Donna Petrangelo - Pastel Paintings

Showing at the gallery January 5th through March 1st 2016

Donna Petrangelo

Artist Statement

The seeds of my passion for painting lie in the past—on the shores of Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. During the fifties, our area, known as Silver Bay (formerly Mosquito Cove!), consisted of summer cottages and a small number of year-around homes, all of which were surrounded by marshes and cattails. Each season brought its own changing beauty, but it was the idyllic summer days that I spent sailing or skimming across the bay in a small motor boat that have had the most impact on my painting. These days seemed to have an almost infinite space. It was impossible not to be aware of the ever-changing light and the intimate relationship between sea and sky.

However, when I think back to these days, I clearly can identify another influence on my painting. The older sister of one of my friends was, in my opinion, a very talented artist. Every time I entered her house, I admired her watercolors, many of which she had copied from Christmas cards or Currier and Ives prints. The fact that her paintings were not based on original ideas did nothing to lessen my appreciation of them. They were beautiful! The thought of personally attempting to capture such lovely scenes never crossed my mind, however, until many years later.

Having had no formal art training, my initial painting endeavors revolved around watercolor courses offered through local art associations. From 1980 on, I showed my watercolors in juried shows in Plymouth, Duxbury, and Marshfield, and in 2007 I was juried in as an artist in the Plymouth Center for the Arts’ Russell Gallery.

When my son went to college in Vermont, serendipity played a role in guiding me in a new direction. I fell in love with the pastels of Vermont artist Daryl Storrs and invested in a rather expensive box of pastels.

I found, however, that pastel was not the easiest medium to pursue and would have given up, had it not been for my initial monetary investment. Fortunately, I acted on a whim and asked local artist and instructor Heidi Mayo if she ever offered pastel classes to adults. Thus, I began an exciting, challenging, at times frustrating, and rewarding venture into the world of pastel painting. Since then I have learned a great deal from the wonderful group of artists known as the Tarkiln painters and from Donna Rossetti-Bailey’s insightful critiques and generous encouragement.

A walk downtown or to the beach at the end of my street reveals countless potential subjects—a dinghy at low tide, the morning sun on a white house, fishing boats at rest. Like watercolor, pastel can produce subtle, beautiful variations in color while retaining luminosity, making it possible to capture the beauty and mood of a given moment in time.