PAINTER FINDS ITALIAN ROOTS
By: Sonya Ellingboe
Littleton Painter has traveled to Italy a number of times to connect with her
Italian heritage, but last summer in Cortona, the picture-book village made
famous by writer Frances Mayes (“Under the TUSCAN Sun,” et.), she really
felt she had come home.
“They greeted me, loved me, took me in,” she said. When it came to return to Littleton, her friend Emilio agreed to store some of her summer paintings in his cantina until she returns next year to exhibit them.
Participation in Cortona’s Renaissance Festival, attired in full costume, was a
highlight. She arrived with her young daughter Antonia with some sadness in her baggage: it was the 20th anni-versary of her mother’s death and her aunt (Mia Zia) who was very close to her had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.
Owens started painting pictures of doorways, windows and gates as described in
her application for an Arts Alliance of Littleton fellowship, “Le Porte di
Passaggio.” The call came one half hour after she completed “Carry Me My
Message,” depicting the angel on an ancient Cortona doorway, with features
that resembled the beloved aunt and with symbols of her late mother, “a
tribute to the wonderful matriarchs who shaped my life.”
She expects to apply for Italian citizenship next year and to enroll Antonia
in first grade. She has invitations to participate two exhibitions with an
Etruscan theme and was able to tour newly-excavated tombs. “I have all these
ideas cooking in my head” she said with a big grin.
Five pieces in the Italian series will be included in the AAL show that opens Thursday, Oct. 5th, at the Depot Arts Center Owens was invited to participate in: Beyond DaVinci,” a collection of works
by Italian American artists (though not necessarily pictures of Italy), which
will open with a reception Saturday, Oct. 7. Owens, who is an active
environmentalist, has a particular interest in saving the tigers which are
headed for extinction. She will exhibit two big paintings of tigers, which
have become a trademark in her distinctive style. She calls that series “Did
I Die in Vain?” and is working to get a traveling educational exhibition.
She has sponsors in place and says she needs $3,000 to $5,000. She has
approached several galleries about hosting shows. She hopes the final products
can serve as a model for other artists who want to make an environmental