WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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It turns out that her scientific training prepared her for the new challenge of painting portraits. "Science definitely helps me be more methodical and less judgmental. It helps me bring into painting that discipline of asking questions, experimenting with how to answer them, and then looking at the information I get with an open mind," she said. "I would have given up painting long ago if I had kept seeing unsuccessful attempts as failures." Painting a living, breathing subject requires a completely different skill set than the one she spent years honing. She's had to rewire some long-held drawing habits and push herself to paint with looser and more confident brushwork. It's been "a fascinating journey of relearning how to paint," she said. "It's very, very difficult." Her model for this genre is John Singer Sargent — think of his famously scandalous Madame X and daring Isabella Stewart Gardner portraits — whom Wiecha describes as a "master of light and dark, clar- ity and softness, and a meticulous draftsman and perfectionist." Like Sargent, Wiecha seeks to convey something deeper than a like- ness. The rapport between painter and subject includes a "mystical" element different from that rendered in a photographic portrait, and one that she is working to understand. Besides the artist's style and skill, she mused, "the person is bringing something — or leaving some- thing — to the process." But before achieving that transcendental goal, she needed to retrain. For an adept painter, that took courage. "Every painter I've talked to is always anxious about not being able to make their next painting work," she said. "It's been great to have this opportunity to learn something that is so challenging." In July, she rented a high-ceilinged studio in a former Framingham warehouse, and then applied to study with Waltham-based Kelly Carmody, a portrait specialist who has had works in Washington, D.C.'s National Gallery of Art and in London's National Portrait Gallery. Wiecha gained a coveted spot. "When you make a decision that works," Wiecha said, "things fall into place." She also takes a weekly class, where she draws from live models. But she needed to practice at home, so she began looking for subjects. When Wiecha and I met to discuss the possibility of a magazine Out Behind Stinsons 168 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 7 artist profile "a fascinating journey of relearning how to paint"

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