New Artist in Armonk – Linda Richichi Finds New Energy in Her New Town
August 17, 2014
To the town’s great fortune, love has brought award-winning painter, Linda Richichi to Armonk. From her earliest childhood in scenic Orange County, New York, Linda loved observing nature and painting what she saw. Richichi has exhibited extensively and her work is in private, public, and museum collections around the world. Featured in the International Artist Magazine under Master Painters of the World (2005), she is an internationally recognized landscape painter and portraitist with awards including the nationwide Best Intuitive Artist from About.com (2012) and Best of Show Ontario Purchase Award at the International Plein Air Painters ‘Paint Out’ in 2006. The painting, featuring Niagara Falls, now hangs in the Ontario City Hall.
Her marriage on May 17 to author, Armonk native and longtime resident Mark Weston was held at the Windmill Club, where Richichi has found much inspiration lately. A selection of her work, including lively renderings of the local lake community and scenes around Armonk will be featured at Framings, 420 Main Street, during the shop’s 25th anniversary celebration. Meet the artist and see her work on display there on September 20 from 6 to 8 pm. Her exhibit runs through October 11.
All About Armonk interviewed Linda Richichi via email this week about her work.
AAA: Has art always been a major force in your life?
LR: My first memory is at the age of two when my mom bought me a standing easel and I remember thinking even then that I am an artist. Drawing people always came easy. I received my first commission at the age of sixteen and won my first award at the age of five.
AAA: Your resume is filled with impressive entries. Can you define a few of the less familiar terms – such as Plein Air Painters?
LR: Plein air is a French term that means “in the open air”. This manner of painting allows me to feel the energy in nature and bring this feeling indoors through the painting. For me it is all about the way the work opens the heart.
AAA: How about intuitive art?
LR: My definition of intuitive art is allowing the muse to take over to receive inspiration. Everyone can paint intuitively in an expressionistic way. This is what children do when they pick up a crayon and just draw. I am fortunate enough to be classically trained so when I feel the muse calls on a bird to be drawn, I can draw the bird realistically. Sometimes I watch my hand draw or paint and not know what is coming next. That’s what happens in my intuitive art.
AAA: How would you define your style?
LR: I am a colorist working in a more impressionist style. The teachers that have had the most influence on me are John Philip Osborne who taught me about the prismatic effect of light, and Albert Handel who also works very intuitively with color. I needed to see that he also needed silence to work. Both are landscape painters and very different from each other.
AAA: What media do you use and which do you prefer?
Pastels are one of my favorite media because the colors are prismatic and when used properly, they sparkle. I’ll make a study in pastel and then create a larger painting that has the qualities of the pastel in oil. Both pastel and oil are pure pigment ground to a powder. Oil is added to the pigment to make oil paint. Pastels are the same pigment with only a touch of binder added to make them like dough, then they are rolled into a stick to be dried. Pastels are placed under glass for protection. Oils are varnished for protection. Pastel satisfies my craving to draw and the oils quench a thirst to paint.
AAA: What about painting inspires you?
LR: I like making work that allows people to re-visit memories or feelings that are uplifting. Art for me is a means to raise our vibration and bring us toward happiness. Color is one vehicle that can take us to a new place when we take the time to allow it to work on us. Vivid colors bring me peace and happiness. Symbolism also helps to make a feeling stronger, so that when others see a work they can feel what I felt. When I am inspired I do my best work. To awaken my spirit I pay attention to what I am pulled toward.
AAA: You have painted the Windmill Club and Windmill Lake in some of your recent work. What is compelling there?
LR: Our almost daily walks around the lake have inspired me. I was especially inspired by the view of the club from across the lake. When I heard the club was not the usual subject matter by other artists, I took on the challenge and had such fun capturing the fun members were having.
Walking around Windmill Lake over and over made me aware of one particular tree that is different from the others. Beyond this tree you see the clubhouse. The light worked. The shadows were filled with colors. The space between the foreground and the distant focal point is deep enough that it pulls us in and engages us. Art inspires all of us in different ways. Our job is to find what makes us happiest, what speaks to our soul. I love to surround myself with paintings and art that keeps my soul satisfied. They change over time as I grow spiritually.
AAA: Your scope of subjects is broad. You did a series of paintings for a birthing center. Did that evoke some special themes?
LR: Yes, one of my patrons asked me to create a collection that would adorn the halls of the birthing center at a hospital. The intention was that the first energy that the families and babies would be surrounded by would be love-energy. I have received so many emails from strangers telling me that they love these paintings. It makes them feel good. A healing work of art should raise the spirit of the viewer.
AAA: What is involved in the process of doing commissions? Is that a direction you enjoy pursuing?
LR: It is a pleasure to create works of art for those wishing special pieces. The first step for me is to really listen to see what vision the person commissioning me has. After a quick sketch to make sure we are on the same page, I begin the work of art and take the time necessary to bring my own inspiration, style and sensibility to the commission. Commissions take longer, and I have a waiting list.
I love creating collections for places, or pieces for private collectors. They vary from landscapes, garden and house portraits, animal portraits, and portraits of people both in the traditional manner or as a soul portrait. Some of my traditional portraits are hanging in the Trotter’s Hall of Fame Museum in Goshen, NY.
AAA: How important is framing in the artistic process?
That’s a great question. When I look for a frame, I search for one that brings out the work, not the frame. Locally, you have one of the best frame shops around. Years ago, when I studied under Andrew Lattimore, he suggested we all bring our work to Framings in Armonk. At the time I lived an hour away and brought one of my Italian vistas to Judy so she could do her magic and find the right frame. She picked out a dark frame which brought the eye right into the piece. What a surprise it was last year for me to remember that this was the frame shop that I visited long ago.
AAA: What award are you proudest of?
The award I am most proud of is a Best of Show at an international plein air painting competition held in Canada. I went there just to have fun and did just that. The painting was of Niagara Falls. The piece now hangs in the city hall in Ontario.
Interview by Nomi Schwartz