Local artist’s painting of local landmark on new 'Gold Pages' cover
By Andrew J. Concatelli - ReminderNews Assistant Editor
East Haddam - posted Fri., Dec. 16, 2011
Capturing the stately beauty of a local landmark, the watercolor painting “Goodspeed Opera House” – by East Haddam artist James Riccio – graces the cover of the Reminder Gold Pages’ new Glastonbury/East Hartford/Colchester directory, which is now being distributed to area homes and businesses.
Riccio, who works as creative director at Subway World Headquarters in Milford, Conn., took his first lesson in watercolor painting 12 years ago through a Milford adult education program. “I needed another creative outlet, and wanted to try watercolor,” he said. “I’ve always heard how difficult it was, but I took to it immediately and now I really love it.”
Having grown up in the area, Riccio said that he naturally was drawn to painting the picturesque Connecticut landscapes and shoreline water scenes that he saw all around him. The Goodspeed Opera House was another organic subject matter for the artist. “I’m from East Haddam, so I thought, ‘What a cool landmark to paint and get out there,’” Riccio said. “I basically travel over that bridge every morning to get to work, and I’ve seen the Opera House in so many ways. It’s such a beautiful building to paint.”
This particular painting was completed about two years ago, and Riccio said that he has since continued mostly painting landscapes, but he has recently started to work on some portraits, as well. “I’m finding that is a lot of fun, and I’ll definitely be doing more of that,” he said.
Riccio is a graduate of Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, he has studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York, and is a member of the Lyme Art Association. Riccio paints primarily in the studio space he has set up in his home, and gets together with a group of painters every Tuesday night, when they all work on their art for a few hours. “We’ve been doing that for 10 years,” Riccio said. “Everyone is painting something different, and there’s always room to learn from what other people are doing. It keeps me consistently painting, knowing that I have a specific time and place to be every week. Otherwise, you find that life takes precedent and painting is put to the side.”
A collection of Riccio’s work will be on display at the The Mill House Gallery at the Connecticut River Artisans Cooperative in Chester, Conn., from Jan. 14 to Feb. 26, 2012. This one-man show will feature 10 to 15 of Riccio’s original paintings, which will be for sale. “I usually end up doing about two shows a year,” Riccio said. He hopes to build his reputation and continue to pursue his passion for painting.
Riccio’s paintings are also for sale at Goodspeed’s Station Country Store, in Haddam, and can be viewed on his website, jamesrriccio.com.