“I believe that we are all artists,” Harvey Herman said when we spoke with him recently regarding this week’s cover art, a painting simply titled “Robins.” “It depends on how willing you are to express your thoughts through art.”
Can you talk about the inspiration for this piece?
The inspiration came from life. Each spring the same robin (we know she’s the same because she has a small mark on her chest) shows up on our front porch, builds her nest and lays three eggs. Those beautiful blue eggs hatch and these bald babies appear. She starts feeding them immediately, and day-by-day they grow stronger, and those bald babies’ bodies sprout feathers. The feedings are so special, how each one stretches their neck to be the first to grab the worm. Within a few days, the babes stand up on the rim of the nest, and one by one take flight. The first signs of spring complete.
What are you looking forward to in spring?
I love all the seasons on the East End. Spring is great out here. Few places can match the fields filled with sunflowers. I’ve painted the fresh strawberries that so many of us pick, and the apples, and fruits and veggies that fill the farmstands make such sensational photos and paintings, too.
And you recently started teaching painting classes at Hampton Bays Library, right?
Yes. I just started teaching kids ages 7 to 11. The name of the course is “We Are All Artists.” My job is to give each kid some of the tools to capture what their minds can create. They’ve been terrific to work with. In April, I’m teaching painting to seniors. I’ll be using the exact same subjects to paint with both the kids and the seniors. It should be fascinating to see the results.
Have you learned anything from the kids?
I do learn from them. They have no worries about “looking good.” I shot fresh picked strawberries in a bright yellow colander. We worked with primary colors that session. One girl painted a dozen strawberries, each a different color, and above she floated the three primary colored strawberries, red, yellow and blue. “These are their babies,” she said. That’s art.
Do you generally work from photographs?
I usually work from photos. I need the time to develop the images. I was in the advertising business for many years, and I was also a film director for over 20 years, mostly commercials, so I see an image, capture it on film, and then I paint it.
Your website has a section devoted to your paintings of koi. What draws you to koi as a subject?
I’ve been raising koi. I started with two. I now have two ponds, and over 100 koi. They are so sensual to watch, so graceful and beautiful beyond description. I photograph them over and over until I’m satisfied that I have captured their motion and beauty. Then I paint them. I have many koi paintings, and I will paint many more.
Where do you find inspiration on the East End?
Inspiration is everywhere on the East End, every season. It sounds corny when you read those words, but very few places give you so many options.
Where can readers purchase your work?
I sell my work privately, by appointment only.