|Janesville woman adds art to life|
|Written by By Lynn Vollbrecht/For the Messenger|
|Tuesday, 04 October 2011 12:19|
Connie Glowacki’s artwork often is inspired by natural details around her.
(Read the story in the e-edition HERE.)
JANESVILLE — For Janesville native Connie Glowacki, art and living life — raising a family, running a business — are not mutually exclusive endeavors.
For the past three decades, Glowacki, along with her husband, Mike, have made a business and a life out of displaying and selling her artwork.
“It’s a gift,” she says. “I have a husband who enjoys my work, and understands the business side. He understands taxes and law, and enjoys matting and framing and also is an excellent salesperson.”
Though her artistic pursuits run the gamut from music to drawing to etching (“I’d even like to sculpt,” she said) watercolors are this artist’s bread and butter. Though she came from a creative family, some of the most important recognition of her talent came in the early ’80s, when she decided to take an art class.
Previously, she taught kindergarten for years locally before taking time away to raise her young children; when she was ready to return to the workforce, there were no jobs available.
“I took my first class from a local artist, and he introduced me to the best paint, the best paper and the best brushes. And if you don’t use those things, you might not find out if you have talent,” Glowacki says. “I fell in love with it. Within a year’s time of taking a first painting class around here, I was juried into my first art fair.”
She hadn’t realized at the time that watercolor is one of the more notoriously difficult mediums in which to work, but she obviously had a knack. Teachers at the Peninsula Art School in Door County pulled her aside and said, “Connie, you need to keep doing this.”
And she did. Over the past three decades, she and Mike criss-crossed the country to spend weekends showing and selling Connie’s paintings at art fairs, including a number of events in Door County each year. That area of northern Wisconsin has been a seemingly limitless well of artistic inspiration for Connie, who found both the supportive community and the natural scenery perfect for her work.
“Wherever you are, there are super creative — in many different media — artists,” she said. But Door County seems to be a perfect storm when it comes to the arts. “The people in Door County are well-educated. They love fine arts. You have the music, you have the fine arts, and then you surround that with nature.”
Glowacki is known for realistic portrayals of natural settings, and the beauty of the interplay between light and shadow is one of her primary visual inspirations. “Almost photographic,” is a phrase used on a regular basis to describe her work. Her goal is to transport her viewer to a place in his or her mind where they can feel the peace and calm reflected in her work, “Whether it’s a child playing in the sand, or a young girl offering you the strawberries she just picked,” she explains.
In 2008, the Glowackis were able to open a gallery in Door County where they now spend about half the year, from mid-May to mid-October, in Fish Creek.
“It is a wonderful experience to be able to share the love of her art with friends and customers who become friends,” says Mike Glowacki. “I tell people that I am the left side and Connie is the right side of the brain. The more that I can do to make the gallery work, the more time Connie has to paint.”
And paint she does, right in the gallery. If she’s not interacting with customers or the artists in the surrounding shops, she’s demonstrating her craft right there in the gallery.
For the past 15 to 20 years, she has also taught watercolor classes.
“She’s really good,” says Marilyn Olson of Genoa City, Ill. Herself a retired elementary and high school art teacher and watercolor artist, she has taken two classes with Glowacki. “I’ve taken some classes from people where they only teach their way. She’s very open-minded,” Olson said. “Connie is just a really good, down-to-earth person; she had a really great use of color.”
Wherever she goes, Glowacki sees a potential subject. “When you’re driving in the summertime, you find these barns with just the right light, and you say, ‘How fast am I going and can I pull over to the side to catch it fast enough?’” she recalled with a laugh. A recent passenger in her car commented, “When you ride with Connie, you’ve got to watch out, because she sees everything.”