Tag Archives: local artists

Meet the founder of ‘Harlem Street Painters’

Oct 8, 2010 @ 7:00

By HarlemGal
As we approach the annual Harlem Art Walk, which is taking place this weekend (October 9th and 10th), we wanted to introduce one of the artists who will be participating in that event as part of our second installment of the HCL Artist Profile. Our first HCL Artist Profile featured Harlem watercolorist Lynn Lieberman. In a Q&A conversation with HarlemCondoLife.com, meet Maria Amor Franco, a Harlem resident and founder of “Harlem Street Painters.”

What is your occupation? And where do you reside in Harlem?
I am an oil painter. I live near Marcus Garvey Park.

As an oil painter, is your work linked to the community of Harlem? If so, tell us how?

Painting by Maria Amor Franco

Yes, my work is linked to the community in two ways. I founded a group of painters called the “Harlem Street Painters.” We are a group of painters who travel with portable easels and paints. We set up and paint around the streets of Harlem.  So far, we have settled into the area of 123rd and Lenox.  We paint on Sunday mornings, depending on the weather.

There is a second way my work is linked to the community.  Since I moved to Harlem, I became aware of the custom of wearing hats on Sunday!  I greeted women on the street and commented on their hats.  Then I began to take photographs of them wearing their hats.  The image is so precious and beautiful, I responded by painting them.  So now I have begun a series titled “The Ladies of Harlem in their Hats.”

What is it like painting on the streets while people pass by?
An unexpected pleasure of this meetup with other painters is our audience. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it is to interact with the people as they pass by.  There is so much interest, curiosity and respect for art.  So many people comment that they also paint!

Where did the name “Harlem Street Painters” come from?

Painting by Maria Amor Franco

A tradition of painting outside began with the Impressionists in Europe.  It began soon after they discovered how to put paint into tubes-this made the paint portable.   These painters called themselves “plein air painters.” It is french and it means “fresh air painters.” I tried to think of a name that would be more representative of our mission.  Our mission is to capture and paint in whatever medium we choose as long as we capture the beauty of Harlem. It is a big undertaking. But it is a start. I hope that the “Harlem Street Painters” can produce enough art to create an exhibit at the Harlem museum one day.

How many artists participate in “Harlem Street Painters?”
Thirty two painters are signed up.  On any given day, four to eight artists paint.

We always ask our artists featured in the HCL Profile what they like most about Harlem. Tell us what are your favorite things?
The strength of spirit and hope of the people, openness and acceptance to all races and religions, and curiosity about art.

If you are interested in learning more about Maria Amor or “Harlem Street Painters,” click here or better yet, check out the Harlem Art Walk. Maria will be exhibiting several paintings at this event.

Harlem in watercolor through the eyes of a local artist

Feb 24, 2010 @ 7:55

Watercolors by Lynn Lieberman

By HarlemGal
Since our inception well over a year ago, HarlemCondoLife (HCL) has been introduced to several interesting people living and working in Harlem-particularly local artists who have a positive link to Harlem. HCL would like to introduce  some of these individuals to you, along with their work, in hope that you will be moved and amazed by the wealth of talent that lives right here in our Harlem community. We certainly are impressed and excited to have you meet some of these talented individuals on our blog site. To help us kick off our first HCL Artist Profile, first up is a local watercolorist. In a Q&A (questions and answers) format, meet Lynn Lieberman in her own words on Harlem in watercolor.

Watercolors by Lynn Lieberman

What is your area of specialty? And why do you feature Harlem in your art work?
My primary area is watercolor. I live, work and create right here in Harlem.  Most of my work is small format-note cards of everything from the famous Lenox Lounge to Apollo Theater to Lee Lee’s Bakery, where Mr. Lee displays my painting of his bakery. In an effort to capture more of Harlem, last year I created a watercolor map of Harlem, which was updated this year and can be viewed on my website.

As for why Harlem, we have street after street of graceful prewar buildings, each with their own unmistakable curves and lines. Many have been home to the people who reside there for decades, and signs of love and longevity protrude from window boxes, along with flower pots and signs in the windows.

Watercolors by Lynn Lieberman

Does Harlem move and inspire your art work?
Inspiration here in Harlem is endless for a watercolorist.  No matter how many times I walk the streets of Harlem, I always see something different and new to paint, from the Harlem Meer in the Fall to Fields Court at Christmas to the colorful Minton’s Jazz Club, Mike’s Newsstand on 122nd Street and Lenox Avenue, and to Tonnie’s Minis, where they also display my note card painting of the place.

Watercolors by Lynn Lieberman

Is it challenging to use Harlem in your work?
The only challenge to painting Harlem is what to leave out.

Aside from watercoloring Harlem, HCL has to ask what are some of your favorite things about it?
Harlem Seasons. At the first sign of Spring and all through the Summer, window sills are abound with color right up until Halloween pumpkins and Christmas trees with lights. No Holiday is forgotten here.

Watercolor by Lynn Lieberman

Harlem people. Where else in this City can you find people sitting on the sidewalk in their beach chairs enjoying a beautiful Summer evening or barbecuing in front of their building?

Harlem has a plethora of green space from our major Parks to our local Green Thumb gardens-giving us easy access to hours of walking or bike riding from the minute we walk out our front door.

Watercolors by Lynn Lieberman

Our diversity is great. I was born here in the City and have lived in a variety of places over the years, always returning home. Harlem is a place where I feel most comfortable and the place where I live with my family.

And Harlem has s vibrant art community with plenty of ongoing events at the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Harlem Arts Alliance and Casa Frela Gallery, which represents my work.

Watercolor by Lynn Lieberman

In full disclosure, I have purchased notecards from Lynn as gifts. They were a hit on the receiving end with friends and family. Don’t miss out on seeing Lynn’s work in person. Her work is currently hanging, with framed pieces for sale , at Native Restaurant and Il Caffe Latte-both on Lenox Avenue and for sale unframed at www.afinelyne.com

Watercolor by Lynn Lieberman

And if you know of a local artist we should spotlight on HCL, who resides in Harlem and their work is linked to all things positive about Harlem, please send your recommendations to feedback@harlemcondolife.com.