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Artist Ann Rea
A Sense of Place – Johndrow Vineyards
[caption id="attachment_1556" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="“Mood of Dusk” Ann Rea ©, oil on canvas, 16"x20", private collection of David and Maryann Johndrow"]“Mood of Dusk” Ann Rea ©, oil on canvas, 16"x20", private collection of David and Maryann Johndrow[/caption] This morning Ashley arrived at my new Pacific Beach studio all a glow at seven months very pregnant. Ashley is the Vice President of Ohano Real Estate Investors, who owns the Montage Deer Valley Residences. Ohana commissioned an Experience of Art as a gift for their clients Maryann and David Johndrow. Ashley was here to meet the Johdrows and me for the unveiling of the painting. Maryann and David arrived with their cute Parti Yorkies in tow, a fitting name and breed for this fun couple. The Jondrows' are vintners who own Johndrow Vineyards on Howell Mountain. I just love their tag line.  It reflects their personalities and it a great direct edict, “Find your happy place.” While Maryann and David were vacationing in Tahiti, I presented them with nine studies painted in oil at Johndrow Vineyards via annrea.com. They got to choose one study to serve as the basis for a larger scale reinterpretation on a canvas measuring 36”x48". I always offer my recommendations because most collectors get overwhelmed by the choices and obviously I have the best sense of what images will work best as a larger scale interpretation. Maryann and David chose “Above the Fog.” Their new 36”x48" canvas was too wet to veil under black velvet, as I usually do, so I revealed the painting this morning by simply opening my studio door. Maryann and David first words:  “Wow, it is beautiful!” Then they smiled and each gave me a warm hug. It was the best! This is one of the many reasons I am in love with what I do.  I love that something that I have created can evoke such a positive heartfelt response. Maryann and David didn’t leave without selecting another study for their second home, “Mood of Dusk.” Although “Mood of Dusk” is very painterly and loose, Maryann and David knew exactly where it was painted and they could walk right to that spot and show you where their grapes are grown. This is the connection, a sense of place, that I'm seeking for my collectors. The next step is to have the Jondrows' painting photographed, framed, and crated for shipment. And then the photograph of their large-scale painting will be featured on the cover of their hardbound storybook, “An Artist’s Diary of Johndrow Vineyards.”
Art Creates Illusions by Abstractions
AbstractPost There is something about the view of my wet paintings laying sideways as they dry on the racks in my San Francisco beach studio that just fascinates me. This oil painting of the Johndrow Vineyards on Howell Mountain, commissioned by the Montage Deer Valley Residences, looks quite abstract from this angle. And this view provides a point of entry, an understanding, of the relationship between representational and abstract art. The reality is, all art is an abstraction. Representational paintings are simply an illusion created by abstractions. They are not real but people relate to them like they are,  just like a movie can transport your reality. Paintings are just different shapes of colored paint stuck on canvas. As a painter, I find the non-representational aspects of visual representation equally compelling and lush as the representational aspect of painting. I love the mood and the qualities conveyed by simple shapes and forms.  They convey feeling although we don’t know what they are supposed to “be.” Now left brain folks have a harder time getting their heads wrapped around this concept.  Why?  Because they experience the world in terms of symbols. Symbols represent ideas and thoughts, not feelings.  If they understand the idea, then they can connect with the art on that level. But if the idea isn’t spelled out and it is more of a feeling, logical folks get lost. I’m guessing that Spock from Star Trek would never become a collector.  And it’s no surprise that precious few of my collectors are engineers and or accountants.
