By Judy Garrison
Many Andeans are familiar with Roshan Houshmand, an exhilarating presence, and with her studio, which is an extension of her house at 495 Main Street, especially those who have taken painting classes there, some for over a decade. Roshan has been selling her art since 1983 to people all over the world including to a strong local following, and through her website to both friends and strangers who are also collectors.
Opening a gallery in the studio, however, is a brand new venture.
Her late afternoon formal opening on Saturday, July 17th proved it to be a very popular idea.
It started at 4, baptized by the monsoon-like storm that brought down telephone poles and led to a hamlet–wide blackout. But that in no way interfered with or put a wet blanket on the delightful social gathering replete with wonderful food and drink that ensued. The huge and inviting gallery provides enough wall space to offer mesmerizing paintings representative of many of the artist’s series. Don’t miss looking into a smaller room that includes her working studio.
What prompted Roshan to open her transformed studio as a kind of gallery? “I love the Catskills and the deep quiet and peace and huge amounts of time I have to focus on my work here. The life of an artist can be isolating, so I decided to open my studio on weekends. I have a large inventory of work, and currently have on display a sampling of work done since I moved to Andes in 2003.
It’s a great way to meet people and actively engage with the community, and sales have been good, too!”  My guess is that although Roshan loves to travel, especially to India and Nepal, and Mexico, and looks forward to doing more of that each winter, and though she has lived in many places, the idea is appealing to her of digging even deeper roots in Andes, where she has lived for the past 18 years, longer than she has stayed anywhere else she says. Now that you’re curious I’ll tell you about some of those “many” places. She was born in the Philippines in 1961 and
spent the first 8 years of her life there before moving to Iran
where she lived until she was 14. She finished her last 2 years of high school in Colorado before attending Bennington College in Vermont for 4 years. That was followed by study at Dominican University’s Rosary College Graduate School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy where she garnered an MA and an MFA. Subsequently she moved to Brooklyn and studied with Julio Alpuy from the Taller of Joaquin Torres Garcia, Founder of Universal Constructivism, until she moved to Barcelona in 1986. She lived in New York City,
Cyprus, Spain for 10 years, Arizona and New Mexico. She recently studied Tibetan thangka painting and drawing at Shechen Monastery in Nepal for several months at a time and also in Dharamshala, India. Before that she took a miniature painting workshop in Jaipur, India with Ajay Sharma who will be offering a workshop in Andes as soon as Covid is more under control. With that diverse background in mind, you may have a greater understanding of what influences have fed into her work.
What can Roshan tell us about why she has chosen the life of an artist? “As Picasso said, ‘Painting is another way of keeping a journal.’ For over 40 years, painting has been the only constant in my life. Places I’ve lived, people I’ve known, marriage, divorce, birth and death have all had a direct impact on my work.”
I recommend a visit to her website: where her CV, bio, statements, and images of her work are available. There you will see a representative example of a painting, mixed media or work on paper. If you click on any image link, it opens up to the whole series, each example of which can be enlarged. The graphicality and color intensity of the pieces connect the viewer immediately. Roshan offers, “There’s a small ‘i’ on the top right corner of each painting that will open the page, providing the title, medium, price and scale of each work.” Images of earlier and representational work can be found in
the Archives in the About section of her website.
Knowing how good and helpful she is as a teacher, I asked Roshan about her experience in teaching. “I have been teaching painting, drawing and art history to people of all ages since the late ‘80s. I began working for LEAP in NYC where I was an art consultant, training teachers and teaching students in the public school system, developing art projects based on the curricula. In Barcelona I was a visiting artist,
teaching senior level students at Escola Massana, the municipal art college. When I returned to the States I taught at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Community College of Allegheny County and Penn State.
She has experience in teaching children as well. “From2010-2015 I taught an annual weeklong children’s art camp in Andes and Delhi which received a lot of community support and grants, as well as after school art projects through CROP.” And she’s taught in Central America. “I’ve also organized and taught painting workshops in Nicaragua and Costa Rica for small groups.” After moving to Delaware
County Roshan began teaching art appreciation and painting at SUNY Delhi, and since 2017 she has been teaching drawing online with Southern New Hampshire University. And, of course, she continues to offer classes from her studio. For more information call or text 813-951-2869.
Since nothing beats “in person,” do visit the gallery, open weekends from 12-5 and by appointment.
When you engage with Roshan, you will discover other interesting facets of her personality and talent. For a start, her friends will tell you that she cooks great Persian food and enjoys sharing culinary and painterly experiences from faraway cultures. ~