by Carole Verona
Joselyn Kinstler Ney’s father, Herbert, designed and made jewelry in New York City in the early 1940s. Joselyn, now in her late 70s, remembers taking his customers’ checks from the bureau in the dining room and drawing — usually big Cinderella-like dresses — on the backs of them. One day her father discovered her artwork when he went to the bank to deposit the checks. “And boy, did I get it,” Joselyn recalled with a laugh.
Those memories came flashing back as she prepared for her first one-woman show of 60 paintings of flowers and landscapes done in watercolors, acrylics and ink. The exhibit can currently be seen at Rydal Park, 1515 The Fairway, Jenkintown, through Oct. 30.
Joselyn, who has lived in Lafayette Hill since 1968, said she is now living her fifth or sixth life. The others were dedicated to raising a family of three, including a special needs child, with her husband Andy, and pursuing a career, first by working for others and then as a successful entrepreneur. This time around she is living for herself. What she means is that all of her life experiences as a wife, mother and career professional have finally come together and are being expressed through her artwork. “I’m literally blossoming,” she said.
Joselyn’s father died when she was only nine years old. “My mother Molly was destitute and didn’t know what to do, so she went out and got a job in a dress shop. She stressed that I had to learn how to earn a living.” So recognizing Joselyn’s artistic talent, her mother sent her to the High School of Music and Art and then to the Fashion Institute of Technology.
It was there that Joselyn first starting painting flowers. It was mandatory. “At first I thought I should paint subjects that were more meaningful than flowers. Then I learned, what is more beautiful than a flower?” She soon discovered that it’s quite challenging to paint a flower. “Each flower calls for a special style, various colors or no color at all and a certain design. The flowers themselves dictate what has to be done, and I just follow along. Sometimes when I look closely, the beauty of a hydrangea takes my breath away. Indeed, it’s pure beauty when the dogwoods blossom and the lilies grow along the side of the road.”
Joselyn is also fond of painting landscapes, especially in the wintertime. “I can look out my window, go to the Philadelphia Horticultural Center or walk down the street, set up a stool and be happy. I love painting ‘plein air’ (in the open). I get a charge as people come by and comment on what I am doing.”
Her preferred medium is watercolor because “it’s very fast, and I can do a painting that I’m satisfied with in a short period of time. I don’t think people understand how exquisite a watercolor can be. I can use many different techniques and get a lot of feelings out of just one brushstroke with watercolors, more so than I can with acrylics.”
Last year, one of her watercolors won second prize in a field of 240 entries at the Pine Run Retirement Community Art Show. “I did that painting of tulips in only three minutes, but it’s fresh and vital. It was literally like pulling the design out of the paper.” Another one of her paintings won second prize at this year’s Pine Run show. Most recently, she exhibited at the Cerulean Gallery in Philadelphia.
Joselyn’s career as a designer began in 1956 at M. Lowenstein and Son in Wamsutta, New York, where she first created color schemes for decorative fabrics and then progressed to actually designing the fabrics. She worked there until 1961 when the family moved to Connecticut. She spent the next few years raising her children. In 1976, she started her own business, Designing Woman, a commercial interior design firm, which became one of the largest model home designers on the east coast.
She started pursuing painting after she sold the business in the early 2000s. In 2012, Joselyn became a docent at the Woodmere Art Museum and took a painting class there. “I noticed that everybody in the class was doing abstracts. I couldn’t do that.”
Joselyn was also heavily influenced by Philadelphia artist Moe Brooker and attended his classes at the City of Philadelphia’s Senior Art Camp held at the Philadelphia Horticultural Center. She was extremely proud that “The Road,” one of her acrylic paintings, won first prize at the camp last year.
Through all of this, Joselyn has learned that when raising a family or working for yourself or others, you’re doing what you want to do, but you’re trying to please others. “All of a sudden, now it’s all about me and about how I feel about the beauty that is all around me. In a way, it’s the most selfish thing you can possibly do. And I love it,” she concluded.
More information about the current exhibit at 215-885-6800 or www.rydalpark.org.