Our backyard complete with my Grandfather's luscious grapevine overlooked the Hudson River. It was God's gift to see countless seasonal transformations and captivating sunsets. In the yard I was surrounded with colors and textures of morning glories, roses, Queen Anne's lace, lilacs, lilies and of course the tomato plants.
Next to our house St. Peter's Church now Mt. Carmel, was filled with sunlit stained glass,
Renaissance-like paintings and sculpture. Little Italy in Poughkeepsie was a feast for the senses.
Smells of Italian cooking, store windows displaying hanging cheese and salami, just baked bread, fresh fish and of course,
The pastries. Train conductors Crossing the Railroad Bridge would blow their whistles and wave to the children watching from below.
All this was the beginning of who I am as a painter.
I always new I wanted to be a painter, but also wanted to teach. I had the opportunity
to realize this dream and returned to school when my son Joe turned 16.
At that time in my mid thirties, I felt like blinders had fallen from my eyes. Every Art class was a new inspiration. I couldn't get enough. After getting my Masters and teaching certification I taught first at Poughkeepsie High School and then retired from Taconic Hills in Columbia County.
Over the years I've been involved with projects creating public art displays such as "Leaf a Legacy," "Save the Cheetah," "The Dogs of Hudson" and "Walkway Opening Day Emblem" for the town of Milan.
The Artists' Collective of Hyde Park is where I spend a lot of my time lately. I have the honor of being Vice President and Gallery Coordinator for the past 3 years.
Creating in its many forms is what makes me happiest. I've been painting for over 30 years.
Although I love the freedom of an abstract done with watercolor and India ink, my heart is drawn to a romantic landscape or a still life with dramatic lighting.
Caravaggio, Rubens, Renoir and Bernini are my heroes. Although I have learned to see with the eyes of an artist it is important to continue to stretch and reach for greater
understanding of what you love. I continue to study with master artists, Keith Gunderson for painting and Carl Grieco for sculpting in marble.
Elizabeth St. Leger's Gallery