Artist falls in love with Fountain Square

Cristen Friddell

New Orleans native Misha Ambrosia, “45 years young,” said one of her first memories as a child was working on art.

She was about four or five years old when she spent an afternoon drawing pictures of fruit on tiny scraps of paper.

“I think they were apples,” Ambrosia said.

She then showed her artwork to her mother.

“She said, ‘These are beautiful pears,’ and I was so mad that I stormed off and ripped them up,” Ambrosia said, laughing. “They weren’t pears!”

Now, Ambrosia lives in Bowling Green and has painted many pictures of Fountain Square.

More than ten of these paintings have made it onto the cover of SOKY Happenings, including this month’s, said David Francis, owner of the magazine.

Despite the “pear” misunderstanding, Ambrosia said she still has a special place in her heart for the green fruit.

“I have painted about 150 pears in my life,” Ambrosia said.

The “Misha Pear” makes appearances in many of her paintings, especially those that are copies of masterpieces like Vincent Van Gogh’s “Road with Cypress and Star.”

“People don’t want to just see me copying a master,” she said. “So I add a “Misha Pear” and make it mine.”

Ambrosia said she and her husband moved to Bowling Green about six years ago for his job.

Within the first couple of months of her move, she started looking for a local landmark to capture in her paintings for her first Bowling Green art show.

In December 2004, Ambrosia and her husband had dinner one night at a restaurant on Fountain Square, and she fell in love with the square.

Inspired by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai’s “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji,” Ambrosia painted “Thirty-six views of Fountain Square.”

Since then she has made the square the subject of many more of her paintings.

Some of her paintings are sold at local venues downtown such as Candle Makers on the Square and The Gallery at 916.

“She is known for her square paintings,” said Becky Hesson, who works at Candle Makers on the Square. “She is great.”

Ambrosia has been studying art since she was nine years old, when her parents put her in art classes after she came home from summer camp with a picture of a landscape she had drawn.

“They said, ‘You didn’t draw this,'” she said. “And I kept telling them I had. They couldn’t believe it.”

Ambrosia has been working as an artist since college, but since her move to Bowling Green she has been able to be one full-time.

“This is the first time I have been able to work full-time as an artist,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”

Ambrosia’s painting “Hebe Putting on the Glitz at Fountain Square Park” is on the cover of this month’s SOKY Happenings.

The painting was commissioned by the Commonwealth Corporation and was auctioned off at the Commonwealth Health Foundation Charity Ball to raise money for the organization, Francis said.

He said SOKY Happenings used it as a cover to raise awareness for the event.