The paintings I create are a romanticized view of rural America, inspired by the school of American Illustration. While the animals, vegetables and botanicals I paint are filled with detail and realism, it’s the idea I’m after – a stylized version that represents the essence of the subject. My optimism and sense of humor usually find their way into my work”.
As the wife of a romantic with four beautiful children, I am living my dream of an artist’s life in bucolic upstate New York, and my paintings are grounded in that dream.”
Gigi Begin lives in Cambridge, NY, drawing inspiration for her paintings from life in her quaint village as well as the surrounding landscape. She honed her artistic skills with a decade in the fast-paced fashion world of New York City, but now prefers to sketch the living world rather than haute couture.
Gigi Begin’s artwork is created in collaboration with her husband and business partner, John Begin, a woodworker and designer of fine art furniture who collects and re-purposes the rustic wood boards which become the canvases for her paintings. Old post-and-beams, barn boards, scraps from the lumber milling process or an old door might find their way into her art as John seeks out pieces with just the right amount of checks, cracks, knots, tool marks, stains and heft to bring charm and warmth to the finished piece.
Selected boards are specially prepared by John and then handed over to Gigi to create the imagery. Inspiration for Gigi’s paintings often comes from the board itself – its shape or size might spark an idea. But the artist also keeps ideas in a sketchpad, a practice she acquired during her years as a clothing designer in New York’s fashion industry. An interesting pencil thumbnail will be enlarged and elaborated into a full-color work of art, showcasing her sensibility for design, color, seasons and trends cultivated from her former career.
Gigi then carefully begins to paint directly on the board, allowing the natural charm of the wood to shine through as her subject and the written word playfully interact. The calligraphy is hand-painted. Hanging hardware is professionally mounted by John, whose background in carpentry guarantees a quality product.
Each piece is original, signed and dated by the artist. Many of Gigi Begin’s pieces are also available as fine art prints, with careful attention paid to maintaining the integrity of the unique artistry of her original paintings.