A Master Paints the Masters

A Master Paints the Masters

As is often the case, art inspires art and artists inspire artists.

At the University of Vermont, Candace Lovely became mesmerized by the works of accomplished painters, most specifically her personal discovery of Winslow Homer. So moved by his work, she longed to paint like him and asked her professor at the time, “who can teach me how to do that?” The answer he gave was “no one.”

This was in part a commentary on the fact that no contemporary artists were truly teaching the practices and technique of the great Masters, and in part saying that level of talent cannot be taught.

Lovely wasn’t deterred – on the contrary, she was spurred on, starving to learn from the best of the best. She accomplished this, graduating with a bachelor’s and teaching certificate from the University of Vermont and progressing to the famed Boston School where she advanced her training at “America’s oldest continuing school of painting,” studying at the Ateliers of Robert Cormier and Paul Ingbretson at Fenway Studios.

This drive to study, to learn, to train and evolve as influenced by the artists she finds the most inspiring has never waned, and is woven into her backstory behind the creation of a large portion of her expansive (and ever-growing) repertoire. For almost every one of her pieces, Lovely could tell the story of the painting or artist who influenced some portion of her decision making or inspired some arc of her brush.

Take for instance Lovely’s painting Afternoon Novel, depicting a woman reading on the rocks at Biddeford Pool in Maine. Telling the story of this painting’s creation Lovely begins by recalling a visit to the Frick Museum in 1982 to view the Fair Women Collection.

So enamored of the images of these women, she was stirred to “paint women in dresses.” Further moved by a trip to the National Portrait Gallery and seeing the piece Southern Rock Riffs, Appledore by Childe Hassam, she wanted to paint not just women in dresses, but paint them among the rocks, in love with the juxtaposition between the dramatic, solid cliffs of stone and the soft billowing folds of long summer dresses and peaceful poses. Hardly a more peaceful repose can be found than a figure lounging seaside, buried in a book.

Of course, Lovely takes care to make this piece her own. Spawned by the inspiration of art she’s consumed, still it’s interpreted entirely as a “Lovely” work of art, replete with trademark trimmings. The parasol, Nantucket basket, and wide-brimmed hat with bow, are all arranged in a compositional energy of diagonals, from the angle of the primary figure to the crashing of the waves.

Lovely says of the figure, “I cut my teeth on this model (Leesa),” who would go on to become the artist’s longest standing subject. One of so many Fair Women creations in Lovely’s collection, this one the artist says brings her a personal degree of peace and calm, which is why it currently remains in her personal home collection.


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