This week’s charming cover was created by artist Charlene Lavinia. Here, she discusses her detailed process, upcoming projects and more.
What moment inspired this week’s cover art, “Mattea and James,” and how did the initial concept develop in your studio?
Mattea and James are my grandchildren and one day my daughter-in-law texted the photo of them at the beach after school. When I saw the photo, I was inspired to paint it because of the excitement the children showed.
The final painting (which is a fictional narrative) resulted from a series of decisions I made in the studio. When I started working on the composition, the surf didn’t seem to show as much movement as the children exhibited so I photographed the surf at Shinnecock to add a little more drama and because the surf photos had some gulls, I researched some gulls and added them to the work. One change just kept leading to another until I had a very different composition and narrative from the original image. Hoping that my daughter-in-law wouldn’t be too surprised or disappointed at the changes, I made a very rough sketch to show her what I had in mind.
What is your favorite aspect of the finished painting?
I, of course, enjoy the children. Even though there is no facial representation of them, their forms, energy and the relationship between the two of them is very revealing of their personalities.
Do you consider your art style and process to be still evolving or mostly set?
Both my style and my process have evolved over the years. Although I’m still very representational because of early training in illustration, my comfort level with technique has increased. I am also inclined to take liberties with my work to improve composition or content which I would never have done in my earlier work.
What do you find most personally rewarding about creating and sharing your art?
It has only been in recent years that I have enjoyed sharing my work publicly. Being accepted in juried shows and receiving some honors has given me confidence to more openly share my work. The acceptance and apparent appreciation have been rewarding and motivating.
What upcoming art events, exhibitions or other projects are you working toward now?
I most recently exhibited in the juried East End Art show 50 Reasons Why and I am currently one of over 75 artists participating in the Bucks County Wine and Art Trail coordinated by Visit Bucks County and the Arts and Cultural Council of Bucks County in Pennsylvania.
What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming East End summer?
The summers are always a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family on the East End … and paint.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional information?
In all fairness and affection, I am including paintings of my other two grandchildren. The three paintings here are from what I would call “My Covid Collection.” Although the pandemic was disruptive and tragic for some, I found the long periods of uninterrupted time very conducive to painting. Thank you to Dan’s Papers for the opportunity to share this work
To see more of Charlene Lavinia’s work, visit charlenelavinia.com.