I’m honored to share this article from Sparta Living, an exclusive magazine serving the neighborhoods of Sparta and Lake Mohawk, all about Donna Gratkowski!
The Works of Donna Gratkowski on Display at Rose City Framemakers
Remember that Rose City Framemakers will have Donna’s paintings on display and for sale until the end of September – but you can order a commission anytime!
Shop Donna Gratkowski now: Shop
These are the three words Nicole Francoeur, owner of Rose City Framemakers, said to herself when she saw the artwork of Donna Gratkowski. The two have crossed paths over the years without making the connection that they both lived in Lake Mohawk. Nicole has been attending fine craft shows in the tri-state area since she was a child and Donna has been showing at them with her pastel paintings for the last 5 years.
Locally you might have seen Donna’s work displayed at the Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market, the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council and at the Hilltop Country Day School Annual Exhibit. Now Donna and Nicole have joined together to show Donna’s work at Rose City Framemakers.
Focusing on landscapes inspired by her local surroundings and travels, Donna applies layers of rich pigment to create energetic and captivating paintings that reflect that nature. Pastels are her medium of choice and she has developed her technique to give a soft, ethereal feel that is grounded in nature that she draws inspiration from. Irises and wildflowers in the field are a favorite of those who have collected her work. Skies that you can see briefly in passing are captured by her and are both dramatic and serene at the same time.
“Pastel paintings are not typically what people think of when they think about buying art,” says Nicole, “Acrylics, oils, watercolors and photography are the most popular. Pastels have a richness and softness that these other mediums don’t necessarily have. I have seen breathtaking pastels by members of the New Jersey Pastel Society of which Donna is a Signature member. It’s a medium that I think is underappreciated.”
A pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigments and a binder. The pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paintings. The color effect of pastels is closer to the natural dry pigments than that of any other art process. Pastel paintings have been around since the 15th century in Europe and William Merritt Chase Founded the Society of Painters in Pastel in 1883. Traditionally, works of art made of pastel have been referred to as paintings rather than drawings.
People assume pastels are delicate works of art and will flake easily, but in actuality they are very durable. The best pastel artists know the correct papers to use and can manipulate the pastels and the tooth and texture of the paper to hold the pastel in place. A well-executed pastel requires no fixative to keep the pastel on the paper.
For the months of August and September, Rose City Framemakers will have Donna’s pastel paintings on display and for sale. All artwork is matted and ready to be framed. Matted prints can also be given as gifts and handled without damaging the artwork. Commissions are always welcome if you like a favorite scene, view, or landscape rendered.