With Krystian von Speidel
11:31 AM EST, November 7, 2011
found at: Town & County Club (Hartford)
What drew you to becoming an artist?
When I was a kid in elementary school, my folks enrolled me in art appreciation and drawing classes at the Toledo Museum of Fine Arts. There, I discovered works by Cézanne, Bonnard, Degas, van Gogh, Matisse, and Monet and the masters: Rembrandt, Rubens and Turner. That foundation later drew me to appreciate abstract impressionists like Picasso, Calder, de Kooning, Rothko, Munch and Motherwell. That was prior to choosing to study architecture, then working abroad in Scandinavia and later graduate school in urban planning and design. Over the years I've learned the technical skills of building, designing, drawing and painting.
What don't they teach in art school that you had to learn for yourself?
I've always drawn in pen and ink and painted in watercolor while working in architecture and the urban design field. You're taught the mechanics of drawing and painting in school but when painting on my own, as well as in workshops with other established painters, I discovered the energy of painting, then technique and how important it is to draw my inspiration from the natural and man-made environment. Much of my work is inspired by experiencing the place where I live, trips abroad and working with other painters. The spontaneity of painting outdoors or wherever I happen to be is the stimuli I need to respond. At heart, I'm a romantic, and buildings, cities and nature provide the catalyst I need. Once I'm totally into a painting it generates a life of its own.
What is it like to juggle your careers in art and architecture? Which brings you greater joy?
I really didn't exhibit my artwork until the late ’90s after pursuing my career as an architect and urban planner working abroad in California, New York and here in Connecticut. My work involved urban conservation and park preservation projects that required community meetings and commitment for successful outcomes. Though these were rewarding, I found it impractical to juggle both careers. Initially, I preferred painting in watercolor, but I expanded into other mediums after studying with several established artists in New England and New Mexico. I now paint in pastel and acrylic and mixed mediums, a broad spectrum of subject matter and color pallet.
What is the riskiest thing you‘ve ever done?
Deciding that I'd painted a sufficient body of work to display my first solo show. Initially, that was at a small gallery in the Berkshires many years ago and then undertaking a larger show several years ago in Hartford at the Charter Oak Cultural Center Gallery.
When was the time you were most scared?
I guess when I first submitted my art work for a juried art show. Your work is being judged by another artist or group of jurors and rejection can be tough. After entering many shows and getting into several, but not all, I've come to realize that juried shows are subjective and depends on the number and quality of artists and works in competition.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
After raising a family of four daughters and eight grandchildren, my decision to begin painting full-time after accomplishing my professional career goals. I continue to feel proud and enjoy a sense of accomplishment when a subject I've painted appeals to someone who then chooses to acquire it.
What is your biggest regret?
I regret waiting so many years to pursue painting full-time until I'd finished my career in architecture and urban planning.
If you weren't an architect and artist, what would you be doing?
I'd be either a food critic or maybe a chef in a four-star restaurant.
What's your favorite thing to do when the power is out?
Leave our house in the Berkshires, which lost power, for downtown Hartford, where the power's on.
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