Skip Van Lenten


We have a detached garage at our home in the Adirondacks where I like to paint in the summer months. Since it is not heated, the time I spend there is limited, but the garage (slash) studio has a nice airy feel to it. With the door open on rainy days, I still get to enjoy a sense of being outdoors and out in the open. I usually work with acrylics and watercolors when I do landscapes, but I occasionally do a portrait in oil. With the exception of the portraits, most of my paintings are not meant to be realistic. They come from an opportunity to relax and enjoy painting without that kind of pressure.

A look inside the studio, and a few examples of some of my paintings and drawings: 

When I was a kid, all of the pine trees that I drew were pointy little things, and the branches fell like feathers on an arrow. Seeing them in the Adirondack mountains after a heavy snow, I can see where the idea of drawing things began to unfold. I'm not even sure I knew what a real pine tree looked like, but they were easy to draw from imagination, and I could create a whole forest with just a pencil and eraser. It was not until I was in my 40's that I developed an interest in painting. I did my first portraits in oil as Christmas gifts for my sisters in 1983 and found myself mesmerized by the process. Painting creates its own atmosphere, away from all of the distractions that surround us, and it was in this quiet space that I found a reason to return again and again, first with oil paints, then watercolors and acrylics. I still draw now and then, but I look at pine trees a lot differently today.

I wrote a collection of short stories about growing up in northern New Jersey during the 50's and 60's, and if I could, I would reprint it here as a kind of "Super About" page. Seniors would especially be able to relate to those times, but there are also more contemporary stories from later years that might appeal to anyone; the complexity of life and the emotional impact of some of our relationships are common to all of us.

The book is available on Amazon. Click on the link below, and go to the "Look Inside" feature to read the first story in its entirety:

A Little Adventure and Other Stories