Right Brain column: Summit County portrait artist travels to Guatemala for sketches
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Cecelia Eidemiller is a professional portrait artist who specializes in charcoal and pastel portraits from live subjects at art festivals and related events. The Summit local moved here from Pennsylvania in 2002 for a change of scenery and to paint western landscapes. Her paintings of local landscapes are on display through March at Arts Alive Gallery in La Cima Mall and Breckenridge Mountain Message at 101 N. Main St., suite 5 above Cranioligy. In 2013, she completed a trip through India painting and sketching portraits of people on the streets and just recently spent some time in Guatemala to draw children on the streets.
Summit Daily News: What kind of medium do you use?
Cecelia Eidemiller: Charcoals, pastels, oil paints and watercolors. Though I’ve been drawing portraits for the past 30 years and have completed over 50,000 quick sketches to date that are hanging in homes all over the world, I also enjoy painting landscapes in oils. I’ve spent the last decade or more on a quest to paint on location in every state to complete a series on Americana art that will become a compilation presentation once I finish my last two states of Oregon and Nevada. One of the reasons I moved to Breckenridge was to pursue this nationwide project.
SDN: Where could people have seen your art before?
CE: Arts Alive Gallery in La Cima Mall. I also have a showing hanging at Breckenridge Mountain Massage until mid-March.
SDN: How did you first get into art and what kind of background do you have in the subject?
CE: I earned a degree in art and elementary education at Seton Hill College in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. As a child, I was drawing from an early age.
SDN: What inspires you?
CE: A work of art that is dynamic and luscious with its paint application. Also, art museums and history books.
SDN: What is your work environment like?
CE: I usually work outside to paint landscapes and my quick sketches are done on location at art festivals and events in the warmer months. I work most weekends and throughout the U.S.
SDN: What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
CE: Don’t give up when you feel like a fool for painting. It’s just part of the process.
SDN: You have been to India and are headed to Guatemala to draw children on the streets. Tell us more about this project and what inspired you to do it?
CE: This project was inspired by Child Fund International. Years before I moved to Breckenridge in 2002, I had been sponsoring children in this little village close to Honduras. … In 2013 I spent a month in India painting and drawing my way across the continent. The result was a one-hour documentary with a series of paintings to exhibit at a variety of colleges and venues wherever the work was welcomed. Each presentation was also a fundraiser for a 14-year-old girl that I sponsor in Mysore City. I hope to come home from Guatemala with a body of work worthy of another presentation. Taking my drawings to the streets makes my work real and immediate for children. As they watch their portraits materialize they become inspired to be artists someday. This is exactly what got me started. I remember watching some pastel portrait artists in the Pittsburgh area where I grew up. I was in awe of their accomplishments. Though I felt at the time that I could never draw a realistic pastel portrait from a live sitter, it set a standard for me to aspire to and it is who I am now. Even though I have a bachelor’s degree in art and elementary education, I always tell my little audience at events that my real graduate degree is from the school of life.
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