Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Local artist can help you find your passion - Charlotte Observer

On September 26 at 7 p.m., local artist Gina Strumpf will be giving a painting demonstration at the Mint Museum on Randolph.

Strumpf, 55, a Charlotte native, is a talented and well-known artist. Skilled in both watercolor and oil, her work includes landscapes, still life and cityscapes. A well-seasoned traveler, Strumpf finds inspiration in the cosmopolitan cities she has visited, including New York, London, Florence and Paris.Although she has a varied scope of work, she is particularly known for her rainy day paintings â€" each featuring a red umbrella within the scene.Strumpf found her love of painting when she was a child and developed it through high school, leading to the offer of two full art scholarships. Originally, she wanted to pursue a career as a fashion illustrator â€" but instead found herself in the fashion world as a model. She worked for about 15 years as a print and runway model. She then had a family and became a successful real estate agent, specializing in relocations. She enjoyed real estate and was a top agent in Charlotte for many years when she found herself again pulled toward art.In the time following 9/11, Strumpf was reminded that “life is precious” and felt a desire to pursue her love of painting. She started by taking a watercolor class offered by a friend. Other classes followed. She says she found that, “art was the balance of my life and helped me get back to peace.” “It’s my happy spot,” said Strumpf. Eventually, she became a full-time artist.Her September 26 event will include discussion of her travels, her artwork and a demonstration of her painting technique. The event is offered through the Guild of Charlotte Artists, and is free and open to the public.Strumpf works as a resident artist for Cunard Cruises â€" which include the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Victoria and the Queen Elizabeth. This past summer, she spent 15 days aboard the QE, starting in England and ending in Russia. There, she taught classes during the day while the ship was at sea, and she enjoyed the local sights when the ship was at port. She has also taught classes all over the country. Teaching enables her to help bring out a love of painting in others. She’s received positive feedback from those in her classes who express their appreciation for their newfound passion. She tells her students, “It’s never too late to be what you’re born to be,” and feels “blessed that I could be someone who can take what I’ve done and touch so many people”.Strumpf’s artistic talent has provided opportunities to travel the world. During the summer, she spent a lot of time in France, where she was able to barter her paintings for lodging for herself and her husband. Her work is represented in 10 galleries, spanning from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta. Locally, she is represented by Red Sky Gallery. Strumpf is available for commission work, workshops and demonstrations.

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