Renowned local artist Dawn Lobardi, who paints under the name Nolan Lombardi, has work hanging in the Smithsonian and the White House, has been chosen to paint Connecticut’s official holiday card and Miss Porter’s 2012 card, but the awards and honors she’s received haven’t put her above the whimsical, evident in her latest show, opening Aug. 4 at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in Avon.
‘Alfresco’ is a collection of Impressionist paintings of summer scenes and local eateries. And also cupcakes.
Lombardi moved to Farmington from Northampton, Mass. eight years ago and quickly settled in, painting everything around her and offering her paintings for local fundraisers. Her children attend Noah Wallace School.
She can frequently be seen painting wherever she goes.
“Everybody knows I’m always painting. I go to the field club or the Hill-Stead and I always bring my paints... sometimes I let the kids add to the paintings, then they leave and I’ll fix it,” Lombardi said.
Once, when her daughter was 3, she put her hand through a large painting of a polo match. But sometimes in art, an accident turns out for the best.
“Part of the reason I sold it was her smearing it made it look like the horses were moving faster,” she said.
Usually Lombardi paints a theme or a series. One year she did hydrangeas, recently, she painted dining al fresco. This series includes cupcakes.
The cupcakes come with the stamp of approval of another famous artist, children’s book author Eric Carle, who was Lombardi’s neighbor growing up in Northampton.
“I started doing cupcakes and I sent one down to Eric Carle and he sent me back a note saying he loved the cupcakes. I thought if he likes the cupcakes, I’ve got to paint some more cupcakes. I hung them at Starbucks for a month and everybody loved them.”
The cupcake paintings, of a smaller size than some of her paintings, offer art lovers an affordable way to connect with local art, too.
“In this economy, people can’t afford big crazy paintings. These are small affordable; they’re good,” she said.
Lombardi’s paintings will be on display and for sale Saturday at the exhibit opening, to which she will add some unique touches.
She hinted at a “Katy Perry-like” outfit and of course, cupcakes along with the traditional wine and cheese.
The exhibit will be in the Esther Drezner Visitors' Gallery at FVAC, 25 Arts Center Lane in Avon Park North, Avon, from Aug. 4 through Sept. 1. The opening will be Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit www.artsfvac.org or call 860-678-1867.