Frank M. Costantino

"During the course of my forty-five year career as an architectural illustrator, I was fascinated and inspired by the exquisite, painterly images of my predecessors using the time-honored medium of watercolor. Although self-taught in my profession, I have applied my watercolor skills to eventually achieve international renown and an aesthetic that approaches their level.  I was also inspired by the effortless, masterful artworks of Sargent, Homer, Turner, Prendergast, Wyeth, Hiroshi, Zorn, and Winthrop native and Sargent student, John Whorf. I admired the confident manner of their artistry, and studied their color palettes, styles and techniques. I adapted that influence and the diverse and creative capacities from my illustration work to my own fine art watercolor work. I initially practiced with small sketches to help break the visual prejudice of technical, descriptive methods of architectural drawing.
I attended many seminars with notable artists and authors Charles Reid, Jeanne Dobie, Don Andrews, and Carleton Plummer, to watch their process and learn about seeing - and interpreting - subjects in different ways. I now exercise more liberties in selecting, or changing, many aspects of what I chose to paint; and in more freely painting subjects, and applying the methods of these admired artists, my own painting style emerged. I derived the most satisfaction from painting en plein air - that is, primarily out of doors, on location and in one sitting. 
Intrigued by numerous subjects, I have sketched, drawn, painted and experimented with cats, flowers, plants, trees, water, birds, quick sketches of my family, parents, or friends, and details or vistas of buildings - using a variety of media as well as watercolor. My architecture training and illustration practice, together with teaching design, perspective, and composition, all provided me with a second sense for establishing views, drawing in proportion, interpreting colors, values & depth, and finding a strong focus for my chosen subjects. Having also been for many years an instructor of architectural drawing and conducting illustration seminars for students and professionals in design fields, I could readily demonstrate various watercolor techniques. I also developed seminars in fine art watercolor for students at all levels. My ability for effective seminar demos was a key factor for my own explorations into a more vigorous and direct style of painting, and over time, at much bigger sizes than I had ever before attempted. With over fifty invited appearances by various groups, my demos have been in constant demand as a result.
My painting preference remains en plein air work, or alla prima (completed in one sitting) studio work, which minimizes excessive analysis, and forces more intuitive and natural responses to interpreting the moments of changing light, form and color. Plein air work requires an intense facility in many aspects of seeing and decisive painting, which work has increasingly become more comfortable and freeing. The focus for expressing my vision now is a looser handling of paint and color, less concern with accuracy of form, and discovering new and fresh methods from the process.
I have obtained signature status with both the New England and North East Watercolor Societies, and elected membership in the Salmagundi Club of New York. I also sustain memberships in and regularly exhibit work at a number of local galleries & art associations, as well as selected galleries in the Northeast. I have participated in Plein Air Easton MD, Cranford NJ, Castine ME, Ocean Park ME, and St. Simons Island GA juried events, and Plein Air Magazine’s Expo & Conference, Monterey, CA featuring selected artists of national stature; as well as many regional and local plein air festivals.  I also co-founded and participated in the Plein Air Vermont (PAVT) event in North Bennington. My work has been featured in Plein Air, Fine Art Connoisseur, Cape Cod Art, Boston, and Architecture Boston magazines, among others.
I continue a long association with Boston's Charles River Conservancy (CRC), producing plein air work of scenes along the Charles River to promote CRC's conservation programs. I have worked with other Boston organizations, including The Esplanade Assoc., The Friends of Copley Square, Boston Mayor’s Rose Garden Affair, Boston University and others. Through South Street Gallery, I accept commissions from agencies, institutions, and private parties for my watercolor works.
Since my first association with South Street Gallery in 2008, I have been in numerous invited, themed or solo shows, and special live portrait and painting demo events."

Frank had a solo exhibit at our Gallery on November 14, 2008. You can view images of his paintings 'here'.
Frank also participated in our exhibit called "Produce Art" on March 7, 2009. See the paintings 'here'.
Frank was part of our "Monhegan Mystique" show in summer 2017. See the paintings 'here'.

back to Artists


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