Christa Forrest exhibited her oil and pastel paintings of local New England and Hudson Valley landscapes, including a large oil canvas depicting Cove Island Beach against the backdrop of a sunset.
Forrest, 47, of Stamford, who teaches at Stamford’s Pinot’s Palette — a paint and sip studio at Harbor Point where students can learn to paint while drinking wine —quit a career in finance three years ago to go professional as an artist.
“I hated my job (in finance),” said Forrest. “Now when I get up in the morning I do art and I love it.”
Forrest said the festival has been an opportunity to find new prospects who signed up for her newsletter.
“It’s a nice day out today, and I’m getting to interact with people,” said Forrest. “It gets me out of the studio.”
A steady stream of aficionados met artists and browsed a pavilion of tents showcasing the handiwork of more than 130 juried artists and craftspeople from up and down the eastern seaboard at the third annual Stamford Arts Festival at Harbor Point. Admission to the festival was free.
The roster of artists came as far north as Nashua, N.H., and south to Florida , including artists from Canada. Sue Brown Gordon, of Gordon Fine Arts Gallery in Stamford who coordinated the festival.
This year’s attendance was estimated by Brown to be “several thousand,” with the event running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, Brown said.
A growth in attendance since last year reflects the show’s increasing presence on the radar of the region’s art collectors, who are taking note of the opportunity to discover little or lesser known artists producing a high caliber of work, Brown Gordon said.
Under the rules of the festival, artists were also required to be on hand during the weekend to represent themselves and their work.
“The reputation of the event is drawing strong patronage and people are waiting to spend on arts because they know they can come here and get something great that is original,” Brown Gordon said. “Some of the patrons collect these artists work seven or eight times…”
Artists paid a fee of $365 to occupy a booth for the weekend.
Under one of the tents, Amy Kaplan, of Westport displayed a diverse selection of her work including a 30-by-60 canvas of a shoreline scene of Treasure Beach, Fla., called “Family Day” which was on sale for $3,400. Kaplan studied Fine Art at Syracus University.
The 49-year-old also creates so-called “dreamweaves,” — geometric arrangements of slivers of her painting palettes encased in an epoxy resin.
“I just loved the way my palettes looked so I started cutting them into strips,” Kaplan said. “ …The land sea and sky are also really important to me and I often see in terms of landscapes when I am looking at things.”
Jen Glover Riggs, a preschool teacher at Side by Side Charter School at Norwalk, said her journey as a self-taught artist creating abstract canvases using encaustic and acrylic paints about three years ago.
Riggs said she, “hits,” the canvas with various tools to create abstract patterns similar to artists like abstract Impressionist Jackson Pollock, one of the artists
While she often starts with a strong idea in mind, she re-evaluates the composition of paintings if they evolve in unexpected ways, Riggs said.
“This has been a good show,” said Riggs, 40. “It is always great to get tips and ideas for how to do things differently.”
Hillary Weinroth, 60, and her mother-in-law, Luba Weinroth, of Stamford, said the waterfront outdoor setting of the festival helped make it a pleasure.
“There are a lot of very pretty things,” Hillary Weinroth said. “It is also nice down here.”
“I like it and you get to see a lot of different things,” 85-year-old Luba Weinroth said.