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Rye Retiree Returns to Artistic Roots

RYE, N.Y. - To say Rye resident and artist Joseph Blumstein is from any one particular place just wouldn't do him justice. Blumstein, a native of Westchester, has lived everywhere from Pittsburgh to Brazil during his time as a CFO for several international companies.

"Since I spoke foreign languages, they sent me to Brazil," Blumstein said, laughing. "I lived in Brazil for a few years and then I moved to Italy, so I've been in international work for many years."

Though content working in exotic locations, Blumstein's heart was always in art. Even from a young age, he looked for ways to express his creativity, and credits his father, a jewlery designer, with helping to foster his creative spirit. However, not everything went according to plan for the young New York painter.

"I've always been an artist," Blumstein said. "But out of college, I wasn't making it as an artist. I wanted to do creative things but I didn't have anything to say. Just doing something pretty and creative wasn't enough."

Realizing another one of his dreams — getting married and starting a family — made it increasingly difficult to become a full-time artist. But now, some 30 years later, Blumstein has devoted himself to his true craft, painting. And this time, he has something to say.

"I believe we see things on different levels," he said. "We see things with our eyes and understand what it is but we also see things on an emotional level that affects us just because of the way the color, the shape, the form. I'm trying to be in touch with the emotional aspects we see."

Although Blumstien is an abstract painter, the fundamentals of his art are very much founded in reality.

"What I paint, most of it is based in reality; it's my touchtone," he said. "It's just that what I'm doing is looking at reality from a point of view of color and form, and separating it from its significance as a glass jar or bottle and just looking at the shape and color and trying to synthesize the emotional content."

Blumstein's exhibit, Exploring Our World: The Abstract Eye , will be on display from April 15 to May 6 at the Wainwright House on Stuyvesant Avenue in Rye. Many of the pieces in the exhibit were inspired by Blumstein's visits to New York City as well as his travels abroad.

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