Lorraine Fink: We’re all in this together Virtual Art Auction and Sale

by | Jul 26, 2021 | What’s Happening

Originally published in the April 12, 2021 issue. 

Monday, April 12–Thursday, April 22

On view through May 10 in the Leon Family Gallery, Sandler Family Campus

Terri Denison

Art is meant to be viewed and shared, according to Lorraine Fink, and sometimes, it can also assist a favorite organization. “I just had a show at ODU where I donated the proceeds to the art department, and I’ve donated to Ohef Sholom Temple, and I was talking to Andrew (her son) and I said, ‘wouldn’t it be a neat thing to donate to the Simon Family JCC because they do good community service?’” says Fink.

“I was excited that my mom came up with the idea of doing a fundraiser for the JCC,” says Andrew Fink, a long-time JCC board member. Andrew recalls chairing the cultural arts committee more than 40 years ago for the JCC on Newport Ave. in Norfolk and hanging his mom’s work there. “This is sort of coming full-circle,” he says.

Andrew made a phone call on his mom’s behalf, and the first United Jewish Federation of Tidewater/Simon Family JCC virtual art auction and sale was put into motion.

For the auction, Fink selected 99 ink and watercolor paintings from her latest body of work. The paintings, which comprise playful objects, people, animals, and birds morphing into each other, are now on view in the Leon Family Gallery at the Sandler Family Campus.

At 96, there’s no slowing down this prolific artist, scholar, educator, and forever student. These particular works were created in an area of Fink’s home that offers an expansive view of the river and marsh. “When I sit and rest and enjoy my afternoon of drawing, I see all sorts of things,” says Fink. “Everything I look at becomes a drawing.

“I can look at the water view and be drawing animals—some of them I make up.”

Fink says she had no idea where she was headed when she began this series. “I paint every day. One year later, I had a stack of art.”

Each painting, Fink says, usually takes a day or two to complete. Initially working intensely on a piece for several hours, she’ll return to it the next day to “finesse it—adding or deleting” before she moves on to the next.

Women, animals, and birds figure prominently in the paintings offered for this auction.

Fink says she’s been a “birder” for some 50 years, fascinated with their folklore, appearance, behavior, and place in multiple cultures.

Fink traveled the globe with her late husband, Dr. H. William Fink, and says, “On many of our trips I took bird tours. In India, for example, I spent two days photographing birds.” In Kenya, Fink saw birds that were six feet tall, and at home, where she’s lived for more than 60 years, she sits with her binoculars watching the herons, kingfishers, Canada Geese, red cardinals, and myriad others.

This collection also includes paintings of women—some with multiple profiles. The same goes for the animal images.

“Recently I’ve been putting musical instruments in my paintings,” says Fink. “We went to the Symphony for many years. I love classical music.” But, don’t be surprised if an instrument isn’t recognizable, because she admits, “some I design.”

She’s been known to create and incorporate her own musical notes as well. Some, she’s turned into Hebrew letters, and others are clearly artist interpretation.

Masks also feature prominently in these paintings—with people, animals, and birds all wearing them. And, there’s plenty of dancing, evoking joyful responses from viewers. “We’re all in this together,” she says.

Being together is important to Fink. She says she is delighted to show her works in the Leon Family Gallery, named in honor of Telsa and Arnold Leon. Telsa was a dear friend and fellow student of Charles Sibley at ODU.

Fink is donating all of the proceeds from the auction to benefit visual arts programming at UJFT and Simon Family JCC.

Viewing, bidding, and purchasing takes place at JewishVa.org/LFinkart.