Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In Memory of Cornelia Baker - Artist, Mentor and Inspiration.

On August 16th, the art world lost a true light.
Cornelia Draves Baker touched many people over the years, her love, enthusiasm and excitement towards art and artists was contagious.

I was incredibly lucky to have known her. 
In 2005 I searched the internet for local (Northern New Jersey) artists and printmakers, and I contacted Cornelia asking if I would be able to do an internship with her. She was a little puzzled by the request at first but delighted at the idea and asked me to come on over. At the time my family lived in Oakland, NJ and I was home for the summer from University. Cornelia had just been released from the hospital after a terrible bout of pneumonia. We seemed to click right away over the many health issues that both of us experienced and of course over art and travel. It became clear that this lioness would be more than a teacher to me. She taught me how to use her technique of direct Monotype with non-toxic Akua inks and, more importantly, she taught me how to do professional framing in her beautifully set up basement studio. After the summer was over I studied abroad in Italy and we stayed in touch. Upon my return, Cornelia introduced my best friend Fiona and I to the Presbyterian Church in Franklin Lakes, NJ which has a fantastic gallery space. This is where Fiona and I worked on putting up our first big exhibition: "Retrospective on Intimacy", following the opening reception we had an after-party at Cornelia's house. She opened her home to me and my friends as if we had known each other for 20 years. With Cornelia it always felt like we were family. She was an exciting person with great artistic and creative vision. She had a life filled with art, travel, sport and adventures and of course many friends and her wonderful family. She will be missed greatly.

She taught me many things about being an artist and about how to live life to the fullest. She will keep glowing in the hearts of everyone she came in contact with.

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