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The art of repeating
Last year’s Best of Show winner is back for more
Linda Benton McCloskey is making the drive from her Harrisburg-area home this weekend to defend her crown in Lititz Springs Park.
Not Queen of Candles, but Best of Show.
Last year’s top artist at the Outdoor Fine Art Show is passionate about her experimental watermedia, and of course there’s no better place to spend an afternoon than amid the same legendary springs that attracted General Sutter to Lititz.
She only started painting 12 years ago, mainly because her high school art teacher told her that she had no talent. Interestingly, she’s related to renowned Depression-era painter Thomas Hart Benton, although she didn’t know that until recently because her father died during the D-Day battle of WWII, causing her to lose touch with that side of her family.
Long story short, don’t listen to your high school art teacher (at least not in Linda’s case). Now, she’s 100 percent committed to her passion. She shared a few thoughts with the local paper prior to heading east.
What do people see when they look at your paintings?
They see lots of color and lots of movement. I think they see happiness. I’ve had many people come into my booth and take a big sigh and say, “It’s so nice not to see flowers.” I get that reaction a lot.
Your Best of Show painting looks like a satellite image of a secret nuclear power plant in Iran. Is that OK?
Linda: Yes, of course. Usually, I don’t see anything in my paintings. I’m a non-objective (nothing recognizable in the painting) artist. I want each individual to look at it and find what they see in it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
When I first started, I painted realistic and I was quite successful, but I felt that my creativity was really low. Now I am inspired by what I see in front of me.
My husband is a realistic artist. He would look at my paintings and just shake his head, “I don’t understand it, but I like it.”
Do starving artists really exist?
Very very few professional artists can make a living selling art. There are some out there, and boy are they the lucky ones. I could never live off what I make. I make a profit, but I certainly can’t make a living off it. But it’s my passion. I can’t imagine life without painting. It fulfills me. I paint every day.
What do you like to do in Lititz other than sell art and win awards?
I love to go to the Pretzel House, and Wilbur Chocolate. Lititz is a beautiful little community.
Why do you think you won last year?
My paintings are so different from everybody else’s. They stand out in a crowd. Either you love it or you hate it.
Were the other artists supportive after you received your ribbon, or was there some tension in the park that afternoon?
We are so supportive of one another. I have met so many wonderful friends who are artists. That’s the way artists are. Extremely supportive.
I (Steve Seeber) painted a pretty good portrait of Bjorn Borg when I was in high school, but I never really took my art skills any further. Is it too late for me?
I was 58 when I started painting.
So, there you have it, last year’s winner is excited to bring her captivating background and passion to Lititz’s favorite park this Saturday, along with 124 other artists. The show, rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information on Linda’s work, visit lindabentonmccloskey.com
Stephen Seeber is the associate editor for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at email@example.com or at 721-4423.