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Second Acts: Linda Brosterman


Who doesn’t love a reinvention story? And who among us isn’t looking to find the next chapter, or figure out what we want to be when we grow up? This will be a place to hear some of those stories: the why, the how, and the what’s next.

Linda Brosterman describes herself as the least likely candidate to be a fine art painter. But I would say this is a “bred in the bone” kind of thing. She’s been tilting at this for a long time, and it took a move to the city to finally let the latent desire work its way to the surface.

“I’m the only math major you’ll meet who took art instead of physics,” Brosterman says of her time at SUNY Albany. “Art was the carrot I held out to myself.”

She started out as a math teacher out of college, then went back to school for accounting and went on to work at a huge accounting firm for years. When her kids were born (in Short Hills) she became a wildly successful math tutor to local students, all the while saying to herself, “Someday I’ll paint.”

And then the kids went to college. “And I thought if this isn’t someday, when will someday happen?”

She started by taking watercolor classes in Amagansett, where, she said, she was so nervous she could barely squeeze the paint out of the tube. As she loosened up, she realized that paint is not so precious, and began hosting weekly salons and painting more regularly. But it was a move to Tribeca that finally allowed her to cut the cord on her old life.

Out of power from the effects of Sandy in New Jersey, she and her husband decamped to her son’s apartment in IPN. They never moved back. They bought instead on Murray, and Brosterman started taking classes at the Art Students League, where her work really took off.
“I was doing art with a little a, and this was art with a big A,” said Brosterman, who credits one instructor with getting her to drill down on one particular style. (She paints as LG Brosterman.)

Her focus now: water. She watches hours and hours of video she has collected of the ocean – watching how the waves break, the splash patterns, and most of all, the color. Once she captures the composition from the video, she drills down to the detail and works in sets, sometimes taking up the entire 15-foot kitchen counter. She uses Arches 400lb paper, starting with pencil for every curve and droplet and moving to layers (20 to 30!) of acrylic gouache and watercolor applied with anything from a bamboo calligraphy pen to eight-inch hake brushes. “This process is painstaking. No one who isn’t as anal as me would have the patience to do it.”

She has a show hanging now at the gallery at the Durst Organization building at 733 Third Ave., open till Nov. 14.

And the next act? There’s a gallery show in the works for in the spring. A few more waves for sure, and then who knows where the art will go.

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