This month’s featured artist is an award-winning painter who is recognized by her thick oil paint and color. Lynn Mehta paints on location and from life whenever she can, and is known for her impressionistic and colorful scenes.
Mehta’s mother was an artist, and she says growing up in Southern California, “It was natural to bring paints and art supplies outside there since the weather was always nice.” She has explored any types of art including drafting, architectural rendering and design, quilting, fabric dyeing, India ink drawings, and watercolor. Around the same time she was becoming familiar with oil painting, she discovered that there was an outdoor painting movement with other artists participating in group activities. Since then, she has been painting in oils and from life at every opportunity.
Mehta’s formal art training began with every advanced art class she was offered in high school. She studied Art in college and graduated with a B.A. in Art with an emphasis in Environmental Design from San Diego State University. Since then, she has taken classes at the Art League in Alexandria, Virginia and taken multiple workshops with internationally recognized artists throughout the United States as well as abroad.
Painting outdoors on location as Mehta does is often referred to as “en plein air” or “plein air painting”, which is french for “in open air”. This method differs from painting in a studio by forcing the artist to adjust to weather conditions, changing light, and any number of other challenges that may present themselves by being set up outdoors. Plein Air painters often have to work quickly to capture a scene. Early plein air painters created the movement because they believed that being outside of the studio provided them freedom from the more academic artistic rules of studio painting.
“I allow inspiration to happen”, says Mehta. She pays attention to the visual world all around her whether she is driving or sitting in a beautiful place. She often walks, looking for something to paint. She pays attention to whatever it is that turns her head and makes her look again. She says, “Sometimes, I will be set up to paint something, but when another thing catches my eye elsewhere I will paint it instead.” Mehta believes that inspiration helps to make a universal connection and is something that is honest.
Mehta’s thick impasto oil brushwork and palette knife work creates a style that is interesting to look at both up close and further away. This style allows her to engage the viewer’s imagination. Impasto is a style of painting where the paint is laid on thickly to create or emphasize the textures within a painting. Impasto painters often mix their colors directly on the canvas. When dry, impasto paintings have a three-dimensional quality that highlights the brushstrokes used.
Being on location isn’t just how Lynn Mehta likes to paint – it is how she researches, inspires, and grows her artwork as well. When Mehta discovers artists whose art she admires, she tries to take trips to museums and galleries that have their work so that she can see their work in person. “I think that is very important to be able to see the real thing, the brush strokes and the marks of the artist in person.”
Mehta’s first juried plein air event was Mountain Maryland Plein Air in Cumberland in 2009. Since then, she has participated nearly every year. In 2017, she received Best Use of Light for a painting that she completed on location in Garrett County. Mehta has built up quite a collection of paintings of Garrett County, and is proud to have sold quite a few of them, saying “But, I will always paint more!” She participates in several other plein air events throughout the country and abroad. This includes the Best Artist Award and 1st Place in Juried Artist Quick Draw at Paint Annapolis 2018 and 1st place Best Artist at Paint Snow Hill 2018. She has also had her work in multiple juried exhibitions nationwide. Recently, she even received a Certificate of Merit at the Salmagundi Annual Thumb Box Exhibition 2019.
Mehta currently has a collection of work on display at Nona’s Pizza in Accident. She is also in galleries in the Washington DC area, Annapolis, and the Eastern Shore, in Virginia, and in North Carolina. She is a member of many arts organizations, including the Mid-Atlantic Plein Air Painters Association, the American Artists Professional League, the Salmagundi Club in New York City, and is an elected member of the Washington Society of Landscape Artists.
Mehta’s paintings are also found at GCAC’s Gallery Shop, 108 S. Second St, in downtown Oakland . They are also included in the collections of work by The Gallery Shop juried artists currently showcased at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center in McHenry and the Garrett County Courthouse in Oakland. The Garrett County Arts Council is funded by the Maryland State Arts Council, Garrett County Government, and through membership support. For more information or to become a member, contact GCAC at 301-334-6580, visit garrettarts.org, and like Garrett County Arts Council and The Gallery Shop on Facebook.
Article submitted by the Garrett County Arts Council