Sports

Next month, from June 15-21, the U.S. Open will take place at the Bethpage Black golf course and the Long Island artist who has been commissioned to commemorate the event will have exhibits of her artwork in both Massapequa and at the Bethpage Public Library.

From May 1 to June 1, the Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa will be exhibiting the artwork of Elaine Faith Thompson. The exhibit will be showcased on the upper level next to Sears, during mall hours.

That Ms. Thompson was selected to paint the commemorative poster for the 2009 U.S. Open only serves to continue a recent tradition.

The Bethpage U.S. Open is the third time in the past decade that the New York area has hosted the nation's most hallowed golf tournament. And for each of those three events, Ms. Thompson was selected to paint the commemorative poster. She did the artwork for the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills in South Hampton and for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot in Westchester County.

Ms. Thompson's paintings and posters have great appeal to worldwide collectors because she paints using techniques she learned at SUNY Farmingdale, ones that are no longer taught in art schools. From her background in the graphic arts, she learned to hand letter and paint products that look exactly like photographs. None of her painting is done on the computer. The scenes, lettering, and logos one observes on the paintings are all hand-painted. Her 2009 U.S. Open painting and poster are finalists in this year's Best On Long Island Awards. The winners will be announced on May 12.

Ms. Thompson's Massapequa connections include her service as the advertising art director for the Sunrise Mall Merchants Association from 1974 to 1987. She won several Best On Long Island Awards from the Long Island Advertising Club for the mall's promotional advertising.

Hidden away for over 20 years, this nostalgic art from that era will now be displayed. In those days, the art was hand-illustrated and photographed on a 500-pound Stat camera containing troughs of developing liquids. Then the prints and typesetting were pasted down on illustration board, to create an ad. Ms. Thompson would then drive to Newsday and other local newspapers to deliver the ads.

A native of Bohemia and a graduate of SUNY-Farmingdale, Ms. Thompson's first job in the art world was in Massapequa. She worked at a book publishing company, one located near the Massapequa Long Island Rail Road station.

In addition to the Sunrise Mall exhibit, the Bethpage Public Library will also be exhibiting Ms. Thompson's work. This exhibit will be in the showcase, May 1-28, during library hours. Ms. Thompson will be displaying her 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black golf painting, which, as noted, was commissioned by The United States Golf Association.

Ms. Thompson's commemorative, 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black poster, produced from her official painting, is now being sold at the Bethpage ProShop at the Bethpage State Park Golf Course and through the United States Golf Association website, www.usgacatalog.com. This work of art will also available at the upcoming 109th US Open at Bethpage.

In addition, the USGA will be offering in the Merchandise Pavilion, two official U.S. Open commemorative painting posters from those previous Opens: Ms. Thompson's 2004 U.S. Open artwork at Shinnecock Hills and the poster for the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. By overwhelming popular demand these posters have been brought back. They complete the Thompson collection series.

During her long and productive career as an artist, Ms. Thompson has won many awards and has over 10,000 collectors of her work. She is most known for her golf work. In addition to her commemorative oil paintings for the 2004, 2006, and 2009 U.S. Opens, Ms. Thompson's "Lady Golfer at Timber Point, New York" is being sold all over the world. In 2002, Ms. Thompson created the official commemorative oil painting, "The Black Course: Bethpage, Over the Years, N.Y." Her portraits of famous golfers include James Foulis, winner of the 1896 U.S. Open at Shinnecock and the legendary Bobby Jones, playing at the 1929 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

Before devoting herself to oil painting, Ms. Thompson worked as an art director, muralist, book publisher, author, and illustrator. She has primarily worked with governments for 30 years and for the past 11 years, with fire departments.

Ms. Thompson's other significant projects include:

• George Washington's Visit to Long Island, the 200th anniversary book and coin design.

• Holbrook Fire Department's 8' x 11' mural with 11 oil paintings.

• Bohemia Fire Department's 100-year history book, A Century of Service.

• New York State Parks ad campaign design for the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.

• Suffolk County's 300th Anniversary logo and coin.

• "Walk America" designs.

In 1984, Ms. Thompson designed the graphics for the official National Vietnam Veterans Memorial Statue Poster in Washington, D.C. President Reagan signed a copy of it, a memento that Ms. Thompson cherishes to this day.

The Bethpage Library exhibit will also feature Ms. Thompson's Van Gogh-style Long Island scenes: Downtown Sayville, the Montauk and Fire Island lighthouses, the Big Duck, Smithtown Bull, Davis Park, Riverhead Riverside, President Theodore Roosevelt, in addition to golf art. Prints and originals of the art will be available. For information, log on to www.thompsonart.us or 631-589-0069.


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