My art career

... tracing a path with oils and watercolors

by Alice Graham

I decided to get serious about art in 1975 and joined a small class led by Wakefield artist Bill Velmure. He and his wife took groups on painting safaris in Africa and, although he painted many New England scenes, his main delight was in painting African wildlife.

Bill had a method of teaching that I liked -- he urged his students to buy only the best materials and to try new techniques. Also, he never touched a brush to a student's painting. My four years' experience in art school -- with black and gray washes (for newspaper fashion illustrations) came to my aid as I now worked with shaded hues of color. My very first watercolor painting was the "Red Wagon".

During the following years, I attended classes with prominent artists from the Cape Ann area. The first art show that I ever attended was the North Suburban Art Show at the American Mutual Insurance Company in Wakefield in 1976 and my first Rockport painting, "Harbor Vista", was chosen to be in their 1977 calendar. "Red Wagon" was in their calendar ten years later.

Watercolors were my main interest, but later I was fortunate to attend oil painting classes in Gloucester with Ted Goershner and John Terelak, both excellent oil painters. I enjoyed those classes immensely and found oils to be worth the challenge. Once, at a frame shop in Melrose, I spotted an absolutely marvelous large painting of the Boston Public Garden by John Terelak, unframed and resting on an easel. I was surprised to learn that it was actually a print -- original Terelak paintings are rare and very expensive.

Besides having my work in the annual Reading Art and other area shows, I've participated in three Melrose Art Festivals. As you can see, art has been a large part of my life. Although my work pales in comparison with my Aunt Marion's, I'm pleased with what I've accomplished. That artistic talent and attention to detail, which has come down through the Patten family, is evident in my children and grandchildren.

Editor's note: Alice, who was a charter member of the Melrose group called "The Atelier" was the "Artist of the Month" at the Miter Biter Frame Shop, Melrose in 1996. She was also the featured artist at the Melrose Public Library in 1991, and participated in the Melrose Arts Festival in 1995.     

March 2, 2007 or
April 6, 2007


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