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Local artist featured at Orion Art Center

Yolanda Garfield talks about a painting she did of one of her sons with his dog and cat. Photo by T. Keiser (click for larger version)
June 27, 2012 - Do you enjoy human or animal portrait art or landscape art? Then get to the Orion Art Center on June 28 between 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and check out the work by local artist Yolanda Garfield.

Garfield started out drawing as a young child, which eventually led to painting. By around age 15 she started selling her portraits.

"I've always been a portrait artist," she said. "That's my main thing."

Garfield said she loves Lucian Freud's work, which has been a great influence on her and is the one she tries to learn from more than anybody else.

It was through looking at Lucian Freud's art that she learned how to transfer portrait art into animal portraits and landscape art.

"I thought people were one kind of work. Landscapes were a different kind of work, but I find out it's all exactly the same work," she said. "It is just a matter of applying patience and doing it until you're happy with it."

Having never gone to art school and being a self taught artist, has given her a lot of freedom, added Garfield.

"One thing I've learned is if you just do the work you'll get better," she said.

Garfield was originally born in Poland, just after World War II. Her parents were Holocaust survivors, something she believes really influenced the way she thought.

"Although I am Jewish, my parents sent me to a couple of Catholic Boarding Schools, so I have a very strong sense of inclusion," said Garfield. "I just believe people are people. I also believe the catholic culture somehow got into me because some of my work is religious icons."

She lived in Poland until two years old and then her parents moved around.

"We went to Israel and then we moved to North Africa, France and various other places, we never stayed," she said. "Finally we settled in Winnipeg Manitoba and that's pretty much where I grew from age six until age 16."

At 16, she finally came to the United States. Her parents moved to Hamtramck, where they owned a clothing store.

She also traveled a lot when she married a previous husband. She moved to New York, Baltimore, Arizona, and Alaska.

"It was great, I loved it," she said. "Wherever I live, I try to paint that place."

Living in Alaska she did a lot of Alaskan scenery art and started painting animals.

Eventually Garfield found her way back to Michigan and found a house with Lake Orion right outside her window.

"Here I am painting the Lake and doing a lot of Lake landscapes," she said.

Garfield also has a passion for writing. She has written fiction, as well as been a columnist for various different newspapers across the country.

I am also a secret poet," she said. "They'll publish my poetry after I die."

Garfield said she usually tries to tell a story in her painting as well.

"I want a painting to be interesting. I don't just want a painting to be just a flower, although I've done a flower," added Garfield. "Sometimes you do things because you know people want that. But 99 percent of the time when I do a painting it is because I'm trying to say something."

Orion Art Center is located at 115 S. Anderson Street. For more information call 248-693-4986.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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