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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Famous Local Artist Creates Paintings for Fort Thomas Dance Studio

Painting by Beverly Erschell

Paintings Seem to Dance Across the Room at BellaDance Fort Thomas Studio.

After moving to a large space at the Hiland Building on 18 North Fort Thomas Avenue, Julie Keller decided to commission nationally-famous and Fort Thomas resident, Beverly Erschell, to do a small painting for her business, BellaDance Fort Thomas Studio.

Julie knew Bev through family connections. Bev's granddaughter is married to her nephew. "My family is a huge fan of Bev's work, especially my sister, Diane.  I knew the new studio space would be perfect for it."

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After Julie showed Bev the space, she gave her some books like "The Nutcracker" so she could have references for drawing the dancers. Bev was back three days later with sketches. Then she told Julie, "Pick out the ones that speak to you."

Julie thought they were all beautiful so one small painting turned into four large ones. "Bev's generosity has filled my heart so full, It something that I get to see everyday and my love and appreciation is absolutely indescribable to put into words! These are gifts beyond a lifetime, and I could never thank her enough. Without a doubt, the beauty of Bev's incredible heart and talent will be shared with my students and their families forever!"

Then Bev asked if she had certain colors in mind and Julie told her she liked lots of vibrant colors. The paintings are 36 x 48 inch canvasses. Bev primed them with reds, yellows, greens, and blues, then she painted the figures on.

It ended up only taking a few weeks for Bev to do all the oil paintings. "Sometimes I can make mistakes that take a while to fix since I have to wait for the oil paint to dry, but these paintings just worked out really well and I didn't have any problems."

Julie says, "They're so unique and there is so much movement! She did the background first, then the dancers. I love the colors! They look like happiness!"

The paintings were meant to be hung in a specific order, but after looking at them Julie and Bev realized they could be changed around without a problem.

When the dance students saw the paintings, they all had to comment on which one they liked the best and they all liked different ones.

Bev says, "All I've ever wanted to do is paint. I've always been an artist. When I get a commission, I do it right away because I'm always inspired and excited to do it."

Julie Keller and Bev Erschell discuss the paintings.

Beverly Erschell, a graduate of Highlands High School, has been painting professionally since 1971.  She feels she has always been an artist and just wanted to draw and paint. She went to Stephens college to get her Associate of Arts degree in 1954 and studied for two and a half years at the Cincinnati Art Academy. Then she earned a bachelor of fine arts in 1969 and a master of fine arts in 1971 from the University of Cincinnati (DAAP). Bev oversaw the beginning of the art dept. at NKU.

Beverly Erschell painting one of her famous Cincinnati skyline paintings.
According to her website, she has developed an extensive exhibition history that includes such local and regional venues as the Miller Gallery, the College of Mount Saint Joseph, the Contemporary Arts Center and the Dayton Art Museum.  Her artwork has been exhibited nationally at Walter Wickiser Gallery, New York, NY; Venable-Neslage Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Sherry French Gallery, Boca Raton, FL; and the David Dike Fine Art Gallery, Dallas, TX. Her work is represented in numerous private, corporate, and museum collections including the Cincinnati Art Museum, Dayton Art Museum, American Financial, Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati Financial, Cincinnati Bell, Corporex, and the University of Cincinnati.

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