About the Artist —
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About the Artist
Born in Louisiana, Lea Novak spent her early childhood moving from state to state until her parents settled in New Jersey when she was in third grade. Her artistic impulses while growing up were limited to school art assignments, hallway decorating, and the occasional attempt at drawing portraits. However, these slight leanings toward art were placed on the back burner while Lea focused on academic excellence in high school and college, and then on making a living along with her husband, Joe.
After many years when the only artistic work she could claim was designing page layouts for her technical writing projects, her artistic leanings broke free! In the early summer of 2002, Lea painted a tropical beach scene in the garage to make a tropical island paradise for rained out picnics.
Interpreting the success of this venture to mean she could paint, at the advanced age of 48, Lea began her art training. She proceeded to take weekend and evening art classes offered by local art stores, and then enrolled in Mercer County Community College to take courses in Basic Drawing and Painting.
Lea sold her first painting in 2005, and continues to learn by doing, creating paintings from scenes that inspire her.
- I had five paintings, including the pieces done at the Trenton Marsh Plein Air event, in the TAWA Summer Exhibit at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, from June 28th through July 26th. The Marsh paintings are now available through the Farnsworth Gallery in Bordentown.
- I've started painting silk scarves, since I had so much fun painting the umbrella! They, along with several paintings and photographs, hung in the second annual OIT Expressions exhibit, between June 21 and July 14th, at the Lucas Gallery (185 Nassau Street) in Princeton.
- The McCarter Theater Gala Benefit--I painted an umbrella for the silent auction! I also embellished it with sequins. See my umbrella page for images.
I paint because I want to capture a scene so I can remember it forever. I want to show the way the light dances in the tree leaves or on the surf, the way the clouds float across the sky, veiling and unveiling the sun. The sky and water are constantly changing, and so light-filled! And the translucence of water lures me into attempting to recreate it on canvas.
I like to paint things that people will recognize, so I use a realistic style. I don’t feel like the painting is right unless it captures the details of the scene—I have to keep fixing it until it looks like the subject! Because I am drawn to sky and sea, I use a lot of blues and purples in my work. But I must admit, my favorite color is red—bright and happy! I really enjoy painting sunsets, with all of those colors, plus touches of bright golden light.
When I paint, I lose track of time. I’m living in the moment, focused on what I’m seeing and how to get that down with paint on canvas. I love the colors, and the feel of the paint. I like the way the paint goes onto the canvas, and how forgiving it is. The painting process offers constant challenge, fueled by the reward of accomplishment when it all comes together. It’s funny though. Often, I don’t know that a painting is going well until I leave it and come back. Then I walk into the studio and think, “Wow! Did I do that?!”
I started with an acrylic mural of a tropical island paradise in my garage! From there I moved on to decorative painting, and then to oil painting. I began by copying pictures from art books, but wanted to paint my own memories and scenes. Currently, I am painting primarily from my own photographs, but would like to do more painting from life, including scenes, and people, and scenes with people!
2007 “Scenes from the Summer (and other memories),” Triumph Brewing Co., 138 Nassau St. , Princeton , NJ -- See article from November 2, 2007 Packet Publications
2008 "6th Biennial National Art Exhibition," Visual Arts Center, Punta Gorda, FL
2007 "25th Ellarslie Open Salon des Refuses," Trenton City Museum, Trenton, NJ
2007 "American Juried Art Salon," American Juried Art Salon, Plano, TX
2007 "MCA Members Juried Exhibition," Montgomery Center for the Arts, Skillman, NJ
2006 "21st Century Art 4th Quarter 2006 - Horizons," 21st Century Art
2008 "TAWA Summer Show" Ellarslie House, the Trenton City Museum, Trenton, NJ
2008 "OIT Expressions 2008" The Lucas Gallery, 187 Nassau St. Princeton, NJ
2007 "OIT Expressions 2007," The Lucas Gallery, 187 Nassau St., Princeton , NJ
2006 "ArtWorks Student Exhibition," ArtWorks, Trenton, NJ
2006 Best in Show, 21st Century Art 4th Qtr 2006 Juried Exhibit - Horizons
2005-2006 Completed classes in Landscapes, Portrait, and Life Drawing at ArtWorks in Trenton, NJ
2004-2005 Completed classes in Basic Drawing and Painting at Mercer County Community College
1976 BA, Douglass College
2007 Associate Member, Oil Painters of America
2007 Member, Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA)
2007 Member of Montgomery Center for the Arts
2006 Member of Arts Council of Princeton