters, as well as what comics are and what makes a comic good. He will discuss, demonstrate and teach the use of traditional comic making tools, such as dip pens, ink brushes, and technical pens; as well as some digital tools for comic creation.

Come join the fun and learn how to create your own unique characters and stories!

Cost is $135 per person. To register, call 631-250-9009 or visit www.theatelieratflowerfield.org

On May 25, in the newly refreshed courtyard of The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James, Paul Lamb, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Atelier thanked board members, staff, artist instructors and loyal students for helping The Atelier survive Covid. “We wouldn’t be here without their support,“ he said.

Board and Staff members in attendance included Dr. Stephen Vlay -Trustee and VP, Barbara Beltrami —Trustee and VP, Ellen Olsen—Trustee and Treasurer, Diane Moffet—Trustee and Secretary, David Madigan—Trustee, and Joan Rockwell—Trustee, Gaby Field-Rahman, Administrator, Donna Howard, Asst. Administrator, Aneta Dworak, Business Manager, Cand arol D’ Amato, Librarian/Teaching Assistant, Kimberley Bernhardt, Media Coordinator.

In January of 2020, The Atelier had to restructure to bring operating expenses in line with operating income. Four individuals were singled out as deserving of Special Thanks. Gaby Field-Rahman, Barbara Beltrami, and Joan Rockwell rolled up their sleeves and did just that. Bill Graf resident artist/instructor extraordinaire helped maintain the instructional staff. Without their devotion to The Atelier in its time of need, and their very hard work, The Atelier wouldn’t be here today.

Shortly thereafter the Pandemic hit, how would The Atelier continue operating without in person art classes? Bill Graf once again came to the rescue. He developed online art classes for The Atelier. We never missed a beat. Our student body remained constant during the height of the Pandemic, and today it continues to grow. Mr. Lamb concluded that without Bill, there is no Atelier and again offered his thanks.

The Atelier had to grow, even in times of Covid, to survive. Briana Sheridan, former Media Coordinator for The Atelier, stepped up and developed twice monthly free online art talks and lectures. Linda Catucci, another extraordinary resident art instructor, stepped up and expanded Youth Programming and developed the new Atelier website.

Mr. Lamb continued by thanking Aneta Dworak, Business Manager for The Atelier, for shepherding the refreshment of this Courtyard and the installation of new HVAC systems in The Atelier; Carol D’Amato for her work in re-organizing the 6,000-volume Fine Arts library; and Kimberley Bernhardt, the new Media Coordinator, who is now in the process of opening a new online art store for The Atelier.

Artists in attendance for this event included William Graf, Randall DiGiuseppe, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Linda Catucci, Christian White, Antonio Masi & Liz Jorg Masi, Ross Barbera, Krys Lipinski, Joan Rockwell, and Neill Slaughter.

The Atelier hopes to celebrate each continuing year of success in the same fashion! For more information or to register for a class, workshop or lecture go to www.atelierflowerfield.org or call 631-250-9009.

Third Place was awarded to Alexandra Zlotnikov of Northport for her oil painting titled “Grand Russian Supper.”

Despite the threat of inclement weather, The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James hosted an opening reception for the first annual Student Artists Juried Show on March 12. Student artists, their proud parents and teachers were present as the following student artists were recognized for their outstanding work.

First place winner “Through Someone’s Eyes” by Joseline Canales-Lazio of Huntington.

First Place was awarded to Joseline Canales-Lazio of Huntington for her artwork titled “Through Someone’s Eyes,” created with Conte Crayon on black paper.

Julie Yang of Setauket captured Second Place for her acrylic piece “What’s Left of Us.” 

Third Place was awarded to Alexandra Zlotnikov of Northport for her oil painting titled “Grand Russian Supper.”

Honorable mentions included Annissa Gao of Great Neck, for “On a Thread” (mixed media); Agata Arkhipkina of Stony Brook for “Light” (acrylic); and Christopher Lafontaine of Shirley for “Out of My Mind” created with a ballpoint pen.

This show will run through April 9. The exhibition hall is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Atelier at Flowerfield is located at 2 Flowerfield, Suite 6 & 9, in St. James. For more information, visit www.atelierflowerfield.org or call 631-250-9009.

