Artist Ann Rea
Painting with Matisse
Henri_Matisse One of my most treasured memories was painting in a little fishing town in France called Collioure, a small Catalan harbor sheltered on a quiet bay where the chain of the Pyrenees meet the Mediterranean Sea, 15 miles from the border of Spain. I was in France studying with Gregory Kondos, a friend and colleague of my mentor, Wayne Thiebaud. One morning Gregory and I sat in a café sipping espresso in the very same place where painting masters including Picasso, Derain, and Matisse had traded their art, still on the walls, for a meal. After we left the café I set up my easel on the beach to do a quick study of a small simple white chapel perched on a rocky bluff overlooking the Mediterranean.  I put it away and joined my fellow students at a nearby art museum. Visiting artists from yesteryear had their work preserved in these galleries.  It was a delight to see the work of art masters reflecting the environment that I was being inspired by that week. I turned the corner of the museum and what did I see.  A painting by Henri Matisse of a small simple white chapel perched on a rocky bluff over looking the Mediterranean.  Just an hour before I had stood in the very same spot that had also inspired him! I recently found a quote: "In France there is no sky as blue as the one in Collioure...I just have to close the shutters of my room and I have all the colors of the Mediterranean before me." --- Henri Matisse
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.
Compliments Don't Feed the Cat
cat I was so delighted to be greeted yesterday morning with the message below. It fueled me with inspiration, so with permission, I'm sharing it with you. It’s true that “compliments don’t feed the cat” but I do always appreciate them. “I came across your site through a link in Wikipedia when I was searching on Gregory Kondos. I wanted to send you a message and thank you for your inspiring eye. I spent many many trips in the Wine Country, having grown up in San Francisco, and I had to tell you that your work really rekindles my memory of how I myself remember those experiences. More than anything else, I feel that you really have infused the overwhelming sense of sheer impact of that region, and accentuated the subtleties of the entire experience in a way which makes me long for a life surrounded by that kind of visual inspiration. It's very rare for me to come across an artist with that sense of insight. I remember the first time I saw an RC Gorman pastel sketch (after he had quit drinking)-- the colors were so vibrant that I thought he was out of his mind. Of course shortly later on I moved to Santa Fe (after having visited there many times as a kid) and was overwhelmed by the accuracy of his capturing of the sunsets of the southwest. I was equally embarrassed for having missed really seeing it for myself in my younger years. But with wine country, the memories are laser-etching on my soul, and you've managed to bring this to the canvas. Truly exceptional. You remind me of a small handful of artists who I've been privileged to know while they were standing on the brink of greatness. I hope that for you as well, I think it would be quite fitting to realize a destiny of sorts which pays tribute to your patience and persistence in getting to know your subject matter so well. It really is a destiny based on love of life. So I salute you, and send best wishes. I'll carry forth your work in my mind as inspiration (and should probably buy some rather quickly before its priced out of my reach-- compliments don't feed the cat, I always say). I myself was a painter once, much early on, 1980-90, but the trials of life bowled my career into the sublimely routine corporate track. I'm going to get back to it, with 20 years or so more life experience under my belt, and who knows what will happen.” CSW
Ann Rea (Inc.)
annreaSquared Many people ask me, "Who's your representative?"  The answer is that Ann Rea, Inc. is the legal entity that represents the artist Ann Rea. How did this come about?  Well, while I was being mentored by American art icons Wayne Thiebaud and Gregory Kondos they encouraged me to make a go of it and to explore my talent full time, and to quit that boring and unrelated day job that I wanted quit anyway.  "It's not too late" they both advised.  But each of them began their careers as academics. “How do I make a living?” I asked of Wayne Thiebaud.  Mr. Thiebaud replied, “I don’t know, I’m not a business man. But I can give you a letter of recommendation and refer you to some galleries, one in particular. You can use my name, you’ll probably get in. But the owner, I'll warn you, she’s a pill.”   A pill, that was a very polite understatement. Wayne Thiebaud’s letter did get me an entrance into that gallery to review my work.  But when the gallery owner revealed her terms, actually illegal but common terms, it was no wonder  why artists are starving.  The gallery owner insisted on geographic market exclusivity, and demanded that the best of my painting inventory was left on consignment.  The art gallery may never sell a thing and I was handcuffed from selling my own work through other galleries. It gets better.  I would be paid 50% of the sale price or less because the gallery owner wanted the right to negotiate a discount to patrons, a discount that I would have to eat.  I could not work with any other galleries in Northern California even though this gallery may or may not sell a thing and they could give me the boot at any time they pleased. The gallery also wanted to be listed as the single representative on my website and she really didn’t want me selling from my own site. And the art galleries illegal demands are common terms demanded by many galleries. So I thought, “Oh, I don’t think so!  I want to make a living."  And no profitable business would agree to these terms.  “I’ll make my own market, thank you very much. I don't know how, but I'll figure it out." I was advised by the successful artist Donna Billick, yes the sister of the famed football coach, “Take the reins, it’s the only way you’ll succeed.”  How true! So I reflected on the lack of business advice from Wayne Thiebaud, and from my brother, the Dean of a business school, and my sister, a self made multi-millionaire.  Then I decided to write a business plan and a marketing plan anyway.  I sat with a dear friend to do this.  I didn’t have experience in writing business plans but realized that it was an unconventional approach for an artist that could offer a distinct advantage.  Why not try? They all thought that  I was crazy.  But then, they always did think she I crazy. So in 2005, I launched my business as a sole proprietorship. And without the benefit of a PR agent my business was profiled by the national media, including, “Fortune”,  “The Wine Enthusiast”, “Practical Winery and Vineyard Management” and "The Tasting Panel" magazines, and the “Fine Living” channel. I'm happy to work with art galleries and art consultants but only if the terms are profitable and mutually beneficial, like any good business owner. In late 2008, I learned more about our federal tax structure and the IRS code and with my CPA's advise I changed my business structure to a corporation. Now you know the history of Ann Rea, Inc. and you have a little insight into the art market. And hopefully this story has encouraged you to support independent artists just like Ann Rea, who have decided to "take the reins."
Color, color, color. I eat it for breakfast.
The Color Wheel

What inspires me? Color, color, color.  I eat it for breakfast.

What is color?  It’s simply the energy of light vibrating at different frequencies.  I choose to focus on color because this inspiration is infinite and it is ever changing. As the sun shines through the particles in the sky and moves over our heads each day it casts a different light in each environment on the globe.  Hour by hour forms and shadows are reshaped.  Focus upon this subtle change keeps me present, it therapeutically keeps my thoughts in the moment. Why do we enjoy watching a sunset?  I think it’s because we slow down and relax into the moment, reflecting as we watch the very source of color reshape the environment for yet another day.  As they day ends we’re reminded that the sun will set again and it places the days events and life’s current circumstances in context. The French Impressionists discovered the genius of this joy and inspiration.  Their subject was color shaped by the immediate and ambient light of a place in time.  The subject wasn’t haystacks, water lilies, or cathedrals.  The Impressionist period continues to hold universal appeal and remains one of the most popular periods in the history of Western art.  It’s accessible and the focus was beautiful simplicity. I’ve been referred to as an Impressionist and I don’t believe that is accurate.  Although I do paint in the timeless tradition of French Impressionists like Monet, plein air (in the open air), I’m not from a previous century. And even though I use the same oil pigments as Van Gough from Old Holland Oil Works established in 1664, my work is influenced by the direct mentorship I received from contemporary painters Wayne Thiebaud and Gregory Kondos (American Art icons) and my study with renowned industrial designer Viktor Schreckengost.  Each of these influences are an inspiration along with my love of color.