Artist Ann Rea
A State of Flow
[caption id="attachment_1007" align="alignnone" width="520" caption=""untitled" Ann Rea, charcoal on canvas "]"untitled" Ann Rea, charcoal on canvas [/caption] It’s well past midnight, and I’m sketching charcoal on canvas boards from several photos that I’ve taken in Benovia’s vineyards.  With each series I challenge myself with a new focus.  There is not necessarily a discernable change to my collectors' eyes but I have chosen specific challenge or focus.  This comes from an everlasting desire to improve my work, to sharpen my focus, to explore a creative curiosity, and to give my best to collectors who invest in my work. I’m composing the framework of these oil studies with experienced marks of charcoal.  I’m also looking at the emphasis on contrast.  I’ll first identify the darkest dark within the painting and the lightest light.  This helps me gauge the rest of the colored values so that they fall somewhere in between. I’m not thinking so much as I am feeling.  I’m making intuitive decisions.  How do I know what color to choose?   I just know. I feel it.  Hopefully I’ll keep sensing throughout the painting.  If I’m interrupted by someone, or by my own thoughts, the whole thing can be a complete waste. I’m always longing to experience a state of flow.  When I’m in the zone time passes undetected.  I experience a sense of focused relaxation.  Decisions are easy, intuitive.  My vision is sharper, I’m somehow more sensitive. It’s this state of flow that keep us painters addicted to our endeavor.  As a matter of fact the researcher, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and author of the book “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience", fist studied painters.   Why?  He wanted to know what kept artists in pursuit of such a problematic career. Before I plunged into painting full time, I wrote a business plan and marketing plan so that I could spend less time concerned about income and as much time as possible in the state of flow: composing, sketching, shaping paint, and breathing fresh air.
Commissioned Based Fine Art Business
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] My art patrons, who commissioned the Benovia vineyard painting series, recently asked me how I go about doing business as a fine artist.  I’m often asked this, so I decided to share my answer. I have built my business as commissioned-based since I decided to commit to painting full time. People often confuse the word commission with consignment.  Consignment describes the arrangement that most art galleries require of artists. The title to the art is held by the artist while the art gallery acts as the agent for the sale of the art.  The artists gets paid if and when their art sells.  This requires the artist to work on speculation and to accept a 50% to 60% payment from the gallery. Although it’s illegal for art galleries to demand exclusivity, they require that the artists work with no other art galleries in the large geographic market they define.  That means that art galleries will typically require that the artist not sell anything on their own website. Commissioned art is paid for in advance by enthusiastic collectors.  Not all artists accept commissions and even if they do, some do this with a certain reluctance.  Generally artists are reluctant to accept commissions because they have not managed their collector’s expectations very well and they don't have a clear agreement. I have, and I always will, embrace private commissions.  Not only does it make more business sense, it allows my collectors and I to get to know one another. I enjoy our interaction and getting to know each patron. I find energy and inspiration in creating a series or a canvas for someone.  And I think it makes me more mindful of the gift of art.  It’s a personal interaction.  This is also why I don’t accept all commission requests.
A Hand's On First Experience of Benovia's Cohn Vineyard
Reagan Yesterday I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and up 101 to the historic Felta School in a wooded area of Healdsburg. This was the rendezvous point to meet my collectors for the first time and Benovia’s vineyard manager, Chris Kangas. I arrived early. I did not want to keep them waiting in the blistering heat.  While I waited I pulled out my iPad and learned about the Felta School Foundation. The Felta Foundation was established to “encourage critical and creative thinking, and to strengthen each student's power of imagination.”  I found this heartening, as standard public school curriculums have basically eliminated the arts only to focus on linear thinking and memorization. I used to feel bad that I never mastered advanced mathematics or science.  It sometimes left me feeling inadequate.   But now I think, how many mathematicians or scientists feel bad because they haven't mastered fine art? The Felta Foundation emphasizes “hands-on experiences and cultural awareness."  Ironically that's in part why my collectors engaged me and that is what we were about to embark on. They arrived on time with their sleeping young daughter, limp in the back of the car.  We greeted each other and then wound up the hill towards Benovia’s historic Cohn Vineyard.  After climbing up the winding road a beautiful mountaintop site was revealed, incredible vistas of the Russian River Valley framed by redwood forests.  Planted in 1970, this is one of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in California. Through the heat we toured the vineyards and Chris taught us about the soil, the grapes, the facets of the landscape that you can't experience in pictures or in a classroom.  You just have to be there.