Lets go back in time and have some fun. Pretend you are 5 years old. No really, I’ll wait. Are you 5 yet? Perfect, now let’s play a game called I Spy. I’ll start. “I spy with my little eye…a beautiful autumn birch tree, a Tuscan pathway, Vermont cows, a harbor view and a ballet recital.” Can you find any of those items? Of course not silly!
In order for that to happen, you would’ve had to attend, “Works” by Gretchen Prater at The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties on Thursday, December 8th, 2016. It was a fantastic turnout with her artwork selling within the first thirty minutes.
While most five year olds were playing hide-and-seek, tag and jumping rope, Gretchen Prater honed in on her passion early. “I think I’ve been painting since I was five. And so you know, it just was an outlet for me. It was a safe place for me to go in my life. I just love to paint. I love to draw – you know the way children do. And I just stuck with it,” she expressed.
And stuck with it she did, as she is now a landscape and portrait artist. Gretchen received her BFA from Stephens College after years spent studying oil paintings, watercolor and pastels with art masters Charles Reid, Wolf Khan and Timothy Clark. As an on-location artist, Gretchen’s collection allowed us to tour Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Nantucket, Wyoming, Montana, France, and Italy.
When you look at Gretchen’s collection, you’ll notice something. Time slows down. Not only does it slow down but you start to reflect. You find yourself admiring the simplicity and beauty of nature. You’ll gain an understanding of the layers in the atmosphere that are tiny particles of matter. Her landscape paintings are so mesmerizing, it will make you want to put an Out of Office autoresponder email message up, in the hopes that you can jump into the pictures for a much needed vacation.
While asked about her inspiration, Gretchen mentioned her four children and nine grandchildren, “Anytime I see them, they just inspire me. I mean I’ve got a painting that I’m working on right now of one of my grandchildren, and I’m sure I’ll finish before Christmas. It just – they capture the spirit of childhood. The looking of the world from a different point of view. From all innocence and love.”
Situated between her two favorite paintings in the collection, she chose her daughter and grandkids.
Most of her portrait painting are of her relatives, but Gretchen is fully aware of her role in society today. “As an artist, you know right now with the things that are going on – especially you know in the East and what’s happening with the migrants. And there’s another little passion that I have… one of the things that I’m going to be doing is, hopefully starting a class for these children that are foster children to come once a month to the art museum of Montclair and give them an art class, so that they can feel better about themselves. So you know that would be something that I can give back.”
And while many of us gave up after the stick figure phase of drawing, Gretchen is living proof that dreams come true by taking her own advice. “Don’t give up. My passion is art. I think just to um not to give up. To try and find faith and hope in what [you’re] doing and to continue to move on. I know it’s not so easy but its – don’t give up and keep trying.”
You can find more of Gretchen Prater’s artwork at the Montclair Art Museum and EuroArt in Montclair, Silvermine Art School in Connecticut, Chase Bank in Manhattan, and the Rose Center in Morristown, Tennessee. And if you happened to miss this opening, no worries! Gretchen has another showing on January 11, 2017.
for Team Ellenbogen
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