Friday, November 7, 2014

Artist Spotlight: Gay Paratore

Gay Paratore of Santa Fe, TX, is this month's Spotlight Artist. If you would like to be in the spotlight, please email your information to Anna at

Artist Biography: 
Artist Gay Paratore

Gay Paratore was born and educated in Galveston, Texas.  She has taught art at all levels and is a former Art Department Head of Alvin Community College. She also taught art history at College of the Mainland. She has a Bachelor and Masters’ degree and 1/3 of her doctorate in art studies. She attend classes at Sam Houston University, the University of Houston, the University of Texas, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle. She is a Texas State Certified Art Consultant. She has studied with many noted artists in the USA, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean.  She attended classes at the Art Students’ League of New York City and the National Academy of Art and Design.                                                                               

Gay teaches all media of art and all ages. In Texas, she currently holds workshops at Butler Longhorn Museum in League City, at Upper Bay Gallery in Clear Lake, and Wednesday classes in her studio in Santa Fe, and in Maine: in Winter Harbor for Schoodic Arts For All.  She has taught workshops for the Galveston Art League, Brazosport Art League, and Watercolor Art Society of Houston, TAACCL, and the National Society of Artists. She is in the process of scheduling Workshops for Rockport, Texas and the Corpus Christi Art Centers as well. Gay has won numerous Best of Show and 1st Place Awards. She is a signature member of the National Watercolor society, the National Society of Artists, Watercolor Art Society of Houston, and the Texas Watercolor society.  

Gay recently traveled to California to receive the $1,000.00 Jack Richeson Merchandise Award for her painting, “Stutz DV 1932 Monte Carlo”; it is a painting of a car that is the only one in existence of that year and model (see photo above). This painting was in the National Watercolor Society’s International Show and is in their current traveling show and will be shown in art centers and museums across the Nation until December 31, 2014.  This year and last year, Gay took trips to California to attend two parties that honored her and other artists for being accepted into the San Diego Watercolor Society’s International Show. Earlier this summer she was accepted into the National Watercolor Society’s Membership Show and on June 7th was awarded one of the three top awards of $1,000.00 cash; it was the Leonard Edmonson Award. The painting is titled “Hang Ten Woody” and was shown this summer at the NWS Gallery in San Pedro in the Laguna Beach Area of California. Her painting “Poor Man’s Yacht” (1/2 sheet of Arches at $2,500.00) was selected for the Adirondack American Watercolor National Exhibition and sold. She is the only artist from Texas or Maine in this show. 

When Gay was teaching art history at College of the Mainland she met Neil Welliver (he replaced Andrew Wyeth in the Art History books), when he lectured and had a show there. She corresponded with him; he had a big influence on her going to Maine. Gay’s goal is to capture her impression of the places and people of Maine; she likes to paint people doing their daily chores and scenes that are uniquely Maine. She also loves to paint cars and flowers and especially her children and grandchildren. 

Interview with November Spotlight Artist, Gay Paratore:

1) When and how did you first become seriously interested in art? In second grade one of my teachers declared me "the class artist" I had drawn my pet white rabbit. In 8th grade, I was only 11 as I started school early, I did a drawing for the school open house. My father had recently died and my mother did not have time to take me to any classes, but my art work prompted the other parents to call my mother an insist that I get lessons. The local art teacher was from Italy and had studied art there and then at the Chicago Art Institute. Her name was Marie Ragone and she was a portrait artist. I had one lesson in drawing, one in pastels, and one in watercolor, and then told I was ready for oils and gave me a list of supplies. I was also lucky enough to take a work shop from Frederic Taubes in ala prima oils at the age of 12. He wrote a column for American Artist Magazine for many years until his death. when I was 13 I took from Phoebe Flory the partner of Elliott O'Hara, the father of modern day watercolor. I did a portrait in that workshop. I was serious about art practically my whole life.

"Got Milk?" by Gay Paratore

2) What mediums/subject matter do you work in? I work in all media and crafts; the only thing that I haven't done is blow glass. This summer in Maine I did a 13" tall nude in granite in one day using an electric grinder. It was so much fun. I want to try to do a "head" next summer at the quarry on Schoodic Peninsula.

3) What do you express in your work? I try to find something of value to state in my work. In Maine, I am painting people working and doing their everyday jobs. I think a portrait should be more than just a face; it must capture a moment in time in the life of the subject.

4) What artists/professionals have been your biggest influence? Daniel E. Greene, Ron Schur, Harvey Dinnerstein, Albert Handel, Steven Quiller, Tom Lynch, Mario Cooper, Neil Welliver and the list goes on and on. I have taken at least 50 workshops over the years. I studied at the Art Students League of New York City and the National Academy of Art and Design. I have my B.A. and M.Ed. and Texas State Art Consultant Certification.

5) What do you do to gain new inspiration in your work? I look at every image that I see with an open eye and mind: other art work, magazines, people doing things, mainly my photos. I never leave the house without my camera, a Nikon Cool Pix; I photograph almost everything of interest that I see.

6) What would you like to be doing with your art ten years from now? Selling it; boy do I have inventory!!! I was fortunate to get a small watercolor in the Adirondack show and sold it for $2,500.00. But to really answer the question asked, I want to keep trying new things; I just got a big printing press from my Jack Richeson Award from the National Watercolor society, so I will be doing some portraits in printmaking.

7) Do you set goals for yourself? Yes, I love competition and that motivates me. Also, I am a procrastinator and the contest deadlines give me my motivation to get the work finished.

"Learning to be Gentle," by Gay Paratore

8) Are you happy in your job choice as an artist? Do you have any regrets in this career choice or things you would have done differently? I wanted to be a medical technologist, but my mother told me that she was paying for my education and that she wanted to be a teacher and got sick with asthma and did not get to be one, so I had to be one. I decided if I had to teach, I would teach art. It worked out well for me as I love to teach and teaching makes you challenged to learn more to pass on to your students. Two of my greatest thrills is when one of my students wins an award or when one of them goes on to be an art teacher or a professional artist. One of my students just did a demo for the National Society of Artists and told everyone there that I was her inspiration. That filled my heart with joy. I have taught all levels and at two community colleges; I am a former art department head for Alvin community college.

9) Any fun or interesting facts about yourself you'd like to share? I majored in science as well as art (my first job combined the two; I worked in Medical Illustration at the University of Texas Medical Branch for two summers while I was in college), as I thought that perhaps I could get certified in art education and medical technology, but I got married to my late husband right after I did my student teaching and had a great life with him and my four children. One grandchild is in college and told me this week that he is taking an art class as an elective; he is studying to be an engineer. One daughter, Angela Eels, is an artist in Austin, Texas and does portraits in acrylics. One son is in business, the other son is the architect who was in charge of the "re-do" of the Golden Nougat in Las Vegas, and my other daughter is a doctor in California. They all have artistic and music ability (that is from their Dad)

10) Best piece of advice for other artists? Don't get discouraged if you do not get in a show; ask the judge or someone who did get in, what you can do to make your painting better and try to do that. Take as many classes as you can afford. Try to paint everyday. Study old masters and your contemporaries. Keep an open mind to everything. Above all never give up. When I am feeling down or in pain physically or emotionally my art takes it all away and I am refreshed. And don't let any instructor paint your painting; that is wrong on many levels and you won't learn anything but dependency on that teacher. Make mistakes and learn from them. Go back and work on your old paintings and bring them to life. Most of all have fun with your art.