Artist of the Month: Maria Augelli-Grudeski

Artist of the Month - Maria A_G

Maria Augelli-Grudeski is shown with her featured painting, Mount Sainte Victore, after one by Paul Cezanne.

By Maria Augelli-Grudeski

I began painting in 2013, when I joined the group at Dunmore Activity Hub’s class. I remember one January night in 2013, my friend Rosemary Barrett, who is one of my art classmates, invited me to join the Hub’s art class. She said, “I have something you’ll enjoy!”

Rosemary and I had participated on the library board and Mostly Opera, so this was our third venture together.

I met Rosemary at the class, and she surprised me with art supplies, and gave me guidance. What a new passion opened up for me, along with everlasting friendships.

Our art instructor, Jill Swersie, was, and still is, so personable and welcoming. She directed me to seek art ideas from life, nature (we have fresh air sessions outside), family, and places I’ve visited. Mostly she encourages us to have fun with it.

Two friends of mine, who are former art teachers, have served as an inspiration to me. One is Louise Ray Hoban, my high school art teacher, with whom I have recently reconnected. The other is Janice Nappi, a long-time friend who brought paints to my poolside.

My first painting in art class was a sunset in winter, which required a great deal of help from Jill. Since I enjoy Impressionism, I tried that in my feature painting, “Mont Sainte-Victoire,” originally painted by French artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). I like the free lines and expression. In sixth grade, my teacher brought a copy of this painting in to our class and I’ve been inspired since. I think we had to memorize the painting and learn about the artist. It had a sing-song title.

Also in the photo is “The Grand Jete,” a portrait of a ballerina inspired by The Nutcracker, probably in “The Waltz of the Flowers.” Finally, there is “Starry Night,” inspired by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh’s painting (1853-1889). What a production that was! My classmate, Pat Riley, came to my rescue with a paint spatula, which saw me through.

In sixth grade, my teacher brought a copy of this painting in to our class and I’ve been inspired since. I think we had to memorize the painting and learn about the artist. It had a sing-song title.

All in all, every class is worth it. The center provides a welcoming atmosphere. We have tea time and tasty snacks. Our center’s director, Alison Boga, is a breath of fresh air. She is so instrumental to the center’s smooth flow.

During the holidays we have a holiday party and in the summer we have a barbeque, along with fall and spring art shows which coincide with Scranton’s First Fridays.

Our spouses are invited, and my husband, John Grudeski, who is also a HUB member, enjoyed the events and meeting our class members.

This class is just a grand time for all!

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