Chestnut Hill artist Ginger Garrett Arthur is currently showing her work at Jansen, the upscale Mt. Airy restaurant at Germantown and Gowen avenues.
Chestnut Hill artist Ginger Garrett Arthur is currently showing her work at Jansen, the upscale Mt. Airy restaurant at Germantown and Gowen avenues owned by former Four Seasons Hotel executive chef David Jansen – giving its walls the look and feel of an art gallery.
“I adore Ginger,” Jansen said, adding that the work will be up through November. “She recently did a portrait of our dogs which my wife gave to me and the family for Christmas last year. We have both long admired Ginger’s work, which now works wonderfully in the restaurant. It’s a pleasure having her work on the walls, and the customers have also enjoyed it.”
On display is a series of nature scenes for each room, including “Light on Water” and “The Garden Outside In.” Some of the pieces were done specifically for this show, while most of the others were painted in the last few years.
Arthur was encouraged to think about showing at the restaurant by fellow artist Christy Morse Kelly, whose work was previously on exhibit in the restaurant.
“She was taking down her lovely evocative landscapes and seascapes, the ones that hadn’t already found a new home, and asked if I’d be interested in putting up mine,” Arthur said last week. “ I am very grateful for many reasons but also because the offer came after many months of commission work, and I was looking for my next project. The Jansen show gave me that focus.”
Arthur's studio is at 8042 Germantown Ave., where the popular restaurant, Under the Blue Moon, held court for more than 20 years until 1997. She has also worked as the flower buyer for the Weavers Way stores in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy for almost 15 years, so it is no surprise that many of her paintings depict flowers and other nature scenes and landscapes.
It’s not just Arthur’s paintings that are beautiful. She is a former model, having been discovered by the prestigious Wilhelmina modeling agency a few decades ago. They signed her to a contract, and she wound up doing lots of print work such as magazine ads for Clairol hair products, modeling and acting. She did TV work, soap operas, commercials, and even movies.
“Having red hair was my signature,” Arthur recalled. “There were not that many (red-haired models) out there. But my first love has always been painting, so I decided that if I am going to suffer for an art, I'd much rather suffer for painting, not for acting. I certainly did meet a lot of interesting people though.”
So after 15 years with Wilhelmina agency, Arthur dropped out of modeling and acting and took a job with QVC for five years but devoted her creative energies to painting. Since becoming a full-time artist (almost), Arthur has had several solo exhibits in New York and Philadelphia, and has been a part of numerous group exhibits including those at Woodmere Art Museum and the former Carol Schwartz Gallery in Chestnut Hill. She has won several first- and second-place awards, has been in prestigious private collections in Delaware, Texas and Virginia, and featured on the NBC-TV “10 at 10” morning show. She also won second place in the Chestnut Hill Plein Air competition in the summer of 2017.
When she was 38, Arthur married her husband Jim, who is 10 years her junior. “It took me a long time to find him!” Arthur said. “And then 10 years after we were married, we discovered a mutual ancestor from the 17th century, whose story parallels the way we met. You can't make this stuff up.”
Jim Arthur, a University of Pennsylvania grad, is a full-time cabinetmaker with a wide-ranging clientele from around the world. He has also built a sailboat, launching it 10 years ago at the invitation of the Independence Seaport Museum and naming it “Ginger!”
“Such a beautiful boat,” the immortalized Ginger Arthur observed. “We are now showing up on sailing videos on YouTube, produced by some of his talented sailing buddies. Really beautiful shots with great music, exquisite scenery and lovely sailing boats.”
Jim Arthur also holds the title of “Mr. July” in the 2023 Wooden Boat Calendar, which features a beautiful photo of him sailing in Maine on the boat he built called Ginger.
For more information, visit gingerarthur.com. Arthur’s studio is always open by appointment, and you can follow the artist on Instagram, where her new work first appears. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org