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Lower Burrell artist realizes her dream with first solo exhibit

| Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Joyce Hanz | For the Valley News Dispatch
Lower Burrell artist Lynn Jacques

Peoples Library of New Kensington is exhibiting the original artwork of Lower Burrell artist Lynn Jacques through December.

This is her first solo showing, and features paintings and mixed-media including watercolors, acrylics and notecards.

Jacques, 47, has worked as a counselor in the social services for 23 years. She is a vocational rehabilitation counselor with Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry. While her job makes it tough to paint during the week, she takes to her easel on weekends.

“Sometimes, during the week, I like to paint, but it's time consuming, so usually the weekends are the best,” Jacques says.

“My profession is counseling, but my passion is art,” Jacques says, “It's a hobby, passion, and my dream would be to make a full-time living with my art.”

David Hrivnak, director of Peoples Library, says he is pleased the library can feature local artists. “There are plans in the works to display other Valley artists at our Lower Burrell branch in the next few months.”

“About 18 months ago, we began featuring artists in our library, in the conference room. All artwork is available for purchase,” he says.

The library receives a portion of the proceeds, “so, it's a great working partnership,” Hrivnak says.

Jacques, a Harrison native, says she has always loved art. She graduated in 1988 from Grove City College with a degree in counseling and a minor in fine art.

After college, Jacques was the only one in her family to “move across the river” from Natrona Heights to purchase her home in Lower Burrell.

“My family still teases me about that, I “crossed the river” 19 years ago. Her sister also scored some free artwork when they arm-wrestled for a piece her younger sister, Cory, wanted. “Cory won, I am out a painting, not arm-wrestling anymore,” Jacques says, laughing.

Jacques recently was voted in as a member of The Pittsburgh Society of Artists. “I'm proud to be a member, because my work was submitted and they selected me for membership.”

The East Suburban Artists League, Pittsburgh Outdoor Painters, and The Penn Art Association clubs also keep Jacques busy pursuing her passion of art.

“The art market in Pittsburgh has improved greatly over the last 5 to 8 years,” Jacques says, “There is so much pride in Pittsburgh, that is why I do enjoy painting local Pittsburgh scenes.”

Jacques has transformed her basement in her home into her personal art studio.

“I do paint outside, especially with the Pittsburgh Outdoor Painters group, but the basement is where I work.”

Jacques enjoys painting with all mediums: acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, and even paints house portraits. She is inspired by Impressionist artist Monet: “His paintings are so timeless, and I love the colors.”

“I love collage creation lately, anything goes, using papers, watercolors and acrylics all together for mixed media. I like to paint landscapes, realistic scenes, like one of my paintings of an old barn or paintings of the Allegheny River. I enjoy the Western Pennsylvania theme.”

One of her favorites is “Memorial Park.” “This mini acrylic painting started outside on-site and I finished it at home. I like the arching of the tree over the creek and rocks.”

Another preferred piece is “Under The Tarentum Bridge.” “I painted this one from a photograph and I like the great view of sparkling river water under the large bridge footing,” Jacques says.

Jacques travels to participate in art workshops in Canada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“My favorite workshops are in Myrtle Beach, S.C.” She says she enjoys the creative environment with hands-on art classes each day and a “gallery night with an impressive show of everyone's work.”

Jacques hopes to develop a website to promote and sell her art in the future. “Five years from now, I would like to be painting a lot more.”

Joyce Hanz is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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