Johndrow Vineyards – Getting to then Give
[caption id="attachment_1496" align="alignnone" width="398" caption=" "Above the Fog", oil on canvas, Ann Rea ©"] "Above the Fog", oil on canvas, Ann Rea ©[/caption] So many of my art patrons, like the owners of Jondrow Vineyards, are successful self-made entrepreneurs.  And it always inspires me to learn how many of them are generous and charitable, not only with their money but with their time. Maryann and David Johndrow support Ally’s House through Jondrow Vineyards’ profits. The mission and purpose of Ally’s House is in helping Oklahoma kids and their families get through the difficult journey when a child is diagnosed with cancer. When I asked David why this particular charity appealed to him he said that it was because the families and children burdened with the trials of cancer were suffering by “no fault” of their own. When I reflect on this burden, that can happen by no fault of one's own, I can’t help but to feel fortunate and grateful for the relative ease of my daily life.  Then I'm inspired to soon be in a position where I too can give more. When my company’s advisory board questioned my current goal to gross over $1 million annually I replied, “Because I want to sail in a very sound financial lifeboat so that I can then throw out life savers to others.  I want to get there so that I can give.” As a first generation American I’m very aware of my parent’s sacrifice to leave England for a better economic future. They left behind their family and their culture. So this is also why I in part feel a privileged responsibility to manifest financial success. I'm also aware that my parents probably did not think that my choosing to attend art school was the best economic plan. In the meantime, I do what I can to give back with Giving Forward. Each quarter Ann Rea, Inc. sponsors a non-profit organization. They receive one-half of the sales proceeds of each "Giving Forward" print purchased at annrea.com. I formed this out of my particular interest in supporting organizations that help preserve the beauty and health of our natural environment or that promote the health and well being of women and children. Giving and receiving.  It's really what life is all about.
A Watched Pot does not Boil
johndrow03 As I impatiently wait for my oil painting studies of Johndrow Vineyards to dry I’m reminded of my British mother's common response, “A watched pot does not boil.” I like to layer the paint on thick. This is good because I get to sculpt the paint, to shape it as a dimensional form. But the down side is that because of my particular painting technique, my paintings can take a very long time to dry. Like wine, it’s done when it's done.  You can’t force it. I do not use toxic mixing mediums or drying agents.  My paintings are created with two essential ingredients: oil paint and linseed oil. This is the greenest approach to oil painting but it is the most expensive.  When a little itty-bitty tube of oil paint runs $50 a tube, many artists are understandably reluctant to use this uneconomical approach. My attitude? This approach feels right and my collectors are worth every penny. So here the studies sit in my San Francisco beach studio waiting for the thick textural sections of each Johndrow Vineyard painting to dry. Dry enough that I can cart them to my fine art photographer’s studio without causing him to grimace, “Are these paintings dry yet?” My photographer and I have history. He knows that I can be too anxious and bring him wet paintings, leaving behind permanent marks of oil paint in his pristine photography studio. Once these studies are photographed the Johndrows will choose a study that I will reinterpret on a 36” x 48” canvas. This is the fun part.  But the choices can also overwhelm my collectors. So I guide them and suggest the images that will do best scaled to a larger size and the ones that contain the most creative energy. The finished large-scale painting will resemble the study but it will be a more refined and evolved version of it. Then we’ll have to wait for that “pot to boil.”
Ann Rea - Creating comes from Love
blog I realized this past week that my creating comes from love, it is really grounded in an urge to express passion and to give. This past week there was a freak rainstorm in St. Helena. It came at a very timely moment while I was at a personal retreat at Hoffman Institute in White Sulfur Hot Springs in St. Helena. I knew that this unseasonable rain would have an effect on the Johndrow’s Vineyard, part of Cimarossa Vineyards, the series I’m working on currently. And I was right. The proprietor of Cimarossa Vineyards, Dr. Dino Dina, emailed me yesterday “The vineyards look totally lush right now, a sort of green jungle! Hope to see your work at some point.” Ciao, Dino It was close to 100 degrees yesterday.  I didn’t care. I had to see it. I wanted to explore this creatively for the Johndrows.  I arrived just in time for the golden hour, my favorite time of day, when the sun is starting to hide behind the mountain and extinguish the light of day. When I’m engaged creatively I don’t care how hot it is, how long it takes, or how much work it is, it’s just like love.  When there’s passion there is no obstacle, there’s no length to what you will do. Possibility and energy is endless. This is one of the many truths that I was reminded of at the Hoffman Institute this past week.  This process transformed my consciousness so the experience is sure to have an enormously positive and lasting effect on my work. When I look at my paintings it’s a bit like looking in the mirror.  I can see my moods.  When I’m uptight, clutching, thinking and not feeling, it shows up in my paint. When I’m relaxed and letting it flow, feeling, the paint mirrors this back to me. I pay close attention to this because I know that my mood will resonate with the viewer.  Art is emotive not literal, so I aim to create from an expression of love and light.
