To Keep You Inspired… Club Fit Member Dr. Dede Aronian
by Lisa Olney, Club Fit guest blogger.
A captivating array of paintings adorns the walls of Dr. Dede Aronian’s beautifully rustic home, greeting you at every turn, daring you to break your gaze and look away. From landscapes to portraits a few of these paintings are by Dede, herself, and to learn that she is a relative newcomer to painting is inspiring to all who yearn to pick up a brush and explore their creativity.
Dede retired in 2003 from a 33-year career as an ophthalmologist in Manhattan with a subspecialty in retinitis of prematurity, but Dede found it difficult to adjust to retirement. “I was in mourning for what felt like years,” said Dede. “I just missed my work so much.” From her deceased mother, who had been a fine artist in her own right, she had inherited a box of excellent pastels. Was her mother speaking to her and showing the way? In 2005 Dede enrolled in her first class; “Portraiture in Pastel” and the adventure began.
From the start Dede jumped into painting with the same drive she had in her professional life, starting with pastel and quickly progressing to oils, her favorite medium. She took classes and workshops at the old Northern Westchester Arts Center in Mount Kisco, the Katonah Arts Center, the Art Student’s League of New York in Manhattan, and, currently, the Rye Arts Center with noted artists such as Daniel Greene, Laurel Boeck Stern, and Ismael Checo, who has become her mentor.
Three years ago on a trip with her husband John to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas, Dede attended a workshop led by a colorful, abstract artist, Bob Brundage, where the medium was acrylics and the theme was bold imagination. “I was a fish out of water surrounded by a sea of abstract acrylic painters when all I knew was representational oil painting!” recalled Dede. So she borrowed some acrylics and dug down deep for inspiration. “The impression I had in seeing thousands of cases of retinitis over the years stuck with me very strongly,” said Dede. “So, I thought, why not paint a picture of retinitis of prematurity? Nobody would know what it really was.” She did just that, and at the end-of-workshop show hers was the only painting purchased. Dede was so excited that when she returned home, she continued painting in this vein, bringing an artist’s eye to the inner beauty of the body. A collection was born.
Dede is Club Fit Jefferson Valley’s featured artist for February, and her collection, “Inner Beauty” provides a synergy with Club Fit. An intriguing blend of whimsical sophistication, “Inner Beauty” started with the retina and grew to include inspirations from electron microscopy and laparoscopy images. “Inner Beauty” challenges the mind in a fun way to identify the anatomical muse in pictures such as Lady in Blue, Tree of Life, and Yellow Tide, to name a few.
A member since 2014, Dede believes that exercise in moderation is integral to good health and when done with the guidance of a trained professional, can help avoid specific ailments such as osteoporosis and back disorders. Dede loves to swim and can often be found swimming laps with her waterproof iPod. She is also looking forward to trying Qi Gong, a Chinese, low-impact exercise program. But it’s not just exercise that releases the endorphins for Dede. “I paint because it gives me joy. It gives me that serotonin rush – the same as if you played a good tennis match or have a runner’s high. You definitely get that when you are painting.”
To see Dede’s work in person, stop by the Club Fit Jefferson Valley Gallery during February, or visit her website at www.aronianart.com.