Frank M. Costantino

"Through many decades of work as an architectural illustrator, I was fascinated by the exquisite, painterly images of my predecessors using the time-honored medium of watercolor. Although self-taught in my profession, I wanted to apply these skills to my own fine art work. I practiced with small watercolor sketches to help break the visual prejudice of technical, descriptive methods of architectural drawing.
I was also inspired by the effortless, masterful works of Sargent, Homer, Turner, Prendergast, Wyeth, Hiroshi, Zorn, and Winthrop native and Sargent student, John Whorf. I admired the confident manner of their artistry, and studied their color palettes, styles and techniques.
I adapted the diverse and creative capacities of my illustration commissions to inform my watercolor work. I used every opportunity to more freely paint my own chosen subjects, apply the methods of those admired artists, and loosen up from an ingrained illustration discipline.
To further develop my fine art watercolors, I attended many seminars with notable artists and authors Charles Reid, Jeanne Dobie, Don Andrews, and Carleton Plummer, to watch their process, and learn about seeing - and interpreting - subjects in different ways. I learned to exercise more liberties in selecting, or changing, many aspects of what I chose to paint. As my own painting style emerged, I derived the most satisfaction from painting “en plein air” - that is, primarily out of doors, on location and in one sitting.
Choosing the subjects that intrigued me, I began painting and experimenting with numerous works - still life, birds, animals, figures, land & seascapes, and of course, buildings & urban scenes. I would sketch, draw, or paint numerous views of our cats, flowers and plants from our garden, quick gesture sketches of my family, parents, or friends; using a variety of media as well as watercolor. My architecture training and illustration practice, together with teaching design, perspective and composition, all provided me with a second sense for establishing views, drawing in proportion, interpreting colors, values & depth, and finding a strong focus for my chosen subjects.
Having also been an instructor of architectural drawing for many years, and conducting illustration seminars for university students and professionals in design fields, I would demonstrate various watercolor techniques. I also developed seminars in fine art watercolor for students at all levels. My ability for effective seminar demos was a key factor for my own explorations into a more vigorous and direct style of painting, and over time, at much bigger sizes than I had ever before attempted.
My preference remains plein air work, or alla prima(completed in one sitting) studio work, which minimizes excessive analysis, and forces more intuitive and natural responses to interpreting the moments of changing light, form and color. Plein air work requires an intense facility in many aspects of seeing and decisive painting, which work has increasingly become more comfortable and freeing. The focus for expressing my vision now is a looser handling of paint and color, less concern with accuracy of form, and discovering new and fresh methods from the process.
My participation in the Plein Air Easton , MD. the Cranford, NJ Paint The Town, and St. Simons Island Plein Air Affair , GA plein air festivals, featuring juried selected artists of national stature, has further reinforced my work, as have sales and commissions from these venues. I also co-founded and have participated in the Plein Air Vermont (PAVT) paint event in North Bennington , a growing regional event now entering its third year. I continue a long association with Boston 's Charles River Conservancy (CRC), producing plein air work of scenes along the Charles River to promote CRC's conservation programs. I have obtained signature status with both the New England and North East Watercolor Societies, and elected membership in the Salmagundi Club of New York. I also sustain memberships in and regularly exhibit work at a number of local galleries & art associations, as well as selected galleries in the Northeast."
Frank had a solo exhibit at our Gallery on November 14, 2008. You can view images of his paintings 'here'.
Frank also participated in our exhibit called "Produce Art" on March 7, 2009. See the paintings 'here'.

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"Buttonwood Icon"
watercolor, 10"x16"


"Queen's Park Gate study"
watercolor, 7"x5"


"Queen's Park Gate"
watercolor, 15"x11"


"Old Ship Steeple"
watercolor, 16"x10"


"Pilot House, HYC"
watercolor, 19"x13"


"Flower's Sunlight"
watercolor, 8"x6.5"


"Orange Street Church, Nantucket"
Unitarian Universalist Church
watercolor, 13"x10",


"Cloud Study with Distant Shore"
watercolor, 14"x10",


"Vaporous Sky Study"
watercolor, 14"x10",


giclee prints & notecards available