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Artist Ann Rea
Join me at Bartholomew Park Winery this Sunday, June 9th, 11am - 2pm
BartPark Join me at Bartholomew Park Winery this “Second Sunday” June 9th for a casual artist’s reception with wine and food in their scenic oak grove overlooking the vines. I’ll also be leading a discussion of art and wine at noon and 1:00 in the museum of this stunning historic estate.  During this Q&A I’ll reveal some of the secrets of my creative process and teach guests how to look at a painting through an artist’s eyes. If you pay attention, I can promise you, you’ll never look at the landscape, or a painting, the same way again.  I’ll help you tune your eyes to light and shadow so that you can see colors you may not have ever seen before. Bartholomew Park Winery is rich with history and spirits.  Lovely tasty spirits and spirits from beyond.  But you’ll have to come visit on Sunday to hear more about that inside story. The Bartholomew Park Museum provides fascinating insights into the property’s colorful past. Bartholomew Park Winery is one of those gems tucked away in Wine Country. The wines are sold exclusively through their tasting room and wine club. Bartholomew Park's 37-acre historic Estate vineyard is located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain range in Sonoma Valley. The unique setting of this vineyard is tucked up against Arroyo Seco. This treasure trove of an estate vineyard is farmed organically and it is by far one of my favorite wines. Please come join us this Sunday and sip some spirits ,)
Making Art/Making Money
ArtistsWhoTHRIVE Confucius said, “Man who chases two rabbits catches none.” This wisdom has been ringing in my head since Christmas, when I began creating a guided 8-week online business course for artists called, “Making Art/Making Money.” This ambitious project is one fast rabbit. The other rabbit is my fine art enterprise. Obviously, my painting is near and dear to my heart. Trying to balance both races has been a tiring battle. Since I don’t have four legs to run in two directions, I’m putting my fine art enterprise on a partial hold until “Making Art/Making Money” is launched and my new book “101 Rules of Selling Art” is released. After serious soul searching and distance from my painting I’ve realized that my painting has not been reflecting my interests and higher values around mindfulness and consciousness. So when I return to my art full time I will be embarking on yet a new project and body of work that will be the focus of a clinical study designed by a leading authority in the field of neuro-feedback, Dr. Thomas Browne. Dr. Browne has designed a clinical study that will measure the neuro and physiological responses of subjects to my contemplative contemporary still life paintings. When I moved to San Francisco in 2006 I knew that I have to be prolific in order to thrive. So I began neuro-feedback with Dr. Browne to obtain optimal states of performance. It rid me of all creative blocks. Neuro-feedback is an area of brain science that is essentially medically aided meditation that places me into a lasting state of focused calm, but it’s not meditation. So it’s no accident, that collectors remark consistently that my paintings make them feel happy and calm. I’m inspired to investigate these emotional responses triggered by a heightened state of consciousness reflected in my paintings. My intention is to build a bridge between art and science. When the study is complete, Dr. Browne and I will be conducting “Art & Science Salons.” If you are interested in volunteering to be a subject for the “Art & Science” study, please reply today.
The “Experience of Art” – the Gift that Keeps on Giving
gift Since I introduced an “Experience of Art” I’ve noticed a curious trend.  Nine times out of ten the “Experience of Art” is offered as the ultimate memorable gift.  And I could not LOVE this more because it is such a joy to be part of these precious exchanges. Examples include a wedding anniversary gift from the husband to his wife.  His thank you to me stated, “You helped save my marriage.” “Experience of Art” - a birthday present from the wife to the husband who remarked, “Ann has helped us gain deeper appreciation for life through art.” A real estate company in a gift of appreciation to their valuable clients mentioned, “I could go to any number of galleries and acquire an amazing painting for a homeowner, but it would not even come close to the personal memory and meaning that your “Experience of Art” will give my clients.” And one case where a women opening the next chapter in her life as an empty nester decided to give the gift of art to herself and she said simply, “I love your work, I’m not going to wait any longer, I deserve it.” Why is it so special?  I think it’s simply because the patron is involved in the experience.  Each recipient receives an elegantly wrapped invitation to an “Experience of Art." We experience the place that has meaning to them together. And we get to know one another. When I return to the landscape to complete a series of field studies I’m maintaining a creative diary online so that they can witness the evolution of their painting. Patrons have some input and control because they get to choose the study that I reinterpret on a custom sized canvas to suit their space. We celebrate with an unveiling party and I present my patrons with a signed storybook that chronicles their experience.  This captures their memory and shares the journey we travel together. An “Experience of Art” is about connection, the story, the memory and meaning.  That is the gift I want to help give.
