Frank Arcuri Shares His Love of Light, His Passion for (Still) Life

Frank Arcuri - Painter in the Phillips' Mill Art Show 2021

When Frank Arcuri began painting “Capriccio,” it had been nearly 25 years since he had submitted any artwork to the Phillips’ Mill Juried Art Show. In that time, the Bucks County fine artist has earned much acclaim for his classical still life paintings. What prompted Arcuri, after a quarter-century, to return to the competition?

“I wanted to have some fun after being shut in during the pandemic, see what kind of reaction my painting would get, and meet other artists,” he explains.

Today, in a studio he shares with his wife, Marjarie, in Erwinna, Pa., he enjoys teaching, mentoring and sharing his techniques with other artists. And, of course, creating amazing works of art like "Capriccio" that bring his passions to life.

"I love the sound of a violin, and as an artist, I am also very interested in its shape, with its straight lines and curves," he says. "The glass flask next to it also has a great shape. I look for interesting things that I am attracted to. While working on this particular painting, I asked myself, 'What would a violinist be doing when on a break? Drinking wine, of course."'

As a still life painter, he is focused on the way light illuminates an object. "When I am painting a pear, I am painting the light falling on the pear. That is different than painting the pear," Arcuri explains. "If you think of light as the subject matter for every painting, no matter what the objects are (in the painting), then you have a direction, a finish line to work toward."

"I create the illusion of light with painting." — Frank Arcuri
"Cappriccio" by Frank Arcuri
"Cappriccio" – Frank Arcuri

When painting, Arcuri often draws from his background as an advertising art director. "As I put objects in front of me, I start to organize and design the painting. It was while working at New York City ad agencies that he discovered his passion for classical, still life painting. Although he was working on major ad campaigns for some of the biggest brands of the time, the shift in the industry to more computer-generated work left him a little cold. "I didn't want to learn all the computer skills," he says. Looking for a distraction, and some fun, he enrolled in classes at the Arts Student League and fell in love with classical painting. "It ended my enthusiasm for advertising," he recalls. He studied at the Arts Student League for years and became an instructor as well.

"Even though I grew up during the era of Pop Art, I was always more attracted to the European section of the Metropolitan (Museum of Art in New York City), to the richness of oil paintings," Arcuri notes.

Today, he describes himself “as happy as any human being can be, despite the nonsense going on in the world. I have a good life, and work and live in an idyllic setting. I feel that now is a good time, after the isolation of the pandemic, to start meeting other artists again. They are a bunch of interesting people,” he says.

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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus