By: Audrey Levinson
This month I’m praying for some nice weather. You all know Syracuse is about the weather. So long, so harsh, so white. I wouldn’t paint a snow scene if you paid me. Well, maybe I would. The snow is awfully pretty on an evergreen lined street like Edward’s Drive in DeWitt, NY.. However, for a woman like me, I need color around me all the time. Like green grass and bright yellow tulips and those gorgeous blue-violet irises. They are such feasts for my eyes. I love vibrancy. It shouts out life. I have always been an artist. My mother was an artist. She could draw and paint and sculpt like no other in my eyes. My childhood dream was to be just like my mother. She spent so much time with me making giant tissue paper flowers of all different colors at our dining room table for no reason at all but just the fun of it, and It was fun!
My mother, Mimi Levinson was my first and everlasting inspiration for my own art. I was a lucky little girl. She was a student at University College and learning all kinds of art. She would come home with clay and invite the neighborhood kids along with her best friend’s children to go to our basement where she had everything set up to create in clay. We made pinch pots and slab boxes adorned with impressions from found objects. Sometimes she would set me up with my own easel right next to her and we would paint together. Yep, Mom was a natural art teacher, and I loved her for that. Those memories will always drive the artist in me. It is also due to her that I write. When she lay sick and dying I promised myself that I would continue the gifts passed down to me from my mother.
Magically, I found this publication who accepted my idea of talking to local artists and writing about their lives, their work and their inspirations for creating. Meeting so many wonderful and important women who share my passion has been a joy for me. I’ve learned so much about technique and especially the business side of art. I only hope they felt how much I support them through writing and encourage each woman to continue their own path.
In high school, all I wanted to do was fit in with my friends and be in the art room working on how to really see and draw. I had fantastic art teachers. Mr. Benedict (George), my high school art teacher, set a plain old log in front of me and with a pencil looked over the log with me in great detail. He pointed out every nodule, every shadow and how light affected the log. It was no longer a log to me but a new world. I could look at a blade of grass and now see not just green, but where it was a darker green and where the light made it translucent. In the other art room was Mr. Carl Wenzel. He taught me about shape and texture and other elements of art. I learned how to use colored pencils and watercolor paints with him and he was a kind man. He never asked me for a pass when I skipped physical education to be in the art room.
In college at Syracuse University, I earned a BFA, BA, and MA in Art Education. The good thing about this is that I took studio courses about art forms I didn’t know much about. Metal Smithing, serigraphy, and clay. I wanted to make sure I was a well-rounded art teacher. I also took one painting class, now my favorite thing to do on this earth. I felt I knew enough about paint and could handle teaching myself the rest. All these class experiences add up and mingle among each other. I can’t say that my studio courses were a waste. Painting takes me to a very happy place where the only thing that can go wrong can always be corrected with a swipe of my brush, which is why I paint. It feels good. Once out of school I decided to give myself permission to make up my own projects instead of creating art to fulfill an assignment. This is when I acknowledged to myself that I was an artist.
I control what I put out. I control what I wish the viewer to see. I narrate the story in pictures. It’s a part of my soul.
This all being said you can see my paintings at Dolce Vita restaurant from May 20th – July 6th with an opening celebration from 6:00 – 8:00 PM on June 4th. It will be vibrant.
“I control what I wish the viewer to see”
“I control what I put out”