Congratulations to our May Artist of the Month, Grace Mehan DeVito! She was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition! Her painting Pomegranate and Vines is below. Keep scrolling to read more about what inspires DeVito and what she hopes to do in the future as an artist!
Stamford, CT ~ www.gracedevito.com
I’ve always been interested in art. I studied illustration at The School Of Visual Arts in New York City in the mid 1980’s and the curriculum was not geared towards academic training. I can count on one hand how many life-drawing classes I had. Thanks to some talented teachers, (Michael Deas, Marvin Mattelson) I continued studying post graduation on my own while working as a freelance illustrator. I crossed path with a great painter, Laurel Boeck, and studied with her for a few years; she was and still is a great mentor and friend. I work full time on commissions and gallery paintings.
I work in oil paints on canvas and sometimes on panel, and I also draw in charcoal and graphite. Generally I am attracted to the beauty in nature; the way the light falls on a subject, an interesting silhouette or a color scheme. In this case it was the beauty of the pomegranate itself.
I usually have an idea in my head for a still life set-up but often it will change in the staging process. Once I’m happy, I may do a few rough sketches. Then I’ll start on the canvas, doing a quick line drawing or massing in a OMS thinned mix of burnt sienna and ultra marine blue. Once the layout is complete I start painting. Depending on the situation, I may thinly block in the entire picture or I may start in on a particular area and work that to a finish. I start with a block in, working out the form and details. Usually I like to finish as I go but sometimes, after getting further into a painting, I may need to go back and adjust an area that no longer looks right in relation to the rest. My palette consists of titanium white, lead white, cadmium yellow light, yellow ochre, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, ivory black and viridian. I sometimes add other colors as needed but I prefer to keep it simple. For mediums I use odorless mineral spirits in the beginning, then a mix of linseed oil and turpentine – about a 50/50 mix if needed – or sometimes I may use Liquin. I try to use as little medium as possible.
Depending on the subject or size I may work on a still life for a few days or up to a week. Portraits will take considerably longer, as there is more preparation and they are generally larger. Pomegranate and Vines took about a week. I hope to continue painting and growing as an artist. I’d like to take a month or so off from commissions and gallery paintings to travel around the world and paint landscapes.
Besides being moved by the beauty of nature, I have an innate desire to work with paint, to move it around. My goals or feelings may change from subject to subject but at the root of it, I love creating with paint.
My family has always been supportive of me, especially my husband who has made it easy for me to spend as much time as possible in the studio. I would like to thank my fellow artist and friend Laurel Boeck for her advice, friendship and honest critiques. Also a big thanks to the galleries and artist representatives who show and promote my work.
The Artist’s Magazine is a prestigious magazine with a large circulation, so entering in the contest was a no brainer. There are countless talented artists out there who can paint in the realist tradition; the competition is tough, so being recognized is truly an honor.