In a fast-paced, computerized world that is often dehumanizing, Lucelle Raad’s
works evoke an intimacy and sensitivity unique in the world of art. She
celebrates the life of the child. Her style and palette are distinctive. Her
vision is the wonder of children. Pensive moments, secrets shared, a helping
hand, simple play. These are among the elements of life she portrays. There
is joy, discovery, wonderment.
Born and educated in England, Lucelle
moved to South Africa in her early twenties. She there took up painting
under the tutelage of commercial artist Dorothy Shaw. Her subject was the
figure, specifically, the Bantu men and women with whom she came in contact
every day. Later, fearing for the future in South Africa of her two infant
children, she and her husband came to the United States, settling on Long
Island. Eventually she relocated to a lakeside home in Clemson, South
To supplement her husband’s income,
Lucelle pursued her painting, hoping to find a market for her work. An
artist friend introduced her to an established distributor, who said that he
could find a ready market for her work on one condition: that she paint
children. Using her son and daughter as models, Lucelle took up the
challenge. And very soon, she came to find the effort supremely rewarding.
When, some time later, she turned a body of new work over to the
distributor, he was ecstatic. And so, her career was launched.
If asked why she has continued
exclusively to paint children, Lucelle is quick to reply: “I find
unending satisfaction in combining my artistic interest in the figure with
my emotional interest in children. There is more expression in an offhand
gesture by a small child, than in all the posturings of our adult world.”
Describing the work can be complicated.
There are distinctly impressionistic influences. There are also evident
traditional qualities with a contemporary feel. Lucelle’s work is realistic,
though she abandons classical symmetry to capture individual movement.
Spontaneous gestures, disparate groupings and asymmetric patterns appeal to
the emotions. The moment is captured as if it is unfolding before one’s very
eyes. You know these kids; you somehow understand their impulses and can
share them. Best of all, you can see and feel the developing character
within the child.
Lucelle employs a high key palette that
is bright and active. Colors seem to change as you watch. Her acrylic medium
is well matched to her compositions. She concentrates on movement and action
rather than precise detail. Her bold brush strokes possess a sketch-like
quality. A passing glance at the dozen or so works in progress propped
helter-skelter around her studio suggests the multiplicity of her vision. In
one, a fledgling artist perfects his masterpiece in chalk on pavement. In
another, two boys on a beach point seaward, picturing the day when they can
join the crew of a sailboat on the horizon. In a third, a ten-year old girl,
knees pressed to chin, dreams the innocent dreams of childhood.
One is touched by Lucelle’s blending of
the commonplace and sublime. The hopeful innocence of her children conveys
in each case a new awakening of the American dream. Meanwhile, America
fulfils this British-born artist’s dream each time one of her youthful
figures ventures forth into the grown-up world.
In her more than twenty years of
painting, Lucelle has self-published upwards of 100 limited and open edition
prints. Serigraphs of her work are published by London Contemporary Art, of
London, U. K., and Jacksonville, Fl. The serigraphs are distributed
worldwide and have found enormous popularity aboard the world’s cruise
Greeting cards, calendars, sculpture,
needlework and wall coverings licensed from Lucelle’s designs can be found
in galleries and shops worldwide.
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