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Sayville Artist Finds Her Muse in Watercolors

Linda Hynes learned the art of painting through adult education courses.

Sayville resident Linda Hynes, who has lived in the community for almost five decades, can remember a great deal of local history. 

She reflects on the cow farm that operated on Broadway Avenue, having to move her 1969 wedding ceremony to a church in Patchogue because had burned down two years prior, and the popularity of stores such as Charlotte Shop and the Bohack grocery store on Main Street.

“I love it here, I wouldn’t move for anything,” said Hynes, 60, who raised her own family in the same house where she grew up.

Now, that same town has facilitated her new hobby – watercolor paintings. Starting in 2009, Hynes began coloring her way through ’s adult education watercolor painting classes taught by Mary Jane Stevens, an artist and guidance counselor at the high school.

“This is a hard medium,” Hynes said. “There’s not a lot of room for error, you have to start light and work dark.”  If she doesn’t follow those instructions, her paintings could start to look muddy, she said.

But after the artist finds her rhythm she admits getting lost in her paintings for hours. “What I like is the way you can make the watercolor do what you want once you find the technique you need,” Hynes said.   

Recently, three house paintings created by Hynes were on display in on Main Street.

Hynes has always enjoyed craftwork – quilting, stenciling, knitting and painting furniture – but just before retirement, she decided to really pick up the artist’s palette. “You reflect when you get older,” she said.   

Hynes can remember first learning how to paint flowers and pumpkins, but after a friend challenged her into painting a portrait of her home as a birthday gift, her talents expanded into house and pet portraits.   

Her process starts with several photographs of her subject, which she studies until she has a deep understanding of the angles and lines involved. For portraits, she then measures every aspect of the subject in the photo, calculating her portrait to an exact measurement. “If it’s off just a little, it’s not right,” she said. 

So far, she has painted five house portraits and three dog portraits, with more work in the pipeline. House portraits usually take three to four weeks to complete and start at $475, which includes the cost of framing and notecards displaying the photo. Pet portraits cost about $200 and take between two and three weeks to complete.

Hynes has yet to paint a portrait of a Sayville house, but hopes one will soon be in her future.  Still, one house she won’t paint is her own. “I don’t think it’s catchy enough,” she said.

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