February 28, 2013

Lake Placid artist wins Best of Show


---- — SARANAC LAKE — It was an artistic shift ever since Linda Sweeney’s pastel “Continuity” was selected in April 2010 among the best 100 pastels by the Pastel Journal Magazine.

“I received an honorable mention that year,” said Sweeney, who lives in Lake Placid.

“I think that did it. Then, I got emails from people in Europe and everything else who wanted to mention me on their website. One guy in Eastern Europe said, ‘I love your work.’ Since then, things have happened and I’m grateful for it, but I don’t know what happened.”

The charm continues for Sweeney, whose “Mirage” won Best in Show for BluSeed Studios’ first juried “Abstraction” competition.

“It’s an abstract pastel, which is unusual in the world of pastel. There are some beautiful pastel works, a lot is figurative and still life. I do both, but I’m leaning more and more to the abstract. I was so happy to see a show in this area that was keying in on abstraction,” she said.

Sweeney lives in the woods in Lake Placid. A foggy day was the inspiration for the award-winning work.

“It started out as a horizontal piece, and I turned it vertical. I left it in the studio for a few days without doing anything to it. I looked at it again; I added a few more touches and turned it vertically. I think I have something, and that was true,” she said.

Sweeney spent most of her life in Pittsburgh, where she was a double major in studio art and education at Chatham University.

Her family relocated to Lake Placid in 2004.

“We kept vacationing here. We loved it up here, and if we were going to move, we were going to do it,” she said.

Sweeney is a retired reading specialist. In the Adirondacks, she is inspired by nature.

“There are so many talented artists up here who feel the same way,” she said.

In the recent Lake Placid Center for the Arts’ Black & White show, she had two abstract landscapes, “Quiet” and “Edges.”

For the third year, she’s juried into the Northeast Pastel National Exhibition in May. Last September, she participated in the national Renaissance in Pastel show. Also last September, she was juried into the Allied Artists of America show at the National Arts Club in New York City.

This week, “Marsh” was selected for an award at the Connecticut Pastel Society Member show at Gallery 53 in Meriden, Conn.

Prints of her work can be purchased online at

For “Abstraction,” she missed the email informing her that “Mirage” and “Colorscape” were selected for the show.

“I was very surprised. It was really funny. I came to pick up my pieces because I thought I hadn’t got in. I was very surprised to find out about the Best of Show,” she said.

“My real stumbling point is realizing when something is done. Sometimes, I just need to walk away from it. And that’s what I did in that case (‘Mirage’). I knew I was done once I turned it. I added a few touches and that was it.”

For Sweeney, it seems the stars are aligned.

“I don’t know what is happening,” she said. “It’s definitely been a good move to the North Country. There is certainly a lot of inspiration around here.”

Email Robin Caudell:

IF YOU GO WHAT: "Abstraction." WHEN: Through Friday, March 1. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. Friday or Saturday, or by appointment. WHERE: BluSeed Studios, 24 Cedar St., Saranac Lake. CONTACT: 891-3799