Maple Leaf Art Gallery

I was born in Glen Head, New York, into a large family. Although I took the usual art classes that are offered in High Schools, a serious interest in painting developed only after High School. While working as a cardiac technician at a Long Island hospital, I discovered the magnificent body of work by John Singer Sargent, and then found myself intrigued by other wonderful painters, such as John Carlson, whose influence on a later generation of artists was profound, and handed down by a great book on landscape painting. Willard Metcalf, a painter of the Connecticut River Valley, Emil Gruppe, a specialist in coastal scenes, Aldro Hibbard, a Vermont outdoor painter, and Paul Strisik, a great painter with a gallery in Rockport, Massachusetts, were influential in my decision to study painting myself. The color and light in the Spanish painter Sorolla and the draftsmanship and impressionistic brushwork of Nikolai Fechin added to my enthusiasm for painting myself.

I began by attending night classes in painting by Harold Stevenson, who had studied in West Arlington, Vermont with Norman Rockwell, and, after about five years, with Everitt Molinari for a year, before I began study with Joseph Occhipinti, who became my mentor and an influence on how I look at the essential qualities of what makes a fine painting. In 1977 I relocated to Massachusetts, where my husband and I have restored a lovely 135 year old house. A renovated barn on the property fulfilled a long-time dream of having my own art gallery, and is the home of Maple Leaf Art Gallery.

From this base in the Berkshires, I have easy access to the kind of subject matter I most love... weathered old barns, fields that catch the light of a fading afternoon sun, glistening lakes and streams, old trucks that tell of hard, honest work in the patina of age that has settled over them. I make frequent trips to other areas of New England in company with other painters, where another person's viewpoint helps to clarify my own response to new pictorial possibilities.

I am a member of the National Art League, Douglaston, New York, the Kent, Connecticut Art Association, Sheffield Art League of Sheffield, Massachusetts, and the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester, Vermont. I have won a number of prizes in shows by groups such as these, but my greatest interest and satisfaction lies in capturing on canvas the feeling of respect and love I have for the beauty of nature.

Joan Mentzinger
Mailing Address: PO Box 197, North Egremont, MA 01252
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