Tuesday, 3 July 2012


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Applied to my life as an artist, this Marcel Proust quote means a great deal to me. It encourages me to review familiar things in new ways, with keener observation and to discover the aesthetic qualities, the beauty in the ordinary.

A section of the Governor's garden

I graduated in 1962 from Marymount College/Fordam University, in Tarrytown, New York, with a BA degree, majoring in art history and a minoring in elementary education. I taught fifth grade before I left teaching to raise a family with my husband, Richard. I returned to teaching after 20 years, but decided to attend Millersville University, Millersville, Pa. to become art certified. After teaching elementary art for fifteen years, I have now retired from  the West Shore School District, where I also held the title of Art Department Head for the last five years of my tenure.

As an art instructor, I introduced young people to a variety of mediums, demonstrating the many ways to express themselves artistically. Teaching was a great joy and a reciprocal learning experience for me. As I strove to open my students' eyes, I opened mine, as well.

Historic Lincoln Colored Cemetery

After I retired, I finally had the time to paint in earnest. I took some lessons, joined local art associations, became acquainted with other local artists, entered some art competitions, was accepted, once, in Art of the State and placed my work in some local galleries.

My neighbor's poppies

I work in acrylics and, recently, in oils. I am a representational artist, happiest painting familiar things in my life. The American scene, its people, buildings and its landscapes are my favorite subjects. My favorite American artists are Winslow Homer, and Edward Hopper. I do, however, admire artists with different paint styles, mediums and subject matter.  

LeTorte Waterfall

About three years ago I became involved with the creation of SVPAP, the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters. Painting en plein air was a new experience for me. It was, and still is, more challenging than painting in studio; but it is very invigorating and enlightening. Invigorating, because, with the threat of changing light and shadows, it encourages me to make quicker decisions. Enlightening because, on-site observations, as opposed to working from my photos, help me to see the truer depth and volumes of spaces, shapes etc.  

My involvement with plein air painting and with SVPAP has enriched my life in many ways. I paint more, am gaining more confidence and I think I have become a better painter. I have travelled to paint at places, though nearby, I had not known before. Most importantly, I have met many talented, friendly artists, all with different styles, but sharing a common interest in expressing, artistically, the world around them.

Larry, and I were not taking chances. We were out to paint at the Historical Lincoln Colored Cemetery, not "dodge bullets". Orange hats helped to keep our heads warm and "bullet-free”.

Marcel Proust’s idea of discovery is becoming ever more relevant to me, as I continue to age and my plein air painting outings become limited to my home area. My paintings of “newly” discovered “landscapes” will have to be of old landscapes seen, by me, with fresher eyes.                         


Julie Riker said...

I LOVE the quote and that is something that I also need to remind myself - to see the familiar with new eyes.
Meeting you through the plein air group has been a blessing. You always amaze me with your beautiful work and our common bond of art transcends any age differences. I feel that you are a true friend.
I want to thank you for everything you do for SVPAP - and it is a lot - as treasurer, organizing events and paint outs, and keeping me balanced when I feel overwhelmed - you are part of the glue that holds our group together and makes it worthwhile for all our members.
Love you,

Larry Lerew said...

You have been an inspiration since our first meeting and have helped me come out of my shell and pursue painting without hesitation. I love your honesty and inquisitive questions. Your style of learning and positive spirit is highly contagious and you are a very important artist and friend. You keep painting and so will I.

Cecelia Lyden said...

Thank you both for those kind words--so happy that I know you.

Claire Beadon Carnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Claire Beadon Carnell said...

Cecelia, how do I top the words of Julie and Larry, except to say that I feel the same way. You are such an essential part of SVPAP, but mostly you have been a genuine friend and supporter to all of us. I always enjoy your beautiful work, as well as painting with you - and I'll never forget our escapade on St. John's Alley - such is the stuff from which plein air memories are made!
Thanks so much, Claire

Catherine Stone said...

Cecelia - your thoughtfulness and inspirations show in your work..I am happy to have met you, am inspired by you, and hope to get to know you even better!