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Creating lasting impressions

Creating Lasting Impressions, April 2018 Cape Cod LIFE | capecodlife.com

“Race Point Dunes,” 18” x 12”

Avenia met Prol when they both lived in New Jersey, where she is originally from. She attended college at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she majored in commercial art and graphic design, going on to work as an art director in publishing. “Then, at the beginning of the desktop publishing revolution, I could see the writing on the wall; my job was not going to be around forever,” she recalls. So, being technically inclined, she started working in IT project management. “My professional career went that way, but I’ve always enjoyed painting and come back to it over and over again.”

Over the years Avenia has found herself particularly drawn to pastel. “I love pastels because they’re so vibrant and they’re so immediate—it’s instant gratification,” she says. “You put some color down and it’s like ‘Wow!’ It pops.” She credits her first pastel teacher in New Jersey, Dannielle Mick, as one of her greatest influences, as well as American Tonalists Wolf Kahn, Edgar Degas, and British artist David Hockney. Hockney’s book “A History of Pictures” proved to be particularly influential. “He talks about what was going on in the world at the time artists like Degas were painting and how they brought that into their paintings. It really gave me an appreciation for a sense of place,” she explains. “It’s all about, for me, a sense of place, and that place is Cape Cod.”

Avenia and Prol fell in love with the Cape while he was on a short-term training assignment at Camp Edwards on Joint Base Cape Cod, and they eventually decided to move here full time. “It’s really the light that drew me to the Cape—that perfect moment when the light is so gorgeous that it makes me want to paint something,” she says. “In New Jersey you don’t get such a big sky view—it’s so built up—but being by the water here, it’s just this huge horizon of sky, and it’s so beautiful.”

Avenia says she always looks at the sky when painting en plein air, observing how the clouds are influencing the light. She notes, “With plein air it’s important to work fairly quickly because the light’s changing all the time, and depending upon the time of day, you may have 20 minutes, you may have an hour, but anything longer than that, now your shadows have moved, and the color of the light’s changed.” If she’s pleased with her painting, she says she’ll take it back to her home studio and turn it into a larger piece.



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