Do You
Russell_Simmons Since I did not go to business school, and I have a long commute over the Golden Gate Bridge to Wine Country, I keep a number of business books on my iPhone.  This is often referred to as DTU (Drive Time University.) One of my favorite audio books is by Russell Simons, one of the very wealthiest and most successful pioneering hip-hop media and fashion moguls. I also happen to like him because, like me, he’s down with practicing yoga, meditation, anti-censorship, and he does not reserve his political or social opinions. Simons’ book is called “Do You, Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success.”  It's no surprise that Oprah gave him the first part of the title. “Do you”, delivers the value proposition.  He mixes his personal philosophy and world view and breaks down how he's applied this to building his empire of successful brands and cultivating artist's careers. In the world of art, what counts is unique expression.  So if an artist tries to be anything but their authentic self, they will fall short and be subject to constant comparison or remain simply irrelevant. By “Doing You” an artist sets themselves apart, offering their market unique value.  A student in one of my Artists Who THRIVE seminars reluctantly asked, “Is there really enough opportunity for very many “Blue Ocean Strategies.”  My answer is a resounding. YES! Does that mean that every artist with a unique and compelling expression has a market?  Not necessarily.  The artist must know, articulate, and deliver value to a target market.  The value is expression that touches, inspires, and moves that market. It’s only when an artist remains true to themselves, their unique essence, their vision, that they stand the very best chance of connecting with and inspiring others. And that, my friends, is the name of the game in the world of art.  And I believe it's also the name of the game in the world of business. My advice is “know thyself” and take Mr. Simons’ advise. “Do you.”
What do Winemakers and Artists have in common?
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] Art and wine are often referred to in the same sentence or advertisement for a tasting event.  So I’ve decided to probe this association a bit further. I’ll be working on a film project where I’ll briefly interview notable Winemakers and simply ask them the question, “What do we have in common, you and me, Winemaker and Artist? A few things come to mind right off the bat.  Both wine making and art making skills demand a certain level of technical mastery in order to be successful. Yet beyond technical mastery, the artist and the winemaker must give their creation heart and soul. Are Art making and wine making financially lucrative? It’s the exception and not the norm. Typically both artists and winemakers swim with the sharks of competition in over-saturated markets.  There’s only a select few who actually master their craft and their market. Both the winemaker’s and the artist’s work are extensions of traditions imbued with their individual perspective and personality.  My tradition is that of the French Impressionists but I was very much influenced by my contemporary mentor Wayne Theibaud as well as Gregory Kondos and my study of perspective as an architectural designer and illustrator. Making art and wine is something that you are called to do.  It requires more than a mild or passing interest. It requires a life long commitment.  It’s passion that seems to be most of what winemakers and artists have in common.
All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. - Eckhart Tolle
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] This quote struck me as true. Eckhart Tolle understands artists.  This particular understanding of creativity is reflected in my tagline, “Savor the colors of the moment™". When I’m in a state of creative flow, it’s true, I have no mind, I’m not thinking.  So when someone asks “What were you thinking when you painted that painting?”  I often have to fish around for something to say.  Because really, I wasn’t thinking much. Something, some quality, simply caught my attention initially. After that, if the creative process is flowing, I’m not thinking.  I’m feeling and letting go. It can be a challenge to say much at all about a painting or even come up with the title.  The titles to my paintings are really not all that poetic. Describing a painting is such a literal exercise imposed upon an inexplicable creative expression.  But people appreciate knowing the story and my motivation behind a painting that they are interested in.  That said,  I often don’t say much. With “no-mind” comes an inner stillness.  It’s the lessened mental chatter one experiences with practiced meditation.  It’s no wonder that art is used as therapy.  After I’ve completed a painting I often feel that I’ve hit the reset button on my thinking.  And physically I’m more relaxed. Eckhart Tolle, famed author of “The Power of Now”, has it right.
Waiting for the Muse
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] Collectors will ask me if I have to wait for the muse to show up before I begin a painting.  The answer is no. Why?  Two reasons.  Number one, too often it would be a very long wait.  And number two, the landlord will not wait for their check. The fact is that it’s during the act of creating that I receive inspiration. And the more I paint, the more chances I have to be inspired. Now if I’m working on a painting and I really feel like it’s working against me, it’s just plain ugly.  Then the best strategy is to walk away. I’ll let it sit and when I return I can see it with much more clarity.  This perspective helps me understand what's working and what's not. It’s kind of like life and relationships.  I get along with most of my paintings but every now and then I come across a real pill. And that’s okay because these pills give me feedback and I learn the most from them.  After I’ve critiqued the failures I destroy them so that I may release them. So no, there’s no waiting for the muse if you want to earn your living as a painter.  When I show up, creativity and inspiration show up.
