On Saturday I visited Jacqueline Sferra Rada's Studio in SoHo. I first saw her work at Fountain Art Fair last spring. She exhibited one of her swimmer pastel drawings there... it immediately made a lasting impression on me. During my visit we spoke at length about authenticity in artwork. Both her art and my art expresses the simple joy of drawing the world around us that we love and feel connected to. Similarly we both value stripped down forms and shapes, contemplative subdued palettes, often centered compositions, and modest sized work. In a way you can say that her work and mine is "nothing special". Yet in the same breath you can say just the opposite about it; in other words, it is precisely the banal subject matter her and I depict that makes the work so exciting and alive.
Jacqueline began her charming swimmer drawings almost by accident. She told me that while she was sitting at the beach near her home in Long Island she instinctively started sketching the people in the water (a scene that was so familiar to her, and right under her nose, that until then she hadn't thought about making art out of it). That made me think about a Georgia O'Keeffe quote I read one time. Regarding an epiphany she had had about painting... she explained, "shapes and ideas so familiar to me that it hadn't occurred to me to put them down." When a series of work begins in such a natural process you know it's going to catch the eyes of the audience and fill them with inspiration and wonder.
Below I've included many pictures of her art that I had taken during my visit with her. All but the last image are her own... the last one is of a portrait she had found tucked away on a shelf that her late husband had painted of himself. George Rada was an excellent artist as well, and his legacy lives on. Without further ado enjoy these magnificent pastels and paintings.