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Artist Ann Rea
Golden Gate Bridge - The Anchor of my Heart and Home
glod In December 2005 I realized that I had nothing left to lose, so I finally decided. I decided to  follow my dream of making and selling my art full time and I moved to my long held artistic inspiration, San Francisco. I made a home in The Presidio of San Francisco directly across from the Pacific, less than one mile from the Golden Gate Bridge. Over a decade before I walked across the bridge as a tourist. I still remember looking out over the San Francisco Bay at the beautiful hilly cityscape in the distance. I just knew, it felt like home. When I finally moved here I wanted to celebrate that moment of knowing on the Golden Gate Bridge, that feeling, and my determination. I celebrated my new life direction by creating my first artistic series of pastels of the Golden Gate Bridge. And the series sold out quickly. This year I  created a new series of original pastels and Exclusive Edition prints to celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary from 1937-2012. The official day of the 75th anniversary is May 28, the Sunday of this coming Memorial Day weekend. Like a moth to a flame, I'm drawn to the orange vermilion of the iconic Golden Gate which glows deepest at night. The Architect Irving Morrow selected a distinctive "International Orange" over carbon black or steel gray because it is a warm color, consistent with the adjacent warm colored landscape. "International Orange" is also the easiest color for passing ships to spot as it is the opposite on the color wheel of the surrounding blue colors of the ocean and sky. This recent series provides a creative challenge.  It demands an exploration of the depth of color bleeding through the dark of night. This new series of original pastels and Exclusive Edition prints celebrates the anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge and this series honors the anchor of my heart and my home, San Francisco.
Tools of the Trade
[caption id="attachment_1169" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="36 Views of the Golden Gate Bridge"]36 Views of the Golden Gate Bridge[/caption] In between phone calls today I was sketching.  Noodling around with a pastel series that I’m developing of views inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge under the full moon.  You can see traces of the Golden Gate Bridge's glow to the left of the image above. I live less than a mile from the bridge on the ocean side and the Golden Gate has always resonated with my sense of place, particularly at night. Pastels are easy to pull out and work with, unlike oil paints, which are much more involved and complicated.  And pastels dry instantly, so there’s an instant satisfaction. I was a bit frustrated by the range and quality of colors that I had available in my studio.  Then a sudden yearning struck me.  A deep desire for the big Crayola box of 72 colors came ringing back from my childhood.  I wanted that pretty new box of unbroken crayons with the built in sharpener in the back.  And I wanted it bad.  But I didn’t get it then. So I decided I to go for it today. I ordered a set of 120 Winsor & Newton soft pastels that come in a beautiful wooden storage box.  They are precious and lush pigments from a factory in England founded in 1832 that serves by appointment of HRH the Prince of Wales. This was no longer a frivolous kid’s desire but a necessary tool of my trade, and a tax deduction.  I can’t wait for them to arrive!
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.