An award-winning artist, Paul Tappenden’s creativity varied over a career spanning 45 years. He was a scenic artist who worked on Broadway sets, television and film; created stunning Hudson River landscapes; was a noted muralist and developed two unique painting techniques. Once featured in Rockland County Times, he was awarded honors from government and organizations as a champion of the arts.
Paul studied music and art at Milton Keynes College (a division of Oxford University) in Buckinghamshire, England. After earning his degree, he taught in England and Bermuda before coming to New York in the mid-seventies. His work includes pen and ink drawings, etchings, watercolors, and oil and acrylic paintings and murals. He developed two unique painting techniques called Fresco Découvrir and Modellier Massé, bridging the gap between painting and traditional fresco.
Paul’s subject matters range from portraiture, landscape, still-life and architecture. At one point in his career, he developed a reputation for paintings of the Hudson River Valley and the quaint Victorian village of Nyack where he lived for 43 years. You can see some of his notable paintings at Nyack Village Hall and La Fontana restaurant.
He was a member of the United Scenic Artists painting scenery for Broadway plays such as Cats and Evita, TV including a year on Saturday Night Live, and over fifty movies including Cotton Club, Legal Eagles, Trading Places, and The World According to Garp.
Later in life, Tappenden studied herbs, natural health and foraging, becoming an expert forager sharing his knowledge through workshops, foraging expeditions and The Rockland Forager blog. He published two books, The Edible Plants of Nyack, and The Edible Plants of Nyack and Beyond, which is more extensive and in its second edition. Tappenden’s work will also be displayed at the Blue Hill Art & Cultural Center from April 16-October 14.
Tragically, he died in 2021 from COVID-19 and kidney disease, leaving his wife Kathy of 45 years and daughter Kelly. “He was the posterboy for transparent recipients.” said his wife Kathy. She hopes that his legacy will bring more awareness to kidney disease, and stresses the importance of organ donations. She continued with, “He wasn’t ready to leave us, so I’m doing whatever I can to keep him going.”
In commemoration of Tappenden’s artwork and legacy, there will be an art exhibition held for him starting on May 5 from 6:00 PM- 7:30 PM at the Nyack Library. The art exhibit will be available for one month. For more information about Tappenden’s work, you can visit his website: www.paultappenden.com and his blog at: www.rocklandforager.com.