Lenore De Pree
I have been a writer and a painter all my life, always reaching out to respond to the beauty and pain of the world in either words or color forms. I was born in a Dutch community in Chicago, raised in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky where my parents took in 90 homeless children, and lived in the Far East and Middle East with my husband Gordon and our four children, I have absorbed many rich influences in my work.
Writing and publishing steadily until 1981 (three books in New York and five in the Midwest) I suddenly found myself in Saudi Arabia, where it seemed more advantageous to switch to visual art. I concentrated on researching and incorporating the ideas of Persian and Islamic art into an American form, carrying on that work when we returned to the United States, where I established an art gallery in the mountains of North Carolina.
In the fall of 2012, not having composed a book since the early eighties, the desire to write 47 Houses came on me like a firestorm. It was a story that had to be told!
April 1, 2014, my husband Gordon and I arrived in Holland Michigan, followed by a moving truck. After 20 years in Hong Kong, 10 years in Saudi Arabia and 20 years of working as an artist in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, we had decided to head back to Michigan and our midwestern roots.
As soon as we got our bearings in the downtown we sought out the local art center. To my delight, we were warmly welcomed, checked out, and invited to join as a Holland Area Arts Council aritist in residence.
Being greatly inspired by the downtown of Holland, I set to work.
The first painting, "The Spirit of Eighth Street" was adopted by the Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and used as a 48 foot billboard on route 31 as well as a large welcome sign at the Gerald R. Ford International airport in Grand Rapids, MI. This led to the current project, "Eighth Street Upclose". In this work I zoomed in on selectd buildings, celebrating historic architecture, line and texture, present day vibrancy and people, including the exuberant street gardens and the grand old trees of this amazing town.