Mapping Johndrow Vineyards
Pavi Late Friday afternoon I headed to Johndrow Vineyards to map their blocks of vines. I parked my car on Main Street in St. Helena, California and climbed the stairs to the office of Wine Maker Robert Lawson’s Pavi Wines. Robert is the Wine Maker for Johndrow Vineyards. I was met by Wine Maker Julianna Beckman Gosling who wasn’t quite sure who I was or even why I was there.  I soon filled her in on an Experience of Art & Wine and she graciously led the way up the windy roads to Cimarossa Vineyards on Howell Mountain. We were met by a lovely Italian man in running shorts sitting in a red tracker, the proprietor of the vines, Dr. Dino Dina.  I thanked him for taking time out of his afternoon to show us the vineyard and to provide his experienced and personal insights into the terroir. We walked the length of the vineyard blocks that produce the fruit for Johndrow wines to Dr. Dino’s favorite shaded spot where he runs.  I snapped this photo as we were coming up to his favorite vista. As we tooled around in the his shiny red tractor I made notes on the vineyard map Julianna had supplied.  This is the only way I can orient myself to many acres of vines. Last week when I was touring Robert Modavi’s To Kalon vineyards with patron Tom Copham, he asked me an interesting question.  “How will we know that this painting is To Kalon Vineyard?” It’s a very good question and I’m glad he asked it.  My answer.  “Because it is. And I can take your hand, retrace my steps with you in the vineyard, position you in just the right spot, and with my painting beside you, you’ll see the vineyard through your eyes and my eyes.” Although I’m not a realistic painter and I’m clearly taking creative license, Wine Makers and or the Ranch Managers will look at one of my paintings from their vineyards and remark something like, “That’s block 6A!  The old Zinfandel vines.  I know where you were! “ They love it. So my short answer is that you’ll know it’s your vineyards because it was inspired by and in your vineyard and I have the map that will prove it. ;)
An Invitation for a Select Few
Johndrow Yesterday morning Ashley picked me up from the beach.  As we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge we schemed our surprise. We would be meeting David and Maryann Johndrow for a “business” lunch at their wine consultant’s office, Robert Lawson. I'd be introduced as Ashley’s “friend" and then she would present them with the cork box containing their exclusive invitation to an Experience of Art.  There are no more than twelve invitations extended each year. When we arrived they welcomed us and we sipped samples from the Johndrow Vineyards' Cabernet blending.  David enthusiastically discussed the characteristics of each vintage and Maryann cuddled their adorable puppies.  They had noooo clue. The Johndrows are a delightful couple, just as Ashley described them. I mentioned to Robert that I knew Dr. Harold Olmo, a famed viticulturist, and we chatted.  But eventually he asked, “What do you do?”  My coy reply.  “Oh, uhm.  I’m a business consultant.”  “What type of business?” “Ah.... business consulting for artists.”  At least it wasn’t a complete lie. Eventually Ashley presented David and Maryann with the cork box.  Maryann opened it and read the invitation inside aloud. “An invitation for a select few. You are invited to take an inspiring journey of art and wine. One that will return you to sources of pleasure that you may have forgotten and take you to places that you have never been before. Imagine. Joining Ann Rea, nationally-acclaimed San Francisco based artist, on a tour of  Johndrow Vineyards. Later the artist returns to capture the experience, the colors of the terroir, in oils on canvas. Just for you. With this custom creation you’ll transcend time and forever revisit inspired memories. A beautiful signed storyboard will chronicle and preserve your artful experience. And week-by-week you will witness the creative process by way of a dedicated online diary at annrea.com. Relaxed and welcoming, rather than impress you, Ann Rea would rather inspire you. Please accept this sincere gesture of appreciation from Chris and Ashley at OREI in appreciation for your support, encouragement, and sustained belief in the community we hope to create at Montage Deer Valley.” Ashley and I watched with delight as the pennies dropped in their heads. I reintroduced myself and gave them each a warm hug. It was such a fun surprise! I so love what I do.  And I can’t wait to create this Experience of Art for David and Maryann Johndrow.