Merrimack Valley Life

SPEAKING OF ART

1 generation inspires the next in this artistic family

Artist Grace Frittitta is surrounded by a collection of her paintings. Courtesy photo

Artist Grace Frittitta is surrounded by a collection of her paintings. Courtesy photo

Grace Frittitta walked into the recent Greater Salem Artists Association’s winter show with no expectations of winning an award. As a brand-new member, she had entered three of her acrylic paintings, as she puts it, “just for fun.”

“The works hanging in the exhibit were all so beautiful; the members are so amazingly talented,” says Frittitta. “When I saw the blue ribbon on my painting, I was shocked. I was happy, but so surprised!”

Frittitta shares that art has always been a huge part of her life.

“My grandparents on both sides came from Sicily, and brought their love of the arts with them,” she says. “I had a childhood surrounded by art, music and the love of fashion and design. My grandfather Joseph Coco painted gorgeous murals of Italy in our den and, as a child, I spent hours in my room trying to draw images from the murals.”

Although she did not pursue an art education, her love for art was a constant throughout Frittitta’s life, from collecting art to sharing her talents as a paraprofessional working with young children in the school system as she was raising her own children. Naturally, she also passed on her passion for the arts to her own kids and, later, to her grandchildren, as well.

 

 

“I now see my grandchildren copying my art, just as I did with my grandfather’s art,” she says. “I think that early art intervention makes a difference in a child’s life.”

Although she took a few art classes and studied techniques from books years ago, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that Frittitta began taking her painting seriously. Attending a GSAA exhibit, she met the late Don Whittamore, one of the founders of the organization.

“I loved his work, and he invited me to attend his classes at the senior center,” she says. “When the classes ended, a group of artists was invited to study weekly at his home studio, where he generously shared his knowledge of art with us at no charge. He was an amazing teacher, artist and humanitarian.”

Frittitta is fascinated by the way fabric folds into shapes, as in this still life.

Frittitta is fascinated by the way fabric folds into shapes, as in this still life.

In fact, the award-winning still life Frittitta entered in the recent GSAA show was one that she had painted under his tutelage.

The artist draws her inspiration from various sources, but she enjoys painting items that hold meaning for her.

“I love to paint people, places and things that are sentimental or beautiful in my mind’s eye, and to freeze them in time,” she says.

Paring down some of her collections of glassware and dishes, she often paints an item before handing it down to the next generation.

“I recently gave a beautiful tea set to my daughter,” she says, “but before I did, I painted it for myself.”

The artist feels that she is getting better at capturing reflections in her work.

The artist feels that she is getting better at capturing reflections in her work.

This acrylic painting was created under the tutelage of the late Don Whittemore. Salem Life photos by Patricia J. Bruno

This acrylic painting was created under the tutelage of the late Don Whittemore. Salem Life photos by Patricia J. Bruno

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