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Rowayton Artist Inspired by Natural World

DARIEN, Conn. – Though most artists stick with a traditional canvas surface for painting, Rowayton artist Lynn Stephens Massey uses something a little less conventional – paper bags. Massey's work is on display for the rest of the month at the Darien Rowayton Bank .

"I've been doing more work on brown paper bags because they are recyclable and adhere to the theme of being eco-friendly," she said. Massey paints bright, colorful watercolors of natural objects such as shells and insects. She applies an acrylic varnish to each work to protect it without a glass frame. She says it makes her work more accessible and viewable without glare from the glass.

"I'm attracted to nature. I spend a lot of time outside, walking and swimming. I'm intrigued by found objects." One day while out for a run, Massey came upon a wasp, which she picked up and took home. That find inspired a series of 26 paintings of various insects.

Massey began painting and drawing at a young age. Her mother was an artist who gave lessons to all the neighborhood kids. Massey was introduced to watercolors at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore., and then majored in illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. She studied for a year at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and then moved to New York to begin a career in illustrating for books and editorial magazines.

Her work also includes other objects such as beach chairs and house portraits. She is working on a book of Long Island Sound maritime objects. Massey is attracted to shapes and colors and often paints whatever attracts her eye. "I want people to smile when they see my work."

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