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Bringing the Natural World to Life


A retrospective show of paintings by Cornwall, Conn., artist Erica Prud’homme had opened at the Cornwall Library on March 7 — and then had closed almost immediately after because of the COVID-19 quarantine. 

The show has remained on the library walls in the interim, and is now available for viewing again (by appointment)  until July 15. 

The show includes canvases that Prud’homme chose from the course of her 20 years as a painter. 

The works range in size and subject matter but they mostly reflect her interest in the natural world’s repetitive patterns, showcased in oil paintings, watercolors, pastels and pencil drawings. 

The artist stressed that her source of inspiration varied for each piece in the exhibition. 

“Sometimes there is an inspiration, just something I see driving along, and occasionally there is something so beautiful I have to try and reproduce it, like a nasturtium plant and vine. 

“But at times, it is purely intellectual for me, like turning a human body into a landscape.”

Prud’homme was raised in Pennsylvania and then spent most of her adult life living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In 1967, she and her husband, Hector, bought a place in Cornwall as a weekend home. 

“I grew up in Lumberville in Bucks County, Pa., which was much like Cornwall:  green farm fields, the Delaware River, and lots of artists,” Prud’homme said. 

“Hector and I started our married life in a tiny apartment on East 66th Street, both of us working.  I was an exhibition designer at the American Museum of Natural History, Hector worked at a bank. 

“When we started to have children, we moved to the West Side, where the rents were cheaper then and the spaces larger.”

A few years ago, the couple moved to Cornwall full-time.   

When asked how her art has evolved throughout her career, Prud’homme said, “I’m finally learning how to escape from being addicted to realism. I’m not becoming more abstract, but I no longer try to be so accurate, like I’m painting a photograph. Once you begin to paint reality and it’s too real, it just becomes dull.”   

To learn more about the show, go to the library’s website at www.cornwalllibrary.org and scroll down to Events/Programs. To schedule a visit, email director@cornwalllibrary.org or call the library at 860-672-6874.

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