By Joyce Ecochard
I have always loved to paint. As a child I was often found in front of an easel splashing colors. Later, while taking classes in oil, acrylic, watercolor, and gouache, my interest in art grew.
In 1970 I moved to Ocean County, just a stone’s throw away from Long Beach Island. Its beautiful beaches, museums, and art galleries were a great inspiration for me. On a whim I would drive over the bridge to sit on a dune, sketch, watch the children play, or walk along the breakers.
During the 1980s and 1990s an old art form called tole and decorative painting attracted my attention. It consists of flowery ornate designs painted on useful objects made of wood and tinware. I practiced simple brush strokes, then began applying them to everything that would stand still — furniture, walls, stepstools, watering cans, T-shirts, and even seashells. I enjoyed creating nautical themes on the shells, and I loved going to the Island on bright sunny days to collect them. It proved to be a delightful task during all four seasons of the year.
After five decades of living and painting at the New Jersey shore, LBI continues to inspire me. Currently, I have returned to the challenge of watercolors, aiming to express with a colorful palette the beauty of nature and the wonders of the sea.