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Artist Ann Rea
Do I paint large-scale canvases?
[caption id="attachment_317" align="alignnone" width="300" caption=""Offering Bowls", oil on canvas, 48" x 60" "]oil on canvas, 48" x 60"[/caption] Many people ask if I paint large-scale canvases.  Absolutely!  The largest commission request I’ve received came from an interior designer.  After understanding her design direction I created “Offering Bowls”.  This oil on canvas measures 4’x5’.  It’s a simple yet bold meditative image, a study of white on white.  It was perfect for a soothing master bedroom suit in a contemporary San Francisco loft owned by the CEO of DRP Construction. Larger-scale canvases are generally commissioned.  So most of what you see on my website are field studies.  These measure 16”x20” to 5”x7” and they are actually painted in “the field” or rather the vineyard. By painting on-site I gain inspiration from the unique essence of a fleeting place and time in the vineyard.  As the sun crosses the sky the shadows move and the shapes shift and the colors change.  I can capture this on smaller canvases but with larger canvases the timing is problematic. My field studies inform my artistic direction for my larger canvases.  I’ll create as many as twenty field studies for a large-scale commission like the one I’m working on now of Tim Mondavi’s Continuum Estate Vineyard.  Some of these field studies will be edited, or destroyed, and one will be the basis for the composition of the larger canvas.  But each of the field studies I paint will give me some inspiration, some information for the larger finished piece. I paint my larger scale canvases in the comfort of my Pacific beach studio.  I can take my “research” and take my time indoors. If you’re a collector interested in original works, I invite you to schedule a private studio appointment.
Why do painters squint? What do they see?
Why does Ann Rea squint when she paints? People often ask me, "Why do painters squint?"  They squint, or I squint, to simplify what I’m seeing.  When you squint down you’ll notice that most detail disappears.  When these details disappear I can focus my attention on breaking down what I’m observing into a few simple and coherent shapes. Squinting is not helpful in determining the color I perceive.  I have to keep my eyes open and relaxed, not fixated or staring, when I want to observe color. Colors darken when you squint.  Give it a try. Simplification of what I'm seeing is necessary before I can translate my observations into a number of related shapes and forms.  These forms are what I’ll render on canvas.  Not the tree, the road, the sky, or things or ideas but forms.  I’ll pay particular attention to edge of the forms too. Squinting at my subject allows me to reduce details to simple patterns that I can manage.  That’s what I’m doing.  I’m simplifying what I see to it’s essential essence of form and light.  Light shapes a form in space. I never squint at my canvas.  I will work on it and back up from it several times during a painting session.  This allows me to see the “big picture”.  I can see the canvas from various distances as its developing and I can see my work in relationship to my subject.
Who’s your PR agent?
[caption id="attachment_170" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Fortune magazine, May 14, 2007"]Fortune magazine, May 14, 2007[/caption]

Who’s your PR agent?

I get asked this.  The answer is, I don’t have one.  I’ve been very fortunate to receive local and national press recognition since I started my business (painting full time). I'm so appreciative that I continue to be featured in the national media, most recently on "Fine Living" and in "The Wine Enthusiast", “The Tasting Panel”, “Practical Winery and Vineyard Management” and "Fortune" magazines.  This year my blue ocean business strategy was profiled in "Career Renegade" by Jonathan Fields, published by Random House, a great book and a great guy. And watch for me on NBC's "In Wine Country" this season! Why?  I think there's two reasons.  It’s not because I know how to write a press release or that I have a publicist or PR agent.  I hold the intention that I will receive favorable press; call it a goal, law of attraction, or mindset.  And when I’m interviewed I just tell the truth, I just tell my story. Two weeks ago I received a call from a gentleman in San Francisco who said,  “You don’t know me but I read your article in Fortune magazine.  I saved it and now I would like to commission you to paint my vineyard as a surprise anniversary present for my wife.”  I love being part of these surprise plots.  The article was entitled “The Practical Painter” and it was published on May 14, 2007. It was a collector in Chicago who recommended me for the story, Carol, a real estate attorney.  I received an email from the Fortune writer, Anne Fisher, letting me know that she loved my work and my story but that she had one “iron clad” qualifying question, was I over 50?  The answer was and is no.  She said that her editor was requiring this because of their readership’s demographic.   She had to pass.  I wrote her right back and I politely insisted that she should do the story and that she should ask her editor again.  Twenty minutes later she wrote me back to say that they had “changed the iron clad rule.” I’m my own agent. Maybe it’s helpful that I don’t know the rules? Read the "Practical Painter, Drinking it All In."
A Painting Recipe-Ann Rea
[caption id="attachment_61" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Ann Rea's pallette"]annreaspallette[/caption] Collectors often ask how I even start to create an original oil painting. “What is your creative process?"  This really depends on the piece.  Let’s say for example that I’m commissioned to complete a large-scale canvas of a particular vineyard.  I also paint private gardens. The first step is to arrange a tour with the winemaker, or the ranch manager, someone who really knows and loves the land.  They have an emotional connection and so they can take me to the special places in the landscape. With a field map in hand, the winemaker and I drive around while I take several photographs. A field map delineates each block of fruit in a vineyard.  I’ll map the spots that excite me so that I can find my way back to each place within what is often hundreds of acres of unmarked vines. Then it’s back to my Pacific beach studio where I’ll review each photograph.  If it still interests me, then I’ll sketch the basic elements of the image in charcoal on canvas board.  Canvas board is particleboard wrapped in prepared canvas.  I don’t use stretched canvas for field studies because I’m outside and when the wind kicks up, and it does, it acts like a sail and it can blow right off the easel. When I travel back to the vineyard I return to each spot at the same time of day and I paint in oil over the charcoal sketch. I’m often asked, “How long does it take you to paint?”  I want to answer as Picasso did, “all my life.” But I understand the question. I only have two or three hours to complete a field study because as the light changes, the colors shift and the shadows take on new shapes.  Like writing a rough draft, I complete several field studies and only keep some. “What do I do with the others?” They’re destroyed. Again, my creative process is just like a writing rough draft. Finally I’ll select the field study that I’m most excited by, still curious about, and in my Pacific beach studio I’ll complete a larger rendition of it on the canvas size my patron selects.  I’ll further explore the image artistically, refining the colors and the composition. This is of course is just part of painting’s physical recipe.  The creative process requires several more posts!