POUND RIDGE, N.Y. Pound Ridge artist John Whitton Bria began his career at the age of 3 when he "painted" the walls of his grandmothers bedroom and her kitchen door with green enamel.
Instead of getting angry, his grandmother, author Mary Royce Ormsbee Whitton, marked the occasion with a poem. Bria noted that there was some acclaim to be found in painting, and his career was launched.
Renowned photographer and Pound Ridge resident Lisl Steiner has curated a collection of Brias paintings that depict landscapes from around the town and put them on exhibit at Plum Plums Cheese Shop in Scotts Corners. Since opening, Plum Plums has become known not just for its gourmet cheeses, but for its art shows as well.
(Bria) went to the best schools for painting, Steiner said. He paints mostly in the Adirondacks, but he paints Pound Ridge too and I wanted stuff from Pound Ridge for this exhibit.
Bria went to the Taft School where he studied with Mark W. Potter and won the Art Prize. In 1973, he graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in fine arts. He completed his formal study with Robert Blackman at the Art Students League in New York and recently refreshed his knowledge of figurative painting, studying with Dean Fisher of the Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, Conn.
Bria describes his style as painterly realism, which evolved from early experiments with abstraction. He said he uses the color, tone and texture of oil paint to develop the form of his subject and create a sense of line and contour. Besides landscapes, his work includes still lifes, family portraits and self-portraits.
When not behind the easel, Bria dedicates his time to community service. Over the past 25 years, hes spent time as a Pound Ridge volunteer firefighter and EMT. He served two terms as a member of the Pound Ridge Town Board and was president of the Pound Ridge Tennis Club. Additionally, he served as president of the Pound Ridge Library Foundation and was vice president of the land conservatory. He is currently a member of the open space acquisition committee and recently accepted an appointment to the Pound Ridge Planning Board.
Bria and his wife, Kris, life in an old family home in Pound Ridge known as Stone Steps.
Steiner said that if visitors to the Plum Plums exhibit are interested in purchasing any of the paintings on display, she can help make it happen.
If someone comes in and wants to buy one, well set up an appointment and have them meet with John, Steiner said.
Plum Plums is located at 72 Westchester Ave. Call 914-764-1525 for more information.
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