Monique Sakellarios shows her unique painting style locally and around the country
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Monique Sakellarios says she didn’t really expect to be a professional painter. Yet 25 years later, she is represented by 20 galleries across the country and participates in national juried shows.
She travels to Europe to paint, and studied at Leonardo Da Vinci School of Art in Cairo, Egypt. But for all her international ties, she’s very attached to her own Nashua gallery and the region she’s inhabited for 37 years. Her activity with the downtown revitalization group, Great American Downtown, led her to get involved with Art Walk Nashua.
Those Art Walks have helped more people discover her cozy space, called Maison de L’Art, at 57 East Pearl St., formerly the headquarters of the Nashua Area Artists Association. You can also see her impressionist oils at the Nashua Library during Art Walk, Saturday, June 9.
Sakellarios’ technique is very much her own. Save for the drawing and advertising painting classes she took in Cairo, she is self-taught. She uses a wet-on-wet oil technique, and tries to finish a painting in a day or two, to remain in the same mood she started it in. Her paintings are often distinguishable by her color themes; she prefers warm colors. She starts each painting with a red canvas, and loves purple. Even her winter scenes include some warmth, such as leftover fall leaves.
She seeks to portray intimacy in her paintings, and chooses landscapes or places that are usually overlooked.
“I like to make [viewers] notice things they do not notice otherwise,” Sakellarios said. A painting of hers should give the viewer something to dream about. “I want something that people are going to look at and say, ‘I wish I was there,’” Sakellarios said.
In Manchester, Sakellarios is displaying the product of two weeks of painting in southern France at the Franco-American Centre, 52 Concord St., Manchester, 669-4045, through July 1. Sakellarios rented an apartment with an artist from Maine and two other Granite State artists in Villefranche-sur-Mer last spring. They went outdoors early each day to paint scenes in the town and surrounding area, and she continued to paint from photos after she left France. French is Sakellarios’ first language. She lived in Egypt for 18 years and also in Lebanon, which had been a French protectorate.
Skellarios took up oil painting when her youngest son started school, and she entered a Nashua Area Artists Association show in a mall. Now, she’s a signature member of the Oil Painters of America. That requires being juried into the organization’s national competition for three consecutive years. She’s also a signature artist in the National Oil and Acrylics Painters Society, and belongs to a women’s professional artists group in New York, Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club. For Skellarios, being able to sell her art is important but so is competition. It “keeps me on my toes,” she said.
Sakellarios shows her community spirit through more than Art Walk. When a Nashua Symphony executive director asked Sakellarios to paint the orchestra, Sakellarios donated a painting and the image was used for the 2003-2004 season program. She has also participated in art auctions for area fundraisers.
Sakellarios sells jewelry and work by other local artists at Maison de L’Art, but only pieces that she loves, and she sticks with New Hampshire or regional art.
Sakellarios now lives in Merrimack. She has two grown sons. One will return to Boston after his wedding in Turkey this month. The other teaches English in Japan.