Louis Masciovecchio

 

 

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Osprey's Metal Bridge Aerie.

 

A large fish-eating bird, the osprey prefers constructing its bulky nests of sticks in dead trees, either along the shore of a lake or near saltwater.  Their nests used to be a familiar sight, but in the 1960s, the northeastern population of ospreys was nearly wiped out  by DDT.

 

Today the raptors are losing their habitat sites due to a growing desire for waterfront homes.  But they’re surviving the changing environments by building their  nests on man-made nesting platforms, electric poles, and on wood and metal bridges.

 You may reach me at - LouMasciovecchio@gmail.com.

 

 

“If I had my life to live over…”

 

    I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by immigrant parents who couldn’t speak English; my mom was Italian and my pop was an unemployed shoemaker.

With my eighth grade art teacher’s encouragement, I went to an art school in New York.  For four years I got up an hour earlier to take the subway to Lexington Avenue, but I kept telling myself that to be a great artist, one had to suffer.  In my senior year (1955), a classmate dared me to take the test to Cooper Union.  I asked, what’s that?  He said it was one of the greatest art colleges in the U.S.  When I said I couldn’t afford college, he said it was a scholarship, but you’d lose it if you didn’t maintain at least a C minus.

I got into Cooper.  But to pay for paints, brushes, canvases, food, etc., I worked two part time jobs totaling 20 hours a week, at a buck an hour.  Half way through my first term, I knew I was going to either lose my scholarship or starve to death–whichever came first.  So I switched to night classes (which took two years longer) and got an entry-level day job at a N.Y. ad agency, making double what I was making part time.  Of course I worked double the hours–but hey, it worked out better for me.

When I graduated in 1960, I was an art director at a big N.Y. ad agency.  In those days, we did our layouts in pastels, which made me feel like an artist.  I might have found fame doing Van Camp cans, but some other artist painting Campbell Soup cans beat me to it.

A couple of decades later, I swapped my layout pad for a keyboard – yep, I had become a copywriter.  I was out of the art field.  It wasn’t much later that I began to rue the day I had chosen advertising over art.  I can sum up my feelings in a sentence: if I had my life to live over, I’d live over a New York delicatessen, and paint full time.

In 1997 I decided to give art a shot.  My wife Mary and I retired to Maine and I have been painting ever since.  But on occasion, I miss the ad biz, and I’ll squeeze in some freelance, via the computer.

When my paintings started to sell, I gained confidence as an artist.  I enjoyed painting landscapes and still lifes in a variety of mediums, but I began feeling that I needed something more challenging, whatever that might be.  When I did a watercolor of a house wren making a nest in an L.L. Bean boot, it hit a soft spot in me: I realized that in order to survive, most birds have to adapt to their ever changing environments, caused by our overpowering intrusions. I thought maybe I could tell of their plight on canvas.

Maybe I have found my purpose in art.