MONTCLAIR, NJ — Lynn Konner, an Essex Fells artist, is exhibiting her artwork at the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services art gallery at 695 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair on Thursday, where she will also discuss her artistic process over light refreshments from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Konner, who grew up in the Caldwells, graduated from James Caldwell High School and went on to receive a degree in art education from the University of Miami. Encouraged by her artist mother, Konner began drawing as a young child, and by the time she was a teenager, she was receiving instructions from Rhoda Kaplan of Westfield and the Montclair Art Museum.
Two years ago on Christmas Eve, Konner’s life was touched by tragedy when her son, Adam, died unexpectedly. The mother said her son is now her inspiration.
For nearly 40 years, Konner had been too shy to teach art and was too stressed to paint; but about a year before Adam died, he inspired her to follow her dreams and encouraged her to paint again. After that, his mother began studying watercolors with award-winning West Caldwell artist, Margie Samuels.
“I am extremely fortunate to have had a son like Adam,” said Konner, who also taught herself how to paint animal portraits in pastels. “He was so special. I am painting and going on for him.”
It was only eight months after Adam’s death that Konner began displaying her work. Her first solo art show, entitled “A Kaleidoscope of Animal Portraits in Pastel and Paintings of Nature in Bright, Happy Watercolors,” was held in June at the West Caldwell Public Library and was dedicated in her son’s memory.
Konner said her son was also the one who sparked her interest in nature, as the two would spend a lot of time walking their dogs and looking at the beauty around them. That love of animals and nature is now defined in her work.
“I love my sister’s work; it makes me feel like smiling,” said Konner’s twin sister, Lori. “I’ve heard the reactions and comments of her clients about the dog portraits my sister painted for them, and they love them. My sister’s attitude since her only child Adam died is very uplifting to me, and I am very proud of her attitude. I see how thrilled she is to be painting again.”
Although she wants to continue painting, Konner said she does not want to be held down by any one type of media or subject matter.
Today, Konner paints daily and is currently studying watercolor under artist Marilyn Rose as she continues to develop her skills. She said she is inspired by the beauty of nature and animals and uses a loose painting style with bright, happy colors.
Lynne Oliver, director and curator of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services art gallery in Montclair, said she discovered Konner through a friend while she was looking for an artist who painted pet portraits.
“We are very excited to have Lynn—not only because of her pet portraits, but also because of her fantasy interiors, florals and landscapes,” said Oliver.
The art gallery, which initially launched at the 92 Church Street office when it was called Prudential NJ Properties, is now 11 years old.
Jane Konzelmann, associate broker for Berkshire Hathaway, said that the gallery holds between six and eight shows each year and in addition to poetry readings.
“It’s a way for the office to provide a means of community outreach,” she said. “We very much enjoy the art work in this beautiful space.”
Konner can be reached at Design Studio Adam’s Doggy Love, custom pastel pet portraits, at 973-615-5514.