Donna M Blackburn's Artist statement:
I grew up in the costal towns of New Bedford and Fairhaven, famous for it's world-wide whaling industry, as well as artists Ryder, Ashley, Bradford, Van Beest, and Bearstadt. The art history of the area colored my interest in art at an early age. My parents noticed that I drew what I saw accurately, even before I could write my name. In the Fairhaven School system, I had a wonderful art teacher, Mr Joseph Rapoza, whom I had as an instructor from 7th to 12th grade in Fairhaven High School. I continued my art education at the " Art Institute of Boston", now part of Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. I graduated in 1970 with a diploma in Illustration, and later received an Honorary degree from the school in 1994. Over the years I have taken painting workshops with Tony Van Hasselt in Provence, France, and Saville , Spain, as well as a painting work shop with Charles Gruppe in Monte Carlo, France.
Though I trained as an illustrator, I found that I was able to use both watercolors and oil paints to successfully express my interests in surrounding coastal scenes, as well as illustrate various topics that lead to book publications, nation and regional greeting card companies, as well as art sales internationally. Though I have been creative all my life, I have had to work my creativity into other jobs. I came to the island with my husband to pursue a job as Recreational Director in what was the Long Term Care (now Windemere ), back in 1976, and later as Children's Library Assistant in Edgartown in 1995. I also enjoy figure drawing, and have recently tried my hand at pottery and sculpting.
Besides winning a number of local art awards and shows , both in Fairhaven and here on the Vineyard, I was awarded a year long national show for my figurative painting, "You Win!", by the "Allied Artists of America" for their first Associate on-line show ( July 2022 to July 2023).
Though I enjoy "en plein air" painting from time to time, I am mostly a studio artist. My inspirations come from a variety of sources, but I collect ideas mostly from my coastal surroundings. Everything from the lovely whaling homes and manicured gardens to the odd shell on the beach or small birds in the beach grass hold my interest. I always have my camera ready to take a photo, but I also take a "mental picture", of the subject to be sure I notice the details that maybe lost in the photo.
I have exhibited my art work in the Old Sculpin Gallery, the Art Institute of Boston's Almunni Art Show in the Transportation Building in Boston, Willoughby's Gallery Edgartown, Birdsey 's Gallery in Osterville, and I am now part of the Louisa Gould Gallery for the past 18 years!