Sitting on a small stool, George Strelakos stares past his
easle at trees about 100 feet away from him and adjusts his painting of the
Cars zoom through the traffic light he sits beneath and pedestrians waiting for the crosswalk signal walk behind him to peek at his painting. He is set up between parking spots outside the Martine Avenue entrance to the White Plains City Center Parking garage, an unlikely spot for an artist seeking to paint tree landscapes, but one that works for him.
“I am a ‘plein air’ artist,” he said, an artist who paints landscapes. The style, labeled from the French term, en plein air (in plain air), was popularized in the mid-19th Century. Strelakos can tell you all about this history, well-versed in the popular 'plein air' artists of that time, specifically John Baptist Camille-Corot.
Strelakos paints White Plains scenes that inspire him and is currently working on three tree paintings, the trees on Martine; on Church Street and on S. Lexington.
“The whole thing is you get into a zone, like a runner’s high with endorphins,” Strelakos said of painting.
The 64-year-old White Plains resident works at night as a supervisor for a security company and paints for enjoyment, although he wouldn’t mind selling a painting.
“A lot of people stop by and talk but I wish some of these people had the money to buy a painting,” he said with a broad smile.
“I just take it easy, do it slow. It’s not like a struggle for me,” he said of being an artist. “You don’t do real art for money.”