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Etching Artist Turns To New A Medium    To Color Her World



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Etching Artist Turns

To New A Medium

   To Color Her World



By Nancy K. Crevier

For Newtown artist DeAnn L. Prosia, there have been two events that have turned her life in auspicious directions. The first was when the Northern Illinois University and Art Institute of Chicago-educated art student — at the time working in the insurance underwriting industry to support herself — met a fellow artist at an art show in a mall.

“He had these fabulous etchings, and I knew right away that I wanted to study that medium,” recalled Ms Prosia. After only about half a dozen classes with him, she branched out on her own, and has spent the past twenty-some years developing her style.

Creating etchings requires patience and precision, as well as talent. A copper plate is coated with a resin, into which she draws an image. The plate is then submerged in an acid bath, where the acid eats away at the exposed copper lines.

“Then I can ink the plate and run it through the press with a damp piece of paper,” said Ms Prosia, in a simplified explanation of the process.  She has made a name for herself in the art world with her black and white etchings, exhibiting in shows and receiving numerous awards, including from The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown in the spring 2004 show, throughout the Illinois and New England regions, as well as in Germany.

The second turning point in her career occurred when her husband was transferred by Boehringer-Ingelheim to Mainz, Germany in 2006.

“In Germany, I left etching behind,” said Ms Prosia. “It was the opportunity to do something completely different. I knew I wanted to try something with color, and something that would allow me to work in a looser and faster manner,” she said. Unsure of what that medium would be, she took a side trip to Nice, France, where she saw the artwork of artist Raoul Dufy.

“It completely turned me around,” said Ms Prosia. “He is definitely an influence on my works. Everything took off for me after that,” she said. She immersed herself in the craft of watercolor painting. “I didn’t think I would like watercolor. But the more I worked with it, the more I liked it,” said Ms Prosia.

The head of cultural affairs in Mainz liked her watercolors, too, and put her in touch with the director at Mainz Art Gallery, where she exhibited her first watercolors show, “Mein Mainz” (My Mainz), a collection showcasing the city.

“I like the look of things being corrected as I go,” said Ms Prosia, of working in watercolor. She has taken her cue from Dufy’s style of laying down blocks of color, drawing the image over the color blocks, and then going back in with the watercolors to strengthen the areas of color, a sort of “coloring outside the lines” effect. “The finished product has a lot of movement and activity in it,” she said.

Now, through early November, a sampling of Ms Prosia’s watercolors can be viewed at the St Philip Artists’ Guild (SPAG) show, “UnchARTed,” which opened September 25, in the Manis Lockwood Mansion, on the grounds of St Philip Church, in Norwalk. Three of her works, painted exclusively for the show — “Galway Bay, Ireland,” “View From Sorrentino Terrace” and “Portofino” — were accepted into the nautically-themed exhibition.

Like her etchings, her watercolors are painted from photographs she has taken in her travels.

“I love the composition of these three paintings,” said Ms Prosia, who is pleased to introduce her watercolors to United States audiences for the first time. “The challenge with ‘Portofino’ was to portray the tiny little houses that covered the hillsides there without having to paint each one — to just give the impression of a lot going on. ‘Galway Bay’ was inspired by the view there. I loved how all of the hills came down to a point at the inlet.”

Now that she is using it, color is very important to Ms Prosia’s works.

“I don’t want to think about color the way you see it. I pick colors I think look nice together, but might not represent the real thing. Color is a new process for me, after so many years of working in black and white, with my etchings,” she said.

Her etchings have brought her great acknowledgement in the art world, and she continues to work in that medium. But she is happy to have an outlet for the freer side of her artistic nature.

“I think every artist wants to expand, and wants to have the luxury of doing so. For me, being in Europe was the perfect opportunity to do so,” she said.

Ms Prosia is pleased with her newfound medium of expression. “I hope,” she said, “that other people think it’s interesting, too.”

“UnchARTed” entries will hang in the SPAG Gallery, in the Mansion, on the grounds of St Philip Church, at 25 France Street in Norwalk, through Sunday, November 7. For more information on the show, visit www.spagstudios.com. To view more of Ms Prosia’s artwork, go to www.deannlprosia.com.

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