“Fall has always been my favorite time of year,” painter and art teacher Shain Bard told us on the occasion of her last Dan’s Papers cover, an early autumn issue last year. The passion for this season is clearly still strong for Bard, who has worked with the Art League of Long Island and studied at Hunter College and Lehman College.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
I have always loved deer, and thought them to be inherently gentle and elegant, though a hunter friend of mine has said those bucks can be pretty fierce and inelegant. But who wouldn’t be when they are being shot at or fending for themselves in the wild? I first started painting deer a few years ago when I saw a picture of a lovely, innocent deer accompanying an article about the culling of deer on the East End because of an over-population and “nuisance” problem.
While I am not unsympathetic to these problems, I could not condone the free-for-all killing of deer. At any rate, my way of dealing with anything challenging and visually pleasing to me in life is to paint it, and then it becomes an intimate part of me and I of it. So I started painting deer, and continued painting them for a year or so, with maybe about seven or eight of them, from pictures I found in hunting magazines—which were very hard for me to look at—or from photos I took or friends took for me when they saw them.
This particular deer was painted to accompany a companion painting of a doe I did, which someone I know bought, and who now owns both of them.
Talk about the challenges and rewards of teaching art.
I have always loved teaching art, as it is a way of paying it forward, and what better gift in life than to pass along my passion for art to new students just exploring the territory for the first time? And teaching is definitely a two-way street, as I learn as much from my students as they might learn from me. We are all students for life, right?
How do you feel about autumn on the East End?
I have not been lucky enough to have been on the East End in autumn, except for one weekend many years ago, but I remember that as quite wonderful, as it is actually wonderful anywhere in autumn, always a sheer delight. The summer crowds are gone, and nature in her wisdom is ready for change, and what a display she gives us, an ever turning kaleidoscope of subtly emerging complementary colors, the air crisp and exciting with momentum of moving on.
Some people find fall depressing because it’s the end of growth, the dying actually, with cold winter ahead, but I love both fall and winter because I love to paint fall’s warm colors and winter’s blues and lavenders in snow, plus I find the “skeletons” of winter’s bare trees fascinating in their forms and shapes rather than summer’s large masses of heavy, dull green leaves. I am also a night person, so maybe that has something to do with it, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer things, too—I mean, who doesn’t like flowers?—but there are enough flower paintings in the world, I’d rather paint crumpled amber and burnt sienna leaves and sun splotching pinkly on blue and lavender snow, and the quirky positive and negative shapes in winter trees’ branches.
See Shain Bard’s work at Roslyn Village Gallery, 1470 Old Northern Boulevard, Roslyn.