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Maria Bacinich, whose art centers on motion, sits still while playing with her do g Ramses.  Her painting 'Dancing Flowers' is above.

SPB to brush up on art

Artist Maria Bacinich will teach a painting course at Town Hall.


Staff Writer

     Maria Bacinich is in constant motion - but doesn't seem restless.  When she is sitting, her hands add shape to her words.   When she stands, she uses the space available, moving from one end of a room to the other.

      At her Palm Beach oceanfront home Wednesday, she moved among rooms in which her paintings and watercolors hang, discussing her approach to making art, which, not surprisingly, centers on motion and freedom.
     Bacinich will bring that approach to students in her art class at South Palm Beach Town Hall from Tuesday, Jan. 11, through Tuesday, Feb. 15.
     The outdoor expanse of waterfront space behind the town's buildings offers her favorite setting for teaching art.
     "If I can teach outdoors, I'll go for it," she said.
     Bacinich has taught outdoors at Henry M. Flagler Museum, John Prince Park, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park and on the grounds of The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea.
     "People feel better outside," she said.  "It makes a difference if you're not clogged up in some studio."
     Feeling good and not being "clogged up" - inhibited or intimidated - is crucial to making art, Bacinich said.
     "Many people have worked hard all their lives - really hard, heavy duty - always having to be somewhere, do something.  Creating art is something you do for yourself, not to please anyone else."
     She frequently starts classes by asking students to paint with the "wrong" hand - whichever one they don't usually use to write or draw.
     "It gets a lot of inhibitions over with," she said.   "It also breaks into the white paper."
     Bacinich first broke into the white paper when she was 8, heartily encouraged by her parents.
     She grew up in New York but was "banished from the kingdom" as a teen-ager to attend boarding schools.  She came back as soon as she could, she said, attending Finch College and then Hunter College, where she earned a bachelor of fine arts degree.
     From there she went to London, where she took drawing classes at the Byam Shaw School of Fine Art.  "The British are great draftsmen," she said.
     She is grateful for that experience and for her time at Finch College, where the style of the old masters was emphasized, although she didn't enjoy it at the time.  The reward, she said, was discipline.  "It was worth it," she said.
     She also found a way to work irony into the classic style.   One of her paintings from that period is a still-life of kitchen ware and a book inscribed on its binding, "the way to a man's heart."
     She strongly prefers, though, that her students find inspiration in themselves, rather than in a standard set by others.
     "Art is between you and your God," she said.
     Bacinich shares her art on cards for Hospice of Palm Beach County.  Some are inscribed with her poetry.  Her work has adorned the covers of The Official Guide to Palm Beach and other area guides.
     A showing of Bacinich's work at South Palm Beach Town Hall will follow her six-week art course.
     Classes will run from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and are open to students with all levels of experience.  Beginners are welcome.  A showing of students' works and a reception will be held at South Palm Beach Town Hall at the end of the course.  The cost of the course is $95, which will include supplies.  The deadline for reservations is Friday, Jan. 7.
     For more information or reservations, call South Palm Beach Town Hall at 588-8889.  


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