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Somers Folk Artist: There's No Place Like Home

SOMERS, N.Y. - Somers resident Penny Fonde describes her work as “a paid hobby. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so it keeps my creative juices flowing,” she explained.

Fonde will paint your house, but not with a bucket and ladder. She is an artist, specializing in paintings of houses. Recently she did a painting of a house in Italy, a challenging task since the structure was mainly rock and stucco. Fonde is ordinarily recreating wood siding or brick, since those are the common building materials in the U. S. “I was out of my element but I enjoyed it,” she said. “I’ll paint whatever is given to me.”

After graduating from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, Fonde worked 11 years as a children’s clothing designer. Marriage and family brought her to Somers, where she took a class in painting folk art. Soon she was painting friends’ houses as gifts and offering her services as charity donations. “One thing led to another,” and now she is in business.

Fonde works in acrylic paints, layering one plane upon another until she is satisfied with the effect. Sometimes she is given a winter photo of a house and has to transform it to its springtime radiance. On occasion she has done a series of houses as a single montage, representing each house a couple has lived in during their marriage, or each house a person has lived in during his/her lifetime.

Most of Fonde’s commissions come through word of mouth. She enjoys talking to clients to pinpoint exactly what they want. “I do all types of houses, anything from a ranch home to a big brick mansion.”

One of her most unusual tasks was to do a folk portrait of a Tuscan castle in Pelham, N. Y. “It has turrets and gold lions in the front. It’s on top of a hill and the only way I could get the right angle for photographs was to climb to the top of a big stone wall.”

She says of her work, “It’s beautiful to have a house portrait because most people love their homes.”

Click here for more House Portraits by Penny.

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