Lynne Kaiser has been producing original watercolor painting since 1994. Born in Brooklyn, she developed luxury communities in the 1990s and channeled her passion for art into logo design for developments in Florida and Tennessee. In addition to membership in a number of Capital District and national art associations, she is on the Colonie Art League Board of Directors, serving as budget chair and in charge of publicity.
Q: What is the Colonie Art League and what is its mission?
A: The Colonie Art League is a not-for profit association. It was founded in 1974 by a group of area artists to further the advancement of visual arts. Among its guiding principles are the increase of public awareness of original art produced in the Capital District, the presentation of educational programs for artists, and continued fundraising for donations to provide high school graduates with art scholarships, prizes, and awards, among other important causes. For example, at the onset of the pandemic, we raised funds to benefit the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York through our “Art for a Cause” virtual show. CAL members donated works which were displayed on the CAL website. All proceeds from the sale of these works were donated to the food bank.
Q: You are into watercolors. What do you most enjoy painting and why?
A: I love painting seascapes. My fondest memories harken to being on the water — bungalow days at Rockaway Beach in the 1950s, fishing in Maine’s Lake Rangely, surfing in Malibu, boating in Miami Beach, river rafting in Montego Bay, snorkeling in the Florida Keys, vacationing on a pontoon boat in Silver Glen, Florida, floating around Lake George in a raft with grandkids and Yorkies in tow — these cherished memories provide enough subjects and inspiration for decades of painting.
I also collect and paint art deco vintage radios.
Q: What tips or advice do you have to a burgeoning artist?
A: 1. Take a class or workshop. I had been aimlessly painting for decades until I met Kriss Woodward. Kris offers a weekly workshop at a reasonable cost. The class usually begins with a 15-minute black and white drawing of a still life scene set up by Kris. This discipline forced me to improve my drawing technique. The beginning of most successful watercolor paintings begins with a good drawing.
2. Join an art league. (Or two or three!) The Capital District is blessed with several great art associations. In addition to CAL, there is the Bethlehem Art Association, the Schenectady Art Society, and the Southern Saratoga Art Society. The membership fees to join each of these groups are quite low ($30-$45 per year,) and the benefits are innumerable. Each of these groups offers a little something different. Monthly demonstrations by prominent artists, venues for member artists to exhibit work, judged shows for competition, and low-cost workshops are among the benefits provided by the associations. I binge-joined several art associations in 2020 with so many of the activities taking place on Zoom. The art groups have done a great job of adjusting to the COVID environment with some events available in-person and some with online. Get involved, volunteer for an activity.’
3. Promote yourself. Don’t be shy about putting up a website. If you are on a budget, there are website hosts that cater to the needs of artists for a reasonable cost. They are build-your-own-site oriented and guide you through the process of creating a professional site in a user-friendly fashion.
Q: When you look at a blank canvas, what is going through your mind?
A: It would be a rare occurrence for me to face a blank canvas. My ideas for paintings are always percolating through my brain. In the course of everyday existence as a legal assistant and property manager, or even if I’m walking my dog, I encounter possibilities for painting. I would love to say that I carry my sketchpad around so that I could do a quick drawing when I spot a potential subject. But my drawing is too slow and measured (literally) so I settle for cell phone camera photos. When I get back to my studio, I sketch from the photo. Then I work out the colors, sometimes doing multiple color charts for the concept. I place these materials — photo, sketch, and color chart — in a large envelope and file it away for future use. This is my process. Last Spring, I was walking my dog in The Crossings of Colonie when I came upon a group of men sitting in a circle in front of the Veteran’s Memorial. I approached them and asked if they were veterans. They said, “Yes, we are Vietnam veterans.” I asked if I may take their picture. They agreed, hence the subject of my next painting was realized. I called the painting “Thank You for Your Service” and entered it in the BAA Fall Show where it won an award.
Q: Who is your favorite artist — alive or dead — and if you were to have lunch what would you talk about?
A: This is a bit of a “cheat,” but I have two favorites, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 to 1851) and Edouard Manet (1832 to 1833.) Both painted a significant number of seascapes; both were innovators, and both were commercially successful in their lifetimes. Because their techniques and choice of subject matter were often considered radical, Turner and Manet were, at times, ostracized by the establishment. Turner’s works were sometimes relegated to an inferior room or position at the Royal Academy, and Manet’s “The Luncheon in the Grass” was rejected by the Paris Salon in 1863, prompting him to exhibit the painting at the Salon des Refuses (Salon of the Rejected.) If I had the opportunity to lunch with them, I would want to know their thoughts on the art that was yet to come. What do they think of the Fauvist Movement, in particular Henri Matisse’s brilliant use of color? What about Abstract Expressionism? Is Jackson Pollock’s “drip” technique a “legitimate” art form? I would ask Manet if he was inspired by Turner’s “Fisherman at Sea” (1796) a nocturnal, nautical moonlit scene when he painted, “Moonlight, Boulogne” (1869.) I would ask Turner for tips on marketing myself. Turner, unlike Manet, came from a lower middle-class background but this did not deter him from becoming as brilliant an entrepreneur as he was an artist. Turner was a master of self-promotion, exhibiting his work in his own gallery.
Finally, I would ask Manet to pick up the check as it was his idea to go to the fancy French restaurant.
If would like to see someone featured in Five Questions contact Jim Franco at 518-878-1000 or [email protected]