Every work of art has a unique story—some come together in a burst of inspiration, others take years to fully form. Ilene Silberstein shares the story of this week’s cover, “A French Moment,” which began years ago with the purchase of a tablecloth.
Tell us about “A French Moment” and the inspiration behind it.
Many years ago, I bought a lovely tablecloth on a bike ride in Provence, France. I knew when I bought it that someday it would be part of a painting. Years later, I was buying flowers to paint, and the moment I saw the tulips, I knew that they belonged on top of that tablecloth—in a painting. A lovely afternoon in Provence, sitting in a garden with flowers and trees and maybe a good glass of wine, all came together to motivate.
What does your artistic process typically look like, and was it any different for this particular piece?
I am inspired by the beauty of nature in many forms. I may see a beautiful flower in a field and paint it the next day, or I may carry around that inspiration for years until a particular sight or event generates the moment to start a painting. “A French Moment” evolved over years.
What makes this piece such an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?
We are starting to feel and see the life and color of spring all along the East End. And as we emerge from the pandemic, color is coming back to our lives. The colors in “A French Moment” feel vibrant, happy and with promise of better times and a period of renewal.
What inspires you most as an artist, either in general or at this moment in time?
I am driven to create—be it oil painting, mosaics, pastels, gardening and more. The growth, piece by piece, of a painting or a planting energizes me. It is the beauty of nature in its many forms, such as a new bud and a withering flower both have their own beauty.
What are your favorite spots on the East End during the spring, and do these locales appear in your work?
The shorelines of the Peconic near me in Cutchogue are an always-changing canvas near to me. The lavender fields are a seasonal favorite along with the many farms of the North Fork. There are so many undiscovered possibilities here on the East End that I look forward to exploring. And often, walking out the back door into my vegetable and flower gardens is all I need for motivation.