Art and article by Art Liebeskind

“Make a mess”, he said with assertion. I sat there puzzled. What I had in front of me were six bottles of poster paints, two brushes, and a pad of newsprint. I sat on an orange crate in a brightly lighted basement room in Greenwich Village in 1964. To me, a young doctor, the words organized, efficient, and goal oriented were foreign language. But yet I, with eight other puzzled thirty-somethings, were equally impressed by this 74-year-old Russian-American artist. We dove in, splattering and pushing the paint.

So began my career as a painter and a love was born. It took me to summers at Skowhegan, Maine, and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico; to workshops in Amagansett, Taos, Truro, and to teachers like Jules Olitski, Bryce Marden, and Jacob Lawrence. At first I used acrylics and oils then discovered and settled on watercolor. I had no formal training but I pursued my passion for art while maintaining a career as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. I am truly blessed to have three loves: therapy, painting and playwriting.

I’ve had a full production of a one act play at HB Studios directed by Herbert Berghoff and a reading of a full length play at the Arclight Theatre in Manhattan. Now, on LBI, where I come on weekends and summers, I have been sketching and painting houses, boats, docks, shells and non-objective abstractions of whatever occurs to me. I love the light, the ocean and the people who live here and I am fortunate to still sit down with my paints, watercolor paper, and brushes to “make a mess.”


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