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Vic Mastis sunflower painting
All that Glitters
Vic Mastis, part-owner of Gateway Gallery in Clayton, began her artistic journey early. Throughout school, she took art classes, which she believes kept her from dropping out. In junior high school, she won her first art award and, at the age of 15, sold her first piece, a series of large abstract paintings. Then Vic took things a step further—her first job was as a portrait artist at Six Flags when she was 16, working with pastels.
Her passion for art took a detour for several years as she ran a beauty shop and cared for her children. Vic was content waiting until her children were in college to begin creating art again, but in 1997 she discovered she had breast cancer. After one of her chemotherapy sessions, she attended a pastel convention in Kansas City, which reignited her artistic drive.
“I put on my wig and attended the convention,” Vic says. “I was so elated when I got home, I started the Gateway Pastel Artists, which is still in existence today.”
Vic’s mission is to give strong feelings to those who view her work. She calls her paintings “total effect paintings,” and hopes they evoke something for each viewer, much in the way her own personal artwork collection speaks to her.
“My walls at home are decorated with other artists’ paintings,” she says. “I remember where I purchased each piece and the feeling it gave me when I first saw it.”
Vic uses a specialized technique that took several years to develop. She layers gold leaf with oil glazes, which gives her work a luminous quality. Although layering gold leaf is time-consuming, she believes the technique creates an inner glow within her pieces, giving traditional subjects such as flowers and nature a modern twist. Nature is a recurrent theme in her work. The flower paintings sell best, something that does not surprise Vic.
“Flowers brighten the surroundings, create a romantic mood, and bring joy and beauty to any room in which they are placed, whether it be real flowers or a painting of flowers,” she says. “People want to experience these feelings in their home on a permanent basis, so they purchase paintings that will give them joy indefinitely.”
The sunflower is the most common flower seen in Vic’s paintings, and for good reason. “Sunflowers were my mother’s favorite,” she says. Her mother asked her to paint sunflowers on her cutting board, and then she hung it in the kitchen.
“I love to paint sturdy flowers with thick stems. They make a statement. I am not too fond of wimpy flowers,” Vic says. She is also working on a series entitled Into the Woods, a reflection of the outdoor world she admires so much.
“My husband and I camp a lot, and I grew up hunting, so I have a deep respect for the woods,” she says. “In this series, my intentions are to take the viewer down the path—be it a part of their life, a path to escape or discover something.”
Vic paints every season, and like most artists, she has a favorite: fall.
“Colors are so bright and, if they are not, I make them glow anyway,” she says. “That is the fun of being an artist,” she says. “I can interpret or change anything to give the painting the feeling I want.”
For more information about Vic's art, visit www.fineartbyvic.com.