Photo from The Atelier

The Atelier at Flowerfield, 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, Saint James presents a Pumpkin Painting Workshop for ages 6 to 12. Choose from Oct. 16 or Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon. Join instructor Miss Linda for some pre-Halloween fun as she teaches you how to choose and prep the perfect pumpkin; then paint one of four designs with specially formulated outdoor paint. Pumpkins and supplies included! Cost is $55 per child. To register, call 631-250-9009 or visit www.atelierflowerfield.org.

'Children of Cadiz' by Bill Graf

By Melissa Arnold

From his early days, Bill Graf was laser-focused on becoming a professional artist. And while he didn’t come from an artistic family, they were still eager to support him.

Artist Bill Graf

“When I was a little kid, I always drew — my mom was a voracious reader and would bring home stacks of books from the library, and I would draw in the margins,” said Graf, 61, of Huntington. “The librarian called our house and that’s how I was found out. My mom bought me two big pads of paper and pencils, and after that, it opened the floodgates.”

That deep love for creating has taken Graf from an art degree to a successful career and, more recently, sharing what he’s learned with others as an art teacher. He has also traveled the world in search of new vistas to capture.

This fall, the Atelier at Flowerfield in Saint James will exhibit more than 50 of Bill Graf’s paintings from the 1980s to current times. The solo exhibit will highlight Graf’s great skill in a variety of media and the beautiful places he’s been fortunate to paint over the years.

After high school, Graf wanted to use his artistic skills in a practical way. He chose to pursue an associate’s degree in advertising art and design from SUNY Farmingdale, but was initially turned down for the program.

“I met with the director of the program to sort of plead my case, and outside the office were these photorealistic pieces from the second-year students,” Graf recalled. “I told the director that I could do that. He doubted me, but he said, ‘Okay, I’ll give you three days to draw something in that style.’ When I came back, he looked at my work and said, ‘You’re in.’”

He went on to work in design, illustration and advertising, and studied in his free time at the Art Students’ League in New York City, where he learned the Frank Reilly system of painting. He also had the opportunity to study in Italy at the prestigious Cecil-Graves Studiomin Florence, Italy. Those experiences made a huge impact not only on his art, but on his career as well: Graf would spend more than 20 years illustrating the covers of various Harlequin novels.

“I would have a description of the hero and heroine, along with a synopsis of the book. Then I would work with models who would serve as references. We would set up the lights and backgrounds that I had chosen, shoot some pictures, then I would take those pictures home with me. I would have about a month to complete the final painting,” he explained.

Ultimately, as Harlequin switched over to photographed covers in 2015, Graf returned to his old passions as a way of coping with loss of his major client. He found renewed joy in watercolor and oil painting. A friend even suggested he try leading a casual paint night, which was a great success.

“I came away from that event with a sense that I could pass on what I’ve learned to others,” he said. “Seeing the enthusiasm of the people that were there, it felt like a good time to start paying it forward.”

Since 2016, Graf has taught a number of workshops in drawing and painting throughout Long Island, including at the Atelier.

“When we first met, I was blown away by Bill’s talent. He’s been able to pick up and excel in so many different media, with an incredible level of detail and a very high standard,” said Gaby Field-Rahman, administrator for the Atelier at Flowerfield. “Bill was also an instrumental part of getting the Atelier online and offering virtual classes during the height of the pandemic. In that way, he was truly a lifesaver for all of us.”

Carol D’Amato of Sound Beach first met Bill at one of his watercolor classes. She was newly widowed at the time and struggling to navigate life without her husband of 58 years.

“My doctor told me very seriously that I needed to make some positive changes or I was going to die of a broken heart. He asked me, ‘What is something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance?’ I admitted that I wanted to try watercolor, and he broke out into this huge grin,” she recalled. “He immediately said that he knew just the thing — that I needed to go to the Atelier and study with Bill Graf.”

During the first class, Graf gently observed that D’Amato didn’t really know how to draw, and told her that if she could learn to draw, he knew she could learn to paint.

“I really was the worst drawer ever! I never knew that I had the capability. I just needed someone who cared to come alongside me and teach me,” D’Amato said. “No one teaches like Bill. He has the ability to make you feel good and find good things in your art, even when you’re doing things wrong. I started with simple shapes and now, amazingly, I can paint nudes.”

