By Kelly Roncace | For NJ.com
Artist Autumn de Forest began her journey into the world of art when she was just a toddler.
On Aug. 5, the now 14-year-old will bring a collection of her latest creations — including the Vatican Series and several ocean-inspired paintings — to Ocean Galleries in Stone Harbor.
Autumn’s last visit to the Jersey Shore was in July 2013 when her Hurricane Sandy relief painting, “No Storm Can Stop Us,” was unveiled at artBOX — an artist’s community — on Adventure Pier in Wildwood.
“I’m so happy to be coming back to Stone Harbor,” Autumn said in a recent telephone interview.
The artist has gone from painting Barbie dolls and using “a lot of pink,” to creating much more complex paintings today.
“Some are more psychological, but it’s fun because I’m trying to create what could be in our minds, on canvas,” she explained. “It’s about trying to create what is in the mind.”
Autumn has painted using a variety of of techniques, and said she doesn’t see herself as having any one style.
“At first, I did mostly abstract,” she said. “But the more I painted, the more I wanted to learn more about art, so I read about different artists and their styles. I definitely don’t think I have one style.”
Autumn’s artwork has been recognized by the Walt Disney Company and Discovery Channel, can be seen on a special line of Converse Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers that are sold exclusively at Nordstrom stores, and earned her the Premio Giuseppe Sciacca Award for Arts and Culture in November 2015.
The award was established by the International Association of Culture and Voluntary Work ‘Uomo e Societa (Man and Society), to recognize individuals who are 35 and younger, from all over the world, who are trying to make the world a better place through art, community involvement, and education.
Shortly after she found out she would be visiting the Vatican to receive her award, she began working on a piece for Pope Francis.
“When I first started, it took a lot of thought and a lot of practice,” Autumn said. “I wanted to make it simple, yet powerful. That was my goal.”
After much trial and error with many different designs and subject matter, she knew she had reached her goal when she painted, “Resurrection.”
“Once I created it, I knew that was the one,” she said.
Despite some difficulties, Autumn was able to present the painting to Pope Francis and it now hangs in the Vatican.
“I had a wonderful experience in Rome,” she said.
And being the artist that she is, her experience there, of course, inspired some new artwork.
The Vatican Series, inspired by Rome and her experiences there, will be on display at her upcoming Ocean Galleries exhibit.
“Autumn de Forest – The Journey Continues” runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Aug. 5 to Aug. 7 at Ocean Galleries.
Autumn will be available to sign purchased artwork from 6 to 10 p.m. on Aug. 5, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 6 and 7.
Ocean Galleries is located at 9618 Third Avenue in Stone Harbor.
For more information, call 609-368-7777 or visit oceangalleries.com.