Changes in Season
Landscape painter Lucy Eron plants her roots
By Jennifer Stalter
Published on 03/01/2007
from Flagstaff Live, Northern Arizona's Arts & Entertainment Weekly
Some say it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters. In this case, it is both Lucy Eron’s journey and her ultimate destination that has influenced her life as an artist. Eron’s determination to find a destination she could call home stayed with her throughout her journeys in Italy and all over the U.S.
For the past five years, Eron feels fortunate to call Flagstaff home and she is finally revealing her artwork, which tells the story of her search for home in her first solo art exhibit. Throughout her travels in the U.S. and a six-month stay in Italy, Eron never ceased to paint her continuously changing surroundings. But her beginnings originate on the East Coast, specifically in Maryland. Eron was raised in a small town outside of Washington, D.C., by a scientific father and a mother who wrote for D.C.’s National Gallery of Art. Eron attended art exhibits with her mother growing up and at a young age was deeply influenced by the inspiration of the classic painters. According to Eron, as a child she could be found clothed in her mother’s dresses and heels at her small easel, painting her impression of the landscape outside of the window.
Despite her early artistic endeavors, painting wasn’t guaranteed to be Eron’s life focus and motivation. Following in her father’s footsteps, Eron attended college at the University of Virginia where she studied biology, chemistry and environmental sciences.
“For the first two summers of college my dad had hooked me up with a job at a Massachusetts marine biological laboratory,” she says. “I remember the second summer at the lab, just staring out the window and thinking how the water was so beautiful. During lunch I would sit out on the dock and draw. I did all of these drawings of the ponds, sailboats and the Cape Cod landscape. It was that summer that I decided, ‘I am done with science. I am going to do art.’”
This realization and ultimate decision raised concerns about finishing college with an art degree because it wasn’t taken seriously. “People would always say, ‘Painting is a hobby. What is your backup plan?’ Eron says. “You just need to do whatever you love and everything else falls in place. And if you don’t do what you love you will always wonder: ‘What if?’”
Eron’s determination to follow her love of painting led her away from both a scientific degree and the East Coast. Once out of college, Eron roamed the U.S. on a countrywide road trip. The wide open western landscape and views of the mountains lured her to the West Coast. Eron visited and sometimes lingered in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Arizona. At times, she worked on guest ranches in Montana and Idaho. She subsidized her income with jobs varying from ranch hand to serving tables in restaurants. Beyond the domestic traveling, Eron decided to leave the U.S. for an extended visit to Italy. Possessing a life-long fervor for painting and art history, Eron moved to Florence.
For six months, Eron studied art, painting and art history. She traveled all over Europe and recorded elaborate sketches, which she brought back with her the states. “Florence is beautiful and very inspiring to be in the place of the Renaissance,” she says. “All of the rolling hills, vineyards and dreamy skies are represented in my paintings from that time.”
Florence to Flagstaff may seem like quite a jump for one person to make, but Eron believes that life is always changing and life’s path is always unpredictable. Once back from Italy, it was a teaching job in Phoenix that would be the guiding factor to bring her back out West. Eron spent one year teaching elementary art in a west Phoenix public school but found she didn’t paint much. “I don’t know if I wasn’t inspired by the landscape or if I was too busy,” she says. “When I lived in Phoenix, the only times I would paint would be when I came up to Flagstaff.”
After the year in Phoenix, Eron decided to leave her previous travels in Italy, Montana and Idaho behind to make Flagstaff home where she landed a job with Coconino Community College. She had just finished a class in graphic design when she was hired as a graphic artist. Eron enjoys teaching and working there because she is able to explore her creative side. She currently teaches a class in computer graphics and has taught classes in photo shop, Web design and art history.
Now that Eron has settled into her life in Flagstaff, she is looking forward to her first solo exhibit in town. “I was pretty unknown here because I have not really shown my stuff in town yet,” she says. “This is a culmination of everything I have been doing over the last few years, and it’s just me. So this is really exciting.”
After all, it is nature and its grand surroundings that truly inspire Eron. “I make sketches out in nature but mostly I paint from my memory. Everything has a dream-like quality.”
Similar to the transient movements her life has followed, Eron says that her art is always evolving and that the direction her art takes always surprises her. As for Eron’s nerves for her inaugural Flagstaff solo exhibit, she says, “Even though you feel that the art is part of you and you want to protect it, I am excited for the show and the critique. It makes an artist stronger. I want people to tear it apart; it helps the artist evolve.”
Lucy Eron’s opening reception will be held during Flagstaff’s First Friday Art Walk, Fri, March 2 from 6–9 p.m. at Café Espress, 16 N. San Francisco. The exhibit will be available throughout the entire month of March. For more information on Lucy Eron and her artwork, visit her Web site at www.nightskyart.com, or call Café Espress at 774-0541.