By Isabel Marcheselli
WESTFIELD – Around town and over the years, Westfield residents may have glimpsed the artwork of fellow resident Richard Nowak, an artist with a passion for depicting Westfield in his plein air paintings.
On a given summer day, he may be seen painting on location at Grandmother’s Garden, his self-described “bouncing paintbrush” breathing life and pulsating color into his lyrical renditions of flowers, garden paths, the gazebo, and more.
“Westfield has a lot of beautiful sights. People should take a walk and see,” Nowak says about his naturalist paintings inspired by Westfield.
Westfield residents will appreciate the wide and familiar scope of Nowak’s subjects ranging from Grandmother’s Garden to Hampton Ponds, Amelia Park, the Westfield Great River Bridge, and buildings in downtown Westfield. He is occasionally commissioned by residents to do on-site fine art paintings of their homes, and his works have been on display at the Westfield Athenaeum, Mama Cakes, Richard’s Grinders, and Danco Furniture Store.
Born in England, Nowak is the son of Polish immigrants who came to America in 1963 and settled in Westfield. Nowak started sketching as a child and, for over 25 years, has been painting in multiple mediums, mainly oil. Citing Monet, Van Gogh, and Gruppe as artistic influences, Nowak currently seeks gallery representation for his collection of over 300 paintings done in a realistic style with a touch of impressionism.
A certified Grumbacher acrylic painting instructor, Nowak teaches a popular acrylic painting class that has been held for years at Westfield on Weekends’ Rinnova building at 105 Elm St. on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. Although the pandemic has introduced challenges which made him temporarily switch his class to an online format, socially distanced, live art classes have resumed at the Rinnova building.
For anyone interested in experiencing the art of plein air painting, Nowak will host a personally-led workshop in which he will take students to the Westfield Great River Bridge to do an acrylic painting of the bridge and foliage. This workshop will take place on Oct. 24 at 2p.m.; drop-ins are welcome and it costs $20 to sign-up. If a student does not have an easel, Nowak can provide them with one. To contact the artist for more information, visit richardnowakpaintings.com.