Tour artist portrays native wildlife

Linda Truman, watercolor and pastel artist, readies a large framed pastel for her studio show as part of this year’s Artists Tour. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

Linda Truman, watercolor and pastel artist, readies a large framed pastel for her studio show as part of this year’s Artists Tour. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

BY PAT FARNELLI

Linda Truman’s weekdays are spent teaching in a special education classroom at the Choconut Valley Elementary School, but one would never guess that while viewing her artistry and realism portraying the animals, plant life, and scenic beauty of her Endless Mountains surroundings.

Her studio is in a spacious finished basement in her Bridgewater Township home on rural Mead Road, across from a barn and pastures filled with horses. Lovely landscaped gardens surround the entrances to her home and studio.

The studio itself is an amazing, light-filled workspace with well appointed custom cabinetry all designed and crafted by her husband Bob, who is presently just finishing installing tile in the entry area to her studio.

Linda Truman works on pastel paintings of owls in her studio on Mead Road in Bridgewater Twp.. She is participating in the Artists Tour on Columbus Day Weekend. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

Linda Truman works on pastel paintings of owls in her studio on Mead Road in Bridgewater Twp.. She is participating in the Artists Tour on Columbus Day Weekend. STAFF PHOTO/PAT FARNELLI

Truman has been one of the artists on the tour since its very first year, and is now co-chair along with Betty Bryden.

“It has become one of the major events in the county,” Truman said. “This is the seventeenth tour.”

Truman works in a very realistic style, and is self-taught. She works in watercolor and many different varieties of pastels, but not oil pastels. She said that some years, her exhibit has been mostly watercolors, while this year, she has only five, with many more large and small pastels. “I have always done both watercolors and pastels,” she reflected. “I choose which one by subject, because with pastels you work from dark colors to light, while with watercolors you work from light to dark.”

Most of her plant and animal subjects are native to the region; she will have a tundra swan rendered in pastel on display, but does not paint African animals.

Her workplace is enviable for its size, its excellent cabinetry and drawing surfaces, and its full spectrum light. Many drawers hold a huge assortment of pastels, because “you have to have one of every color for pastel painting. You need a variety of colors and textures. The harder pastels are put down first, and you finish with softer.”

She uses sanded papers and suede matboard for the pastels, and various water media papers for the watercolors, some of which are oversized and need to be specially ordered. She is fond of Unison, Mt. Vision and Rembrandt pastels, but uses many more brands.

Truman credits her parents with nurturing her early love of drawing. They provided “an endless supply” of art materials as she grew up in outside New York City and New Jersey. She has lived in Susquehanna County since 1975.
Although she has been a special education teacher for 34 years, painting and art activities have been central to her life.

She is an avid bird watcher, gardener, and wildlife enthusiast, and loves observing nature, especially plants and animals in their own habitats.

She aims to draw the reader into an intimate experience with creatures they would otherwise overlook, and often uses playful settings to capture the viewer’s imagination, like a redwinged blackbird on a yellow tractor crossing sign, a deer in a dense cornfield, or a thrush on a roll of rope. They reflect on the interaction of man and the environment. Her large scenic paintings are designed to be meditative in nature.

On Monday, she will be demonstrating how to paint a variety of tree bark in watercolor.

She can be reached at bltruman@epix.net or (570) 278-2332. Her studio is located a mile from the entrance of Mead Road, which is the first left on 167 coming from Montrose. Look for the Artist Tour pink signs.