By Mike Bisceglia
Seacoast Scene, April 16-22, 2015
HAMPTON - Winter may be reluctant to depart, but that hasn't stopped Cecilia Oh from capturing the beauty of the seacoast in several of her watercolor works of life in coastal New England.
"I am not heavily into the details of a work. I am actually trying to express the mood of what I see," said Oh.
Mrs. Oh expressions are done with gentleness and thoughtful precision.
"I thought about painting all of my life, but so many things delayed my even trying. It wasn't until four years ago that I even attempted to work in watercolors. Then, I took two classes and thought I might prefer to explore painting on my own. I think I learn better when I teach myself. So I began to experiment; I would try to paint a scene, but family and my professional responsibilities had priority. So, I decided to take photographs and work from those. That became a better choice for me, because I could then alter the reality to suit myself."
Cecilia's family emigrated from Seoul, Korea in 1980.
"My parents wanted their children to experience all that America had to offer," said Oh. "So, we made the trip and never looked back. All of my siblings are scattered throughout America, and only one brother remained in Korea. My mother developed her life as a seamstress, and I learned that trade from her. I suppose I saw art in her hands, so I decided to go in that direction through the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (NYC). It was there that I met my future husband, Duk. That is where I began to think about where I wanted my life to take me."
"We had children and moved to Hampton. We had the courage to open up the Hampton Cleaners at 644 Lafayette Road. I was busy with so many things, but I never forgot that I wanted to paint. Finally, with the kids grown, I simply decided to go for it! I'm glad I did. I found I have a passion for it, and I am told that my works are getting better year by year."
Cecilia's daughter, April, is a music therapist in NYC, while her son, Andrew, is a government analyst in Springfield, MA.
"I now have the confidence to create. Since I began four years ago, I have managed to create some 40 paintings, and I've managed to sell 29 of those. In addition, I have begun painting house portraits; my customers seem to enjoy my works very much."
"Preparation is the most time-consuming part of painting. An average painting may take three to four days to create, but six to seven hours to plan."
Although Cecilia's paintings have a calming, intriguing quality, they are modestly priced. More than profit from her efforts, Mrs. Oh finds satisfaction in giving joy to others through her artistic endeavors.
"I am so glad to live in New England. It is a perfect location for an artist . . . the seasons change . . . the colors are alive . . . and life here is so rich. Trying to capture it all in my painting is a true challenge."
"People see my paintings hanging in my store and wonder if I painted them. When I tell them that I did, they ask if I have painted all of my life. When I tell them that I am really just a beginner, they are amazed. They tell me they have no talent for any kind of artwork. I tell them that is not so. All they need is passion and anything is possible."
Cecilia Oh has certainly has both the talent and passion for depicting New England coastal life through her magnificent watercolors.