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Paintings by Betsy Podlach featured at the Lionheart Gallery
Lady on the Couch. Oil and Egg Tempera on Linen. 52”/52”. Photo: Michael Heller.

POUND RIDGE, NY.- A storyteller at heart, artist Betsy Podlach’s work takes shape through the beautiful images that inspire her. Richly detailed fabrics, couture fashion and the human form take center stage in her art, playing out on canvas in sensual vignettes that captivate the imagination. Her portrait paintings, Matisse-like and expressive in color and style, celebrate the beauty of the naked body, intimately, insightfully and always in awe “of the way the shapes and curves all go together so naturally and beautifully.” They’ve also captivated a loyal following of art aficionados from around the world including Italian royalty, celebrities, corporate leaders, restaurant owners and private patrons who remain endlessly enchanted by what and how she paints. Tri-state area residents and visitors can see her newest pieces at the Lionheart Gallery at 27 Westchester Avenue in Pound Ridge, New York, from December 16, 2015 through February 29, 2016, during the gallery’s highly anticipated winter exhibition.

“Betsy Podlach’s work is striking on every level,” said Susan Grissom, Director of the Lionheart Gallery. “She is truly an artist in every sense of the word, with an original style and expression that is uniquely hers. She puts herself into each of her paintings, literally and figuratively, using her own body as a model to convey the natural beauty she finds in the women and couples she portrays. Her still lives, a combination of the abstract realism of the 1950s and 15th century Renaissance art, along with her landscapes and paintings of animals also evoke an emotional response from the viewer, enchanting people on a very personal level that never diminishes.”

Among the paintings that will make their debut at the Lionheart Gallery’s exhibition is her new Lady on the Couch, a piece inspired by an old photograph from the 1950s. She transforms the original, as she does in all her paintings, creating a painted sense of space and light with color, moving images around, then changing them again and again until it all comes together and feels right. “Everything informs everything else” in her paintings, so what she may start out with turns out quite differently during her artistic process.

Inspired by turn of the century photographs and fashion, Betsy has “a vague idea of what I am going to paint when I start but then something may catch my eye on one side of the canvas, which calls for an adjustment or a totally new idea on the other side. I definitely use myself as a model so I can see how the body can move but my images take on their own stories and personalities and they become real to me. I intuitively sense when they are happy with how I am portraying them, and that’s when I know that what I painted truly belongs together.”

A Harvard graduate and a Watson scholar, Betsy studied literature and writing in college, fascinated by the stories that unfolded in the great novels she read. While she loved reading, she wasn’t overly fond of writing. Her paintbrush became her pen of choice and she has colored her way into private and corporate collections around the world by art enthusiasts who relish her interpretative “storytelling” painting style.

“I grew up around beautiful fabrics, thanks to my mother who was an avid seamstress, and am intrigued by the high fashion designers like Christian Dior and Chanel, whom she became familiar with when she lived in Paris. I love to add hints of their fine fabrics and fashions in my paintings to enhance the stories my work suggests.”

Studies at New York’s prestigious Studio School after her graduation from Harvard led to a variety of art scholarships, awards and grants, including an international art fellowship and residency in Italy, as her natural talents in figurative art evolved into the signature expressionistic style that defines her work today. She has exhibited throughout the United States, France and Italy where her work has garnered her continual acclaim as one of the most exciting visual artists on the contemporary art scene.

“I use nature, formal principles, and my imagination to form a personal image,” explains the artist, whose painting technique includes using oil paint and egg tempera, which she makes herself. “My still lives and landscapes are also a creation begun with observation and completed through the process of something new being found as the canvas develops.”

She incorporates the beauty she admires in life –graceful ballerinas in perfect poses, peacocks whose multi-hued plumage shimmers with painted possibilities, ball gowns, gilded with jewels, bodies in all stages of dress or undress, garden flowers, fragrant to the eye, animals endearing in their innocence – to the images she creates every day. So engaging are her paintings that one is immediately drawn to them in hopes of not just becoming merely acquainted with them, but finding out more about them personally and intimately. Bathed in contrasting color and light and emboldened by the wisdom and confident voice of the artist, they have the uncanny ability of becoming real to both their creator and the viewer. And even as their stories become more familiar with time, the attachment to them grows deeper and more fascinating still.

View Paintings by Betsy Podlach at the Lionheart Gallery’s Exhibition, opening December 16, 2015 and running through February 29, 2015, Wednesday through Saturday, from 11 AM to 5 PM, and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 PM.

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