CLARK, NJ — An opening ceremony for the art exhibit, “A Journey into Painting II” took place at the Skulski Art Gallery in Clark on Friday, Dec. 9, from 8 to 10 p.m. Students from Aleksandra Nowak oil painting class displayed their work, which focused on landscapes and portraits as subjects.
“Portraits are the most challenging because they require several drawings of the model to master the facial features,” Nowak told LocalSource. “Landscapes allow for a lot of changes to be made. I’ve been teaching here at the studio for five years. I teach students of all ages and backgrounds. I teach oil painting techniques which are difficult to master because it’s hard to get the right color, canvas, brushes and solvents. Although only two of my students have an artistic background, they all love to paint.”
The youngest student in Nowak’s class is 10-year-old Norbert Nowak. His four paintings on display were all oil paintings of fish.
“I enjoy painting animals the most,” Norbert told LocalSource.
Norbert’s mother, Maria Nowak, also had paintings on display. Her work consisted of mostly landscapes and flowers. In her painting, “Dunes,” she uses sharp brush strokes. In “Blue View,” and “Dusk,” she focuses on the blue water and sky. Nowak’s work has been featured in other art exhibits at the gallery, but some students were very new to painting.
“I just started painting this year,” Agnieszka Grochowska told LocalSource. “I like to experiment. I have three portraits and two still lifes on display. My inspiration comes from spirituality. My first piece was the angel. I just want to paint pictures that emanate positive energy. My role model is Julia Watkins. Her work inspired my painting of the hummingbird. She channels calming energy through her work.”
Nature was a huge source of inspiration for all the artists featured in the exhibit.
“As a photographer, I prefer collages and mixed technique,” Maria Ambroziewicz told LocalSource. “Sometimes I work from memory, but details are important to capture the moment and bring the subject to life.”
One artist’s work was more abstract and inspired by his background as an architect.
“I use my imagination for inspiration,” Maron Pisarczyk told LocalSource. “I get my ideas from other pictures and make it into my own. In my piece, ‘Wall With Egg,’ I painted a wall and thought it looked too plain and simple so I decided to add the egg to give it dimension. The egg also symbolizes life. In my work, ‘Storm,’ I was inspired by a Polish dark artist who does paintings in a similar style. Music was also an inspiration for this piece. ‘Riders of the Storm,’ by The Doors, inspired it as well. My favorite piece is called, ‘Blue,’ but it really shouldn’t have a title. Everyone sees something different in it.”
Another visitor at the gallery spoke about his favorite piece at the exhibit.
“My favorite piece is, ‘Dusk at the Meadow,’ by Malgorzata Chrominska, because it’s speaking to me,” said Mark Kuzniar of Sayreville. “It feels like it’s coming to life. Chrominska searches to find the right elements for her work, such as the frames for each piece. One night, I found her painting, ‘Lake Frost,’ to get the shades and colors just right.”
Chrominska mentioned that people often see something different when they look at ‘Lake Frost.’
“People don’t always recognize the peapods frozen in the lake,” Chrominska told LocalSource. “Everyone sees something different when they look at it.”
The student that has been working with the instructor the longest claims she’s learned many techniques over the years. She also says the instructor has been a source of inspiration as well as feedback.
“I’ve been working with the instructor over four years now,” Margaret Smolarski told LocalSource. “I’ve been painting for over 25 years but I still go to her for inspiration and criticism. Painting still lifes with the teacher has been the best way to learn values and techniques. I enjoy painting things that will speak to people on a personal level and attract them to the subject.”
One artist broke away from the norm of oil paintings and decided to use watercolors.
“I only paint in watercolor because it’s more challenging,” said Malgorzata Gasenica. “It doesn’t allow you to change anything.”