Nothing Diluted About Brigitte Loritz

Brigitte Loritz has been teaching at Rye Arts Center for 28 years. This month, her work and that of the students in her advanced watercolor Thursday morning class will be showcased at the Rye Free Reading Room in “Thursday A.M. Take Two.”

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Published November 7, 2014 7:08 PM
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Watercolor-thBrigitte Loritz has been teaching at Rye Arts Center for 28 years. This month, her work and that of the students in her advanced watercolor Thursday morning class will be showcased at the Rye Free Reading Room in “Thursday A.M. Take Two.”

By Janice Llanes Fabry

 

BrigitteBrigitte Loritz has been teaching at Rye Arts Center for 28 years. This month, her work and that of the students in her advanced watercolor Thursday morning class will be showcased at the Rye Free Reading Room in “Thursday A.M. Take Two.”

 

“Some of these talented students have been with me since I started teaching here. They’re top-notch and I’m so proud of the fact that we study together and that we’re all connected to Rye,” said Loritz, whose ties to the community’s art world run deep.

 

watercolorth-2Besides her indelible affiliation with the Arts Center, Loritz has taught in the Port Chester School District for 35 years. As an instructor for the Artists in Residence program of the Port Chester Council for the Arts, she teaches kindergarteners through fifth graders and covers everything from basic drawing to watercolor.

 

She loves having emerging artists in her life, young and old. “I love the combination of the two,” she noted. “The kids keep me on my toes. They are less inhibited and freer in expressing themselves then adults are. The adults, on the other hand, have more sophistication and they’re all in class because they want to be.”

 

Even as a child growing up in Switzerland, Loritz loved to draw and was most likely influenced by her textile designer father, who was a casual “Sunday painter.” She went on to take courses at Kunstgewerbe Schule in Zurich, but was not introduced to watercolor painting until she emigrated 52 years ago.

 

“When I was 20, I came to this country as a governess and planned to stay two years to learn the language. I met my future husband and stayed,” she recalled. “A neighbor came home with a wonderful watercolor and I started studying.”

 

Arts-DSCN1706Loritz attributes her development as a watercolorist to her “mentor and inspiration,” local artist Shannon Kelly, who held the RAC position before her. From then on, her creativity flowed and her love for the medium flourished. “With watercolor, there’s always an unexpected wonderful surprise that I call a lucky accident. That keeps me going,” said the artist, who paints from photographs, as well as her imagination.

 

She vividly remembers the first painting she sold, an abstract house on a hill, at the old Sound Shore Gallery in Port Chester. She also recalled the time one of her paintings was stolen from a gallery in Stamford. “When I told the gentleman who used to mat my paintings, he said, ‘Now, you have arrived,’” she laughed.

 

Through word of mouth, Loritz has had her share of commissions, has been featured in numerous exhibits, and taken on various curator roles. Most recently, she chaired the fourth annual “Art 10573” at Crawford Park in Port Chester. She has also been involved in the after school art programs at Milton School and has served as the art director at American Yacht Club and the Byram River Arts Festival, which featured over 100 artists.

 

A devoted teacher, she still aspires to invigorate her students. “On the weekends, I rack my brains for new ideas to keep my students motivated. I look through the 60 watercolor books I have and my mind goes a mile a minute,” she said.

 

How does she keep her own work fresh? “I attend workshops to feed myself,” she replied. “As long as my left hand functions, I will never give up painting.”

 

 

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