Portrait of the CSI Library Donated CSI Graduate Eithne Byrne McGowan

In Fall 2010, the CSI Library received a delightful gift in the form of a three-year loan of a framed portrait of the library.

A 2010 graduate of the College of Staten Island, Eithne Byrne McGowan first discovered her love for the visual arts as a child in the green fields of her native Ireland.

She immigrated to Staten Island in 1991, where she put her career as an artist on the back burner while she simultaneously worked, raised three daughters, and pursued her college degree.

With her degree completed and her children mostly on their own, Eithne is back to work as an artist, pursuing such diverse projects as en plein air paintings in the Impressionistic style, portraits of buildings, including a series on the library at CSI, and an apprenticeship as an iconographer.

For Byrne McGowan, the Library reflects her experience of study, spending many an hour reading, analyzing, and researching.  Not only is it a beautiful building surrounded by a verdure setting (a painter’s delight), but the philosophical analogy of the Library as the central nervous system of learning.  The Library represents a place where knowledge is formulated to create bright new ideas for a bright new future for new generations.

The series of paintings of the Library comprise the four seasons, starting with the first painting titled;  Autumn Colors at CSI. The second is titled;   Winter Reflections, third;  Spring Blooms at CSI, and lastly, Brilliant Summer Hues.  Each rendering of the Library will take on a new perspective where local colors are vibrant and abundant with a colorist palette that is constantly changing by the effects of sun light.

A person of great spirit and determination, Eithne urges other nontraditional students to pursue their dreams, saying, “Completing your education and pursuing the work you love makes every last struggle to get there worthwhile.”

Byrne McGowan’s inspiration for painting en plein air stems from her study and practice of color theory exercises and art history, which led her to her mentor, the great impressionist painter Claude Monet. His style, palette, and painterly technique of using bright hues with their complementaries expressed the brightness and effects of sunlight on the natural  environment. With intensive study of selected works by Monet, Byrne McGowan learned how to apply  his techniques to her own paintings.  She learned to understand how light affects a motif at different times of day, season, and the influence of atmospheric conditions on local color.   For more information on the artist please visit Eithne’s web site at http://www.eithnebm.com