As for Graf, he is always striving to grow as an artist and has never lost the passion he found as a young boy.

“It was my lifelong ambition to become a painter. I still have the same enthusiasm for a finished piece as I did with those first drawings when I was a kid,” he said. “I can lose so much time in my art … it’s almost meditative. I’m not looking to be the greatest of them all — I just have a love for seeing ideas come to life and sharing what I’ve learned with others.”

Bill Graf’s solo exhibit is on display now through Oct. 21 at the Atelier at Flowerfield’s Atelier Hall, 2 Flowerfield, Suite 6 & 9, Saint James. A reception will be held Sept. 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 631-250-9009 or visit www.theatelieratflowerfield.org.

The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James presents a free online program on Thursday, June 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. Artist Lana Ballot returns to provide a free lecture/demo called “on the sea,” using pastels. Ballot demonstrates how she  swiftly creates waves, capturing the glistening sea, and explains her techniques.

“The expressive and versatile medium of pastels lends itself beautifully to painting water. I will show how combining the application of dry pastels with an initial wash allows you to create the effect of translucency in the water and seascape textures,” said Ballot.

Bio:

Artist Lana Ballot

Lana Ballot is a professional artist and pastel painting instructor, living on Long Island, NY. She has been teaching pastel, Plein air and studio classes throughout the United States and internationally. Currently she is teaching online classes and workshops. She is a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America, a member of the IAPS Master Circle and a Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists. Confident and expressive use of color and painterly mark making are characteristic of Lana’s work.

Ballot has been exhibiting and won awards in National and International Juried competitions, including the Pastel Society of America’s annual show Enduring Brilliance and the prestigious Pastel Journal’s Pastel 100 competition. In 2017 and 2020, French magazine Pratique des Arts featured Lana’s coastal work in its Pastel issues. In 2019, Lana was one of the artists invited to exhibit work during the Artlife International Contemporary Art Festival in Moscow. In 2022, Ballot will be part of the group of American Women Artists working in pastels, invited to exhibit in the international show Pastels of the World in Bourbonnais, Montluçon, France.

To see Lana Ballot’s work and the current teaching schedule, please visit lanaballot.com

To register for this free event, visit wwe.theatelieratflowerfield.org.

Painting by Ralph Fasanella
Marc Fasanella

The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James hosts an online lecture, American Tragedy: A 20th Century Portrait of Life in the United States by Ralph Fasanella, on Thursday, May 13 via Zoom at 7 p.m.

Artist Marc Fasanella speaks about his father, Ralph Fasanella. Throughout his artistic evolution, self-taught working class artist, Ralph Fasanella (1914-1997) visually chronicled the political history of his time. His work in oil on canvas captured the culture and identities of an American populace caught up in a market driven fantasy of social evolution with periods of civil unrest.. Register at www.theatelieratflowerfield.org. For more information, call 631-250-9009.

Elizabeth Fusco

Join Atelier at Flowerfield’s new art instructor, Elizabeth Fusco, for a free online webinar titled Fascination with Flowers: A Brief History of Botanical Art on Thursday, February 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

From herbal plants to roses, artists have been fascinated by plant life for hundreds of years. Long before cameras existed, artists used scientific illustrations to document elements of the natural world- plants, animals, and the birds and the bees. Learn why this tradition is not only continuing today, but how a renewed interest in Botanical Illustration is thriving in the contemporary art community.

To sign up, visit www.theatelieratflowerfield.org

Image from The Atelier
Christian White

The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James continues its online webinar series with Nuts and Bolts of Color: Practical help on employing modern and traditional knowledge of color in painting, with artist Christian White on Thursday, Feb. 18 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

As a follow-up to his most recent lecture “Manet and Modernism” (viewable on the Atelier’s website), White will address color as a practical matter in painting, with some demonstration of approaches to pigments, mixing colors, and developing color composition and color harmony. He will attempt to show how the artists he spoke of as influences helped develop his use of color in both figurative and abstract ideas. Free. To register, visit www.theatelieratflowerfield.org and choose workshops/events. For more information, call 631-250-9009.