This week’s Dan’s Papers North Fork cover art was painted by Charlene Lavinia and depicts the maritime Village of Greenport. Here, the artist discusses the beauty of the North Fork, her representative art style and her background in teaching.
What inspired you to paint the Momentum in “Greenport Harbor in Moonlight” and was this done plein air or in your studio?
In the summer of 2010, I was photographing Greenport at night to use as painting research. The Momentum happened to be docked by Preston’s and was irresistible as subject matter in the full moon. I took several photos of the schooner and worked on it in the studio.
How did you decide on the painting’s composition, colors and other design details?
The setting really composed itself — the subject, the lighting, the forms and the point of view. It had focus, movement and interesting detail. I emphasized the cool lighting of the moonlight and its reflection as it contrasted with the warm lights on the dock and boat.
What do you find most enjoyable about painting North Fork landscapes and seascapes?
The landscapes and seascapes of the North Fork are so plentiful and varied. I am attracted to all of the subject matter, but I particularly enjoy how the strong mid-morning and late afternoon lighting dramatically emphasizes the color and forms of the farms, vineyards, orchards and beaches.
How would you describe your art style and how did you develop it?
My style is representative. I was first trained as a “commercial” artist in the late ’60s. In that era of pre-digital photography, artists were trained to meticulously render merchandise for publication. I have almost apologetically retained much of that technique.
Not counting this cover, what is one artistic achievement that you’re proud of?
I entered a night scene of the Lambertville Station Restaurant (Lambertville, NJ) in its 25th anniversary art show and sale. The show featured the work of very talented and well-established artists, so I was amazed and honored that my work not only was awarded “Best in Show” but also was purchased by the owner of the restaurant.
What is one short-term or long-term artistic goal you’d like to achieve?
I’ve done some night scenes of the East End but I would like to develop an entire series of paintings on the subject. Most of my subjects have been structural so I’d like to add landscape to the works.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional information?
After briefly training as a commercial artist, I decided to become an art teacher. I hold degrees in art education and thoroughly enjoyed teaching high school fine arts (drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture) for 34 years. My biography and additional work can be found at