By Mark Reynolds
In the past few years local Highland artist Beth Walters-Storyk has been devoting her time to creating very personal and colorful works of art in her studio. Last week, for the first time, she displayed a number of her paintings at Lilly Rae in the Hamlet in a show she calls “The Colors and Curves of Nature; Bodies and Blooms.” The painting and drawings showcase Beth’s work in a variety of mediums: oil on canvas, charcoal, walnut oil on paper, watercolors as well as gauche and oil on paper.
The store is located at 50 Vineyard Avenue in Highland and Beth’s paintings will be up through September 1.
In a program for the exhibit, Beth wrote that, “Now is the time for full circle blending of my passions of color and texture, travel, and painting. My love of textiles and texture is very evident.” She is referring to her educational and career experiences, having been a founding member in the Walters-Storyk Design Group [WSDG], an international company specializing in Architectural Acoustic Consulting & Media Systems Engineering.
“I was the technical interior designer for many years for WSDG [1990-2022] and actually I am not doing that anymore and painting is what I do,” she said. “To make a long story short, it’s 35 years later and I am back to painting again, which makes me very happy.”
Beth has always been a painter. In 1970 she graduated from the High School of Music and Art in New York City. In 1972 she earned an Associate of Applied Science [AAS] from the Fashion Institute of Technology and in 1976 a Bachelor of Fine Art [BFA] in Product Design, also from FIT.
Beth recalled that her interest in art began in the 6th grade.
“It was a brick fireplace and I remember putting it up and everybody making a fuss about it,” she said. “Then I went to the High School of Music and Art on West 135th Street and had five periods of art a day; it was fantastic. That was an amazing experience in the 1960s.”
Reflecting on her art over the years, Beth said, “I think my style has gotten much more sophisticated and toned now from the fine art that I did before. I was trained as a textile designer who drew a lot of flowers; that was the job, almost like botanical studies. That I was really good at, but now I kind of capture my kid’s bouquets of flowers when they send them to me. A lot of these pieces are just what was sent to me.”
Beth seeks inspiration through travel and hones her skills by taking classes from several instructors she admires. She has a studio in Highland, another in North Carolina and a third in Mexico, “and wherever I am, that’s what I do, I paint.” Beth said in the immediate future she wants to create works on larger canvases.
Beth met her husband John Storyk in 1985 and began working on the interior designs for their clients recording studios. She laughs, saying “he needed help, everything was going brown and studios were very wood, rust red and looked all the same.” She recalled that this was at a time when clients wanted more of a personality for their recording spaces.
“I was able to bring that out of a client and deliver to them the palette and the colors that made their studios unique to them,” she said.
John said he had been warned that Beth wanted to return to painting, “and one day I walked in and she had emptied her office and I had a momentary ‘honey, oh no.’ It looked like a bomb blew up, everything was in boxes. She said I told you I was going to do this someday and it’s today, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not an idea, it’s actually today and by the end of the day her stuff was gone and she was up in her painting studio. This is what she does day to day. This is a brand new chapter.”
Store owner Renae Martin said she came to know Beth through her husband when they were working at events at the Walkway Over the Hudson. After visiting Beth’s studio to view her paintings. “I said they are beautiful and I said we need to do a whole art exhibit and she had never done it and I thought it was a great opportunity. I love it and this is what I want to be, a little bit of everything and bring in artists that will bring more attention to the hamlet as well as my business.”
For more information, Beth can be visited at her website: bethwaltersstoryk.com.