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From Artist To Teacher

Westbury resident captures life with her oil paintings

“Art is beautiful. It's all around us and makes you see the world in a different way. Anyone can learn to paint, it just takes time, but when you do, you never look at clouds the same way or water the same way or even at the beach the same way.” These are the words of Westbury’s own artist and teacher Laura Meshover. Her captivating oil paintings exhibit the very essence of photo realism. 


“I always knew I wanted to be an artist even from way back at a young age,” explained Meshover. “I used to take painting lessons in my neighbor’s basement when I was a little girl. You can’t do that kind of stuff anymore,” she said with a laugh.


Meshover, 60, was born in Roslyn and graduated from Herricks High School in 1971. She graduated one year early from Adelphi University in 1974 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and Design. After graduating, Meshover married and had children. She taught fabric painting at the Commack YMHA. 


“I taught it all. We used to paint on denim jackets, T-shirts, pillow covers, bathing suit cover-ups and anything else you could think of,” says Meshover. During this time Meshover also worked as an artist on commission and sold her work at galleries.


Her daughter Michele Meshover, 23, recalls what it was like growing up with an artistic mother.


 “We always had the best sleepovers," she says. "My mom would setup little face-painting stations for us and would always help me with my school science projects and dioramas. They were always a knockout.” 


Meshover moved on from the YMHA and began taking classes at the Nassau County Museum of Art. “I would go there to paint every Wednesday and it really became my therapy,” explained Meshover. “After a while I realized that I could teach better and I came up with a ten week course. I presented my curriculum to the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills and I sold myself.”


Meshover has been teaching at the Art League of Long Island for the past 16 years. "The best part of my week is being at the art league. I really want the students to understand how to use the tools and understand the composition of how to paint. I always look forward to going. I feel really lucky.”


The Gazebo on Hegemans Lane is one of Meshover’s pieces that utilizes an abundant variety of greens which come together to create a visually stunning lifelike display. “If you go to any art class and want to learn to paint different shades of colors, they will tell you to experiment,” said Meshover. This issue led her to develop a second class where she teaches her students to create color charts for reference when trying to decide which shades of a particular color to use in their work. Instead of experimenting like most people, Meshover turned color selection into a science. 


 “It is a very well thought out class based on what the student needs. Whether they need to dull a color or brighten a color; it’s not just about adding white. There is more to it than that," she said. 


Being an involved teacher takes on a whole new meaning for students in Meshover’s class. “I have a show for my students every year,” said Meshover. “The students usually bring one or two pieces of work and we put them on display. They bring their families and friends and we have a big reception. Their work is up for a month at the Art League of Long Island. Throughout the years it has really turned out lots of friendships.”


 Oraine Dallas, one of Meshover’s students, said “She is probably my favorite teacher ever because she stretches you beyond what you think you are capable to do.”


The praise that Meshover’s student have for her is mutual. 


“Some of my students really want me to critique their work. They want to learn and grow as artists so that they can eventually sell their work. Others just want to get away," says Meshover. "I run my class with support and friendship. There is something different about painting in a group. It really motivates you. Being able to teach is a gift. ”