Photo by Dawn Mas
Ready to hit the green
BOHEMIA—The 101st Professional Golfers Association of America championship will be held this May, and for the first time on Long Island at the Bethpage Black golf course in Bethpage State Park. The honor of painting a poster to depict that event was given to Bohemia resident Elaine Faith Thompson. On Friday, March 22, her painting will be unveiled at the Connetquot Public Library with a reception to follow.
This is not the first golf painting she has done, though. Thompson, who is not a golfer, has painted posters for a number of U.S. Open championships, which are staged by the United States Golf Association. This is her first PGA painting. There is a familiar subject, however, that has appeared in another of her golf images: her grandson, Jamie Mas. The 2015 graduate of Sayville High School was a model for her in 2009 and appears once again as he did when she first painted him as a boy caddy, clad in early-20th-century clothing. He was nine when he first posed for the painting and is now a 21-year-old Marine who is currently deployed to the Middle East.
While she was photographing him for the earlier painting, in one of the photos he struck a pose that she thought would be appropriate to use since he is now in the military. “I happened to run across that old photo and it looked like [Jamie] is saluting,” Thompson remarked.
Growing up in Sayville, Thompson, a 1961 graduate of Sayville High School, said she began showing an interest in art at an early age, which developed over the years. After graduating from SUNY Farmingdale with a degree in art and design, she worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for several years before opening her own business. She also worked in graphic design for the Town of Islip.
Thompson’s work, which includes landscapes and points of interests such as the Fire Island Lighthouse, can be seen in a number of art shows and galleries. She was also commissioned by former President Ronald Reagan for the official poster design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. But she is perhaps best known for her golf paintings.
The USGA commissioned her after she submitted a design to them. In a 2013 interview with another publication, Mary Lopuszynski, director of merchandising operations for the USGA, said of Thompson, “Her work stood out, mainly from a local flavor. She showed us work we thought was really compelling and thought it would appeal to spectators who come to the U.S. Open… We come back to her because her work has had a good response.”
The PGA wasn’t so easy. “I tried for five years to get to the PGA,” Thompson said. “You have to be persistent.”
Then last year, at the USGA event at Shinnecock Hills, she was given a PGA contact. After several attempts to get through, she finally made the desired connection. “Without seeing a design, they told me to submit [a drawing].
“I went out on the [Bethpage] course to get photographs. I took at least 100 photos. I then came up with a whole concept and decided what are the best images to [portray] that golf course. Once I did the design, I got approved in a week. That was unheard of,” she noted.
Thompson explained that the poster is actually a three-part design: her grandson in the foreground, the first tee with the clubhouse and the eighth hole that has the course’s only water feature. “They popped out at me,” she said.
During the championship, which takes place May 16-19, Thompson will be in the PGA tent signing her artwork. The posters will also be sold before then in the pro shop at the golf course.
“I am so elated,” said Thompson. “The response has been phenomenal and it’s such a good feeling. This is by far my best painting ever.”
The final painting will be displayed at the library event. The Connetquot Library is located at 760 Ocean Avenue, Bohemia. The artist reception will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 22 and the unveiling will be at 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
To RSVP or for more information, call 631-589-0069, or go to firstname.lastname@example.org or www.thompsonart.us.
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