When was the last time you painted?
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] It’s not just us artists who are able to access creativity.  Anyone who desires to express him or herself can find their medium of expression. Many people say to me that they envy my creative talent and that they wish they too were creative.  I appreciate their comments but I wish that they knew that they too could access creativity. It’s my experience that we are often placed in one of two buckets.  The right brain, creatives, and left-brain, linear or logical thinkers. In reality, very few of us can be stuffed neatly into either bucket.  I consider myself a very right brain left brain kind of gal. I think our educational system issues these labels based on what we study.  The label is arbitrary yet it sticks and it forms our adult identity. Many have just lost or abandoned their creative interests.  And I think that’s why my collaborative painting events are so popular. Collaborative paintings are hosted at exclusive luxury venues with people who, for the most part, meet all the conventional definitions of success.  When I ask, “When was the last time you painted?” I often hear “kindergarten.”  Sad really.  Because they've waited so long to express themselves. These are confident folks are often initially rather intimidated and they remark, “I don’t want to ruin the painting.” As they trust themselves they transform and say “this is so much fun.” Anyone can access his or her creativity, it’s just a matter of doing it. Just try to flip your creative switch.  It could be writing, cooking, sewing, building a tree house, or decorating. The reason that writers, painters, and actors pursue their craft, against many odds, is because there is such satisfaction in creating.  What will you create?
Humming a Few Notes
Golden Gate Bridge Sketch An art series starts with just a few lines.  I have to imagine that its like a musical series that starts with the musician just humming a few notes.  That humming then becomes a riff, one that’s interesting enough to keep investigating, developing. I’m going to take you through this series of the Golden Gate Bridge under the full moon.  It will reflect my particular creative process. The first series of colored pastels were created five years ago when I first moved to San Francisco. I sketched the series on black sand paper.  It was a cost effective alternative to pricey pastel paper and I could vary the texture easily by choosing different sand paper grits. The only problem was that I do a lot of color smudging with my finger and I think I was starting to sand off my fingerprint on my right index finger.  Ouch. Above you’ll find the first few lines of a series of 36 views of the Golden Gate Bridge from various perspectives around my adopted city. I do love this San Francisco and this is my way to celebrate it.  And I’m offering the viewer a way to investigate it with me.  I’ll be providing a map with this series.  It will plot each view so that you can retrace my steps and see the Golden Gate Bridge through my eyes. I’ve been itching to get back into the studio to create a series that is not actually part of a private commission. My art business is commissioned based and I love creating for my patrons.  But every now and then I have to create just for me and respond to only on my creative whims.
Do you just paint vineyards?
[caption id="attachment_1117" align="alignnone" width="400" caption=""Over the Bridge" Ann Rea ©, pastel, private collection"]"Over the Bridge" Ann Rea ©, pastel, private collection[/caption] I have to admit I do tire of this question.  The answer is: “No.  And I’m not painting vineyards.  I’m painting color shaped by ambient light in the tradition of the French Impressionists yet I’m influenced by my mentors, and contemporary art icons, Wayne Thiebaud and Gregory Kondos.”  But the real answer would just take way too long so I reply,  “Yes. I only paint vineyards.” However, I’m revisiting a series of pastels on black sandpaper inspired by San Francisco at night under the full moon. I started it when I first moved to San Francisco five years ago. Recently I was inspired by an exhibition on display at The Legion of Honor called Aspects of Mount Fuji in Japanese Illustrated Books from the Arthur Tress Collection.  It’s there until February 20th, a must see. One of the many artists that I was drawn to was Henri Riviere, and in particular his 36 views of the Eiffel Tower bound into a book of lithographs.  Henri  Riviere was inspired by Hokusai’s 36 views of Mont Fuji. Wayne Thiebaud used to say there are no new ideas.  If you find one you like, take it and make it your own. So I am carrying on the tradition and continuing my series of the Golden Gate Bridge under full moon light to include a total 36 views. It's raining now and the vines are bald so I cannot paint in Wine Country. So I'll focus on my Eiffel Tower, my Mont Fuji.  That is the Golden Gate Bridge,  less  than a mile from my private live work studio. The Golden Gate Bridge is  as an ever-visible icon symbolizing my adopted home.  And when it’s lit at night it glows for miles around in and through the fog.
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