Ann Getsinger, a New Marlborough artist who has lived in the Berkshires for 30 years, settled here after getting “goose bumps” on a drive through it. “It’s a magic place,” she concluded and, soon after, made it her home.
Getsinger also spends a fair amount of time at her family home in coastal Maine and is represented by art galleries there. “I showed at a series of great galleries, but kept moving down the coast and now I show at the Arundel Farm Gallery in Kennebunkport.” She also shows at the Camilla Richman Gallery on the Cape.
She studied art for a short time at the San Francisco Art Institute but, after 18 months, moved on. When Getsinger arrived in the Berkshires, she and her then boyfriend, artist Shelly Fink, opened a frame store on Main Street in Great Barrington. Fink, an experienced and well-regarded painter, also became an important mentor to her.
“We worked like hell for years, learning framing the hard way. Despite the responsibilities and time commitments of running the store, we managed to keep painting.” A number of her art patrons started out as framing customers and then began buying her art. They sold the store in 1994.
Given where she has studios, it is clear that location is important to her. “Everything about place is in my paintings,” she says. “I’m happy to be here and in Maine because nature is such an inspiration for my work.”
She describes herself as a “realist with a surreal edge—a twist.” She will start a painting with an object that triggers something and then feel it begin to unfold. “I make it up as I go along, which isn’t typical for realist painters. My stories evolve. It’s hard to explain, but people get it.”
Getsinger’s ideas and inspiration “don’t happen in the same way. They seem to come from all directions, all the time, often when I’m working. There is a lovely groove I can find and feel that allows the crisp transmission of these things.”
Curious to learn how Getsinger knows when a painting is finished, when I asked, she replied “It’s a gut thing. Sometimes it takes a while. And sometimes there are epic battles in the end.”
Two or three times a year, Getsinger is in group shows. “I love it when people invite me to shows around here. I’d like to be in even more because they’re fun..and it’s a great way to stay on the radar around here.”
Getsinger teaches a small class for six weeks every summer. “I try not to have more than seven students.” News about the classes is through word of mouth. “I like the idea of having students in my studio,” she says.
Getsinger is more than “just” an artist. She is also an active part of the New Marlborough community. She does not just “talk the talk“ about the importance of local involvement. Her communal “resume” includes service on the cultural council and the board of the village association. She designed the logo for the 250th celebration and wrote for the New Marlborough Five Village News. She also provides graphic art “here and there” for local nonprofits, Her primary civic interest these days is “in promoting small-scale agriculture and economic drivers” in this idyllic rural community. “I try to balance my alone time creating art with my involvement in our local life. Without that, my life here would not be as meaningful, challenging, and full as it is.” Amen to that.