gGerry ZanettiAs a writer with an artist’s bent, I know what it is to have a desire for art. For me, it brings together the sum total of my being. Sometimes it’s about skewing ordinary reality into another vision; sometimes it’s about capturing a great moment in time; as a writer it’s about sculpting an idea into a completed form, with all of the pieces working together to resonate with truth.

Not only does art satisfy my desire for self-expression, it fulfills my need to bring order upon experience. Art allows me to take that leap of the imagination and arrive at some place in an unpredictable universe, knowing that regardless, I will be safe.

For each of us who create art, the process is a very personal one, triggered by any number of impulses. The more artists that you talk to, the more you realize there is no right or wrong way to do it. What is the reference point from which your world view begins to expand and becomes a work of art in the making?

This weekend I went to the Greenwood Lake Library’s Art Extravaganza, which brought together eight artists, whose work had been on display previously as solo exhibits at the library. Pat Foxx, who has exhibited and taught for many years in the area, was the first artist I spoke to.  She shared with me her current work: a series of acrylics that depict dreamy landscapes that are on display at the Seligmann Center for the Arts with a reception on Sunday, 5/5, from 2 - 5 p.m. Pat’s also a seasoned art instructor, watercolorist, and works at Fine Architectural Metalsmiths.  I enjoyed viewing her portfolio of earlier work, when she was a professional fabric artist for 17 years. For Pat she says, "Looking within has become more important than representing the outside world. My work has become more abstract over time. But my love for nature prevails."

Arthur Patrick Gilmore is a fine watercolorist who has refined his art over many years. Traces of his earlier education, with an emphasis on abstract expressionism, can be found in his current art, an exhibition focused on the street life of NYC. His paintings center around people mingling and moving, capturing NYC’s unique energy. Gilmore says that “Creating art is about staying in the here and now; it’s not about arriving at some destination in the future.”

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Leila Noueihed’s work I found interesting in terms of blending her sense of expressionism with realism.  An experimental artist (is not all art experimental) focused on creating landscapes, Leila is also a Renaissance woman, with a rich linguistic background, a medical degree and a love for music. Despite not having any training as an artist, her natural abilities have taken her far and speak to the idea that if you have something you want to express, express it, even if it is raw and untamed.

Gerry Zanetti’s fine photography stands alone in terms of his unique focus: Close-up shots of food. Very commercially viable, Gerry spent a career shooting food for a long list of clients. As someone who appreciates good close-ups, I marveled at Gerry’s photos and their attention to detail, use of lighting and the way in which he captured the essence of a wide variety of food. Looking at an entire body of work from his website, I am convinced that Gerry has mastered his art form.

Other artists whose work I viewed included , Mustafa Al-Rahaman, Melissa Reichert, and Danielle Barbour. With a couple of these artists it was interesting to note how travel inspires art, as in the paintings of Levistsky and the photography of Reichert. Barbour produces a wide range of art, following her many passions including writing, sculpting, painting, inventing and model building. Mustafa is autistic and his work seems to capture a very colorful interior world.

Art is a great way to give meaning to our lives. I know. After I complete my week in review, I feel refreshed, knowing that I took the time to process an experience and create a small work of art.

Art for its own sake fulfills a need in me that seems to calm a restless energy. Once that desire is satiated, I feel more complete.