YOUR BUSINESS AUTHORITY

Springfield, MO

Log in Subscribe

Susan Sommer-Luarca stands with brushes in hand in front of three paintings of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree she created live in New York City Dec. 14. She worked on the paintings in a roped off section of Rockefeller Center in 19-degree temperatures.
Susan Sommer-Luarca stands with brushes in hand in front of three paintings of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree she created live in New York City Dec. 14. She worked on the paintings in a roped off section of Rockefeller Center in 19-degree temperatures.

After 5: Painting Rockefeller

Posted online
In mid-December, Springfield artist Susan Sommer-Luarca joined the company of famed painter Thomas Kinkade among artists who have painted New York City’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree live.

In a roped-off section and with a guard on hand, Sommer-Luarca created a three-painting series of the 74-foot tree, an experience she recognizes among her top accomplishments.

“It was amazing to watch the tree in the early morning light and the people start trickling in,” she says. “Before I knew it, there were massive amounts of people.”

Sommer-Luarca painted in 19-degree temperatures Dec. 14, making sure her supplies didn’t freeze by adding glycerine to her kit.

The Rockefeller Center has been installing and decorating its famous Christmas tree since 1931, and Sommer-Luarca says she can remember seeing the tree sparkle on television as a child.

“It’s a very special place, the Rockefeller Center – when you’re there around this tree, you feel the history,” she says. “It’s a great honor.”

Sommer-Luarca, who upon request received permission to paint on the Rockefeller grounds, says she found the diversity she encountered while painting to be particularly engaging.

“You see all of these people from everywhere in this one place, and they all gather around this tree,” she says. “When I was painting, I heard all these different languages around me and saw all these different people of different faiths and different countries.”

While Sommer-Luarca wasn’t paid to paint the tree, she was able to keep the three paintings she created for her private collection. The Rockefeller Center owns the rights to the images.

She is applying the finishing touches on the paintings in her Springfield home and at her new 451 S. Patton Ave. studio.

With the addition of her latest journey to New York, Sommer-Luarca joins the ranks of American painter Kinkade, known for his inspirational paintings of realistic and pastoral subjects.

Sommer-Luarca has been painting professionally for about 20 years. Locally, she is the official artist of the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball, a two-year-old fundraising gala.

With the help of her husband and manager E.J. Luarca, Sommer-Luarca’s work has sent her away from Springfield, with pieces of her art viewed worldwide.

Sommer-Luarca was selected to paint at all three Triple Crown horse races for 2007 and 2008, and painted the Breeders Cup and the Travers Stakes. She has since been honored as an official Triple Crown artist, according to her Web site, www.sslworldwide.com.

She was invited to paint at Super Bowl XLII in 2008 by the NFL and completed two paintings on site in Arizona of quarterbacks Eli Manning and Tom Brady. The paintings were shown on Fox during Super Bowl Sunday.

Her work has been featured on NBC, ABC and CBS, and in the LA Times, Life and People magazines.

One of her most notable achievements, she says, was when she was chosen as an official artist for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

“After that, it has just been one thing after another,” Sommer-Luarca says. “I’m always proud to represent the best of the best.”[[In-content Ad]]

Comments

No comments on this story |
Please log in to add your comment
Editors' Pick
Open for Business: Summit Athletix

A construction industry veteran branched out to a new kind of venture with the May 14 opening of Summit Athletix; the newest marijuana dispensary for Flora Farms LLC opened; and Liora’s Original Creations Nail Salon launched.

Most Read
Update cookies preferences