Hampden artist Mary Nadeau finally has some time to focus on her passion – painting.
“I’m getting myself back into art…. something that I love…..after working for so long. So, I’ve joined the Wilbraham Art League and Scantic Valley Artisans who do a lot of art shows. When I was doing design work, there was no time for art shows, but now I’m getting back to fine art,” she said about her recent paintings.
Nadeau’s love of art grew whilegrowing up on a farm.
“We didn’t have the things back then that there are today, like computers. So, we had to keep ourselves busy. My sister and I would do our own drawings and color in coloring books. Even through high school I remained interested in art,” she said.
But while in college and then later marriage to her husband David and starting a family, Nadeau lost track of what was once her passion. When her youngest was in junior high school and her other children were in high school, Nadeau got back to doing what she liked.
“I began doing more illustrative design and creating characters like a silly chicken and Stella the penguin and started building a portfolio and a website. Word-ofmouth also helped,” Nadeau said.
That led to clients looking for logos and business cards, others called her to create murals for them, and she wascalled upon to create props and scenery for area theaters as well. Nadeau also began selling greeting cards with her many art designs on etsy.com. And, she was sought out to create the illustrations for a book by Joan Robb called “Kugelicious: If I Only Had a Sukkah!” which still can be purchased on amazon.com. She has also taught art classes for adults and children.
And, Nadeau was doing some of this while working in special education, which she eventually left for a full-time job in the art world at 42 Design Fab, a design and fabrication studio in Indian Orchard.
“While there I worked on the design and fabrication of museum exhibits. I helped to creating a turtle environment for one museum and other custom fabrications for clients like a giant dinosaur made out of fiberglass,” Nadeau said.
When her older son moved to Georgia, he hooked his mom up with an acquaintance, Greg Roth, who created Mr. Greg’s Musical Madness. Children, parents and teachers from all over the world are familiar with Mr. Greg and his fun-filled educational videos, which are viewed online in millions of homes and schools, as well as on PBS. With Roth living in Georgia, and Nadeau in Massachusetts, they worked long distance as he hired her to do design backgrounds for his YouTube videos and to create characters to be used on musical worksheets when he would visit schools.
Nadeau later was hired to create prop designs for a video that parodied puppets and that was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival in Georgia.
“I thought this was going to be for kids, but when I got more into it, it’s strictly for adults and you wouldn’t want any child to see it,” Nadeau said.
While Nadeau had to put her art “on hold” for a time during some family health issues, she said “things are literally getting calmer.”
“Even with the grandkids visiting, it is still calmer around the house,” she said.
Today Nadeau is concentrating on her painting and getting more exposure for her work through area art shows. She also plans on reviving her etsy.com store with more
greeting cards and prints for sale, as well as updating her website, www.nadeauart.com, and Facebook page. She also hopes to get back to teaching art classes.
“I’ve also decided to change it up and work with mixed media, including acrylics, pastel and charcoal. I enjoy using a lot of different mediums. It gives you the freedom to create almost anything. I even create my own papers, which I incorporate into some of my art,” Nadeau said.
“I really don’t have a favorite subject. I like to try to let myself just do anything. For example, some artists just do portraits, but I don’t like to confine myself and enjoy the freedom to do anything whether it is flowers, animals or whatever,” she added.
Nadeau recently participated in the Scantic River Artisans “Fall into Art” juried art show, held in October at the Hampden Senior Center.
“I entered three of my paintings, all mixed media. One was of a horse that I named Tilly, another was a blue vase with white poppies, and I also entered a bear that I called Walter Gone Fishing,” she said.
She also recently participated in the Monson Arts Council’s Fall Pop Up Exhibition, where she received two honorable mentions for her blue vase painting and for Tilly the horse.
Nadeau is also keeping busy serving on the board of the Wilbraham Art League where she maintains its Facebook page.
The Wilbraham Art League was established by a group of committed artists for the purpose of developing active community interest and providing education in the field of fine arts. General meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at the YMCA’s Senior Center at 45 Post Office Park off Boston Road in Wilbraham. Meetings start at 6:30 p.m. Most meetings include an art-oriented program and are open to interested nonmembers.
The Wilbraham Art League welcomes all members, whether amateur or professional artist or just someone who appreciates art. Membership is not restricted to Wilbraham residents. Memberships are $25, $50 for families, and $10 for full-time students.
The league has ongoing exhibits in Wilbraham at the Senior Center Meeting Room, Christ the King Lutheran Church, and Wilbraham Town Hall.
For more information on the Wilbraham Art League, visit wilbrahamartleague.org, and for more information on Scantic River Artisans, visit scanticriverartisans.org.
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