Artist Ann Marie Kenny recently brought a sampling of her watercolor paintings to the Highland Library as part of their Special Events series.
“I’ve been painting this style for about six years,” she said. “I painted in high school and I got away from it because of my career, but now that I am semi-retired I got into watercolors.”
Kenny loves to paint landscapes from scenes in the Hudson Valley and along the river. She often takes photos of a scene she wants to later paint and is currently a member of a weekly art class in Rhinebeck, under the tutelage of Betsy Jacaruso. Kenny said painting, “is very therapeutic for me, it’s very calming and soothing. I really enjoy the creative aspect of it and being able to interpret something and put it on paper so it can bring joy to others as well.”
Kenny said painting watercolors takes a lot of practice to master.
“It’s a matter of getting your paint and water at the right balance,” she said. “Too watery and it can run and not enough it’s pasty.”
Kenny said every water colorist has a different style.
“Some paint in more detail and some paint more loosely where you can actually see some of the water effects on the paper,” she said.
Kenny displayed a few of her paintings at the showing: a month of May Peony, the Majestic Hudson looking north from the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge, Stickley’s Barn in Rhinebeck, Kayaking at Sunset, the Gloucester Shores in Maine and a 1961 view of the skyline of New York City.
Kenny said some paintings simply do not turn out as she had envisioned but in the long run believes this is helpful for an artist.
“You can be your own worst enemy sometimes but I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself,” she said.
Kenny said there is so much to paint in the Hudson Valley.
“You can capture anything like a barn, the river, the trees, a fly Fisherman and the Rondout in Kingston,” she said. “I just think our area has so many beautiful places.”
Kenny is considering teaching some art classes at the library in the future.
“If I can inspire somebody to paint I’d be very happy,” she said. “You never know what kind of talent is out there.”
VP of the Highland Library Board Darlene Plavchak invited Kenny to be a part of the Special Events Series. She said the library would like to continue showcasing local artists from Highland.
Plavchak said Kenny is a personal friend and encouraged her to bring her artwork to the library. She had Kenny contact Library Director Julie Kelsall-Dempsey, “and it snowballed from there. We’re hoping that this is the first exhibit of many to showcase our local artists in any medium; music, readings, plays and we should encourage them to come to our library.”
Director Kelsall-Dempsey said hosting additional artists, such as authors, craft artisans and musicians, was a part of the initial program planning for the library.
“We know there are many talented people in our community whose work we would like to showcase first before we get people from other communities,” she said. “We were very fortunate to have Ann Marie; her work is beautiful.”
Kelsall-Dempsey said she is also thinking about reaching out to the Highland School District to see if they wish to have their student artists come to the Library to show their work.
“These are definitely things we would like to see here,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity and we have the space, so it’s something we want to do more of.”