Artist Ann Rea
Why don’t you Paint Luxury Sport Cars?
[caption id="attachment_751" align="alignleft" width="550" caption="San Francisco based Artist & CEO"]San Francisco based Artist & CEO[/caption] A luxury-marketing consultant recently asked, “Why don’t you paint luxury sports cars? It’s the same darn thing as a vineyard!?” "Are you kidding?" I laughed.  But, he wasn't. I’m not sure how a vineyard and a car are related in this gentleman’s mind.  But he insisted that they are the “same thing” and that his recommendation would give me the opportunity to appeal to a luxury market with a predisposition for collecting. It may be the same thing for a commercial illustrator, but from an artistic point of view, it’s just not. He was on the right track.  It’s no secret that I’m targeting prospects with well above average discretionary income and collecting personalities, but I’m not a commercial illustrator.  I’m an artist.  And as an artist, I have to pursue subjects that I feel passionate about and that resonate with me, or, I can assure you, they won’t resonate with collectors.  I also don't want to confuse my market with an unrelated direction.  It's best for businesses, and artists,  to first firmly establish a niche before they venture too far a field. I receive a similar “suggestion” about painting golf courses.  I mean no disrespect to car or golf enthusiasts, but neither fancy sports cars nor are golf courses are of any interest to me.  And I'm quite clear on my art direction, thank you. I once lunched with Stephanie Gallo, and she asked me  “Why do your paintings have so much feeling and depth compared to the artists that we have worked with?  Their work doesn’t even compare.”  My answer, “Because you’re not telling me what to do.  I’m expressing my emotions.  I can’t possibly do that if I’m thinking about satisfying your expectations.” I’m not sure if she liked, or really understood, my answer but my response is the simple truth. In the words of Tim Mondavi, art, just like wine, “has to come from the heart.”
Continuum Continues
[caption id="attachment_507" align="alignleft" width="490" caption=""Sundown Vines December" Ann Rea"]Ann Rea[/caption] My latest series of Tim Mondavi’s Continuum vineyard has just been uploaded to, where you can see the collection now. My Naples, Florida patrons, who sponsored this series, have just acquired three of the field studies in addition to their commissioned custom large-scale painting. I’ve chosen “Sundown Vines December" as the basis for their canvas.  I'll develop this image on a larger scale refining the color and composition. I’m clearing the decks today so that I can devote my undivided attention to creating the final canvas.  I can’t wait to dive into the color and movement of this piece. I was so heartened to receive Sandi’s response to working with me that I asked if I could share her message.  She agreed, “We are so happy.  You are the first artist with whom we have personally worked.  Although we knew Robert Rauschenberg and know some other contemporary artists, we have only collected prior works of art.  This has been special in many ways.”- Sandi Moran Beyond the vineyards, the clear California light, and the interesting winemakers that I get to walk the land with, this kind of response from my collectors is what moves me.  I have met the most enthusiastic, appreciative, and delightful collectors over the years.  The finished product is not for me. It’s for them.  It just provides me with a vehicle to live my life’s passion and take this creative journey. I’m grateful to them. Next I’ll be starting a series of the Russian River for collectors whose Healdsburg ranch runs along the Russian River.  From the top of Prichard Hill in Napa to the Sonoma Valley, inspired color is everywhere.  And I can’t wait to paint it.
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.
"Take thy to a Nunnery”*
looking over the Napa Valley floor

"Take thy to a nunnery”*

As I stood on top of Continuum’s vineyards with Tim Mondavi he pointed out the landmarks below in the Napa Valley floor.  One white landmark he pointed out was the Carmelite monastery.

I knew that I would need a place to stay to focus and to complete the series.  Tim’s staff provided a list of places to stay locally, mostly lovely Napa resorts.  Although they all sounded inviting I wasn’t so sure that these tourist destinations would provide the silent space that I wanted to enter into to create.

Curious about the monastery, I decided to investigate on the Internet.  I found that this former stately private mansion was the first Carmelite monastery in Northern California designated as a house of prayer and a retreat center.

I phoned their office and I spoke to Helga.  Helga with an Irish accent.  She explained that I could come and stay in the hermitage, a little cottage, for a self-directed retreat. It included dinner.

Yesterday, during the first rain of the year I took a trip to see the place.  I arrived and smiling Helga was seated in the gift shop.  She explained that she has a bad knee and she couldn’t make the trip down the stairs to the hermitage so she called Father Gerald.

Father Gerald was kind enough to schlep through the rain with me.  I asked him what brought him here and he said God, of course.  And it was the place where candidates for the Carmelite Order received their initial formation.  He referred to it as “boot camp”.

Now I’m waiting for the clouds to part and checking the weather so that I can schedule my self directed retreat.  There’ll be no TV, no computer, no distractions. I’ll dine with the friars in the evening and paint in silence during the day.

*Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The Best Art and Wine, are Created - from the Heart
[caption id="attachment_37" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Tim and Chiara Mondovi at Continuum Estate vineyards"]Tim and Chiara Mondovi[/caption] This past Monday afternoon I wound slowly over the mountain from Kenwood to St. Helena, California.  Then I finally arrived at the Silverado Trail but missed the right towards Sage Canyon Road.  The beginning of a private commission that I am so looking forward to creating for Mr. and Mrs. Moran, friends of Tim Mondavi. I called Tim Mondavi and he graciously acted as my personal phone guided GPS.  I lost phone reception but made my way to the Lake Hennessey boat ramp where he met me with a warm and enthusiastic smile. From there, we began my welcome tour of his Continuum Estate vineyards. We went to the house where I was greeted by his daughters, Carrisa and Chiara Mondovi.  Chiara showed me her huge golden painting of an ancient vine that is the central image on the Continuum Estate wine label. Tim, Chiara, and I piled into the car and drove through the vineyard.  It was stunning.  As we drove along I took in the vistas and sketched paintings in my mind.  I kept asking them to stop so that I could get a closer look, to spend a moment at their favorite spots. As I looked around, I listened as Tim described the history of his land and its relationship to his family’s history, to their destiny. I shared my journey of becoming a painter and my exploration of color inspired by moments in Wine Country. It was clear that Tim has a sense of purpose and passion for this place that I can relate to as a painter. Tim asked what I would be painting.  “Just what I feel like painting, I’ll select subjects and times of day that I respond to.  I’ll feel it then I’ll know it.” Following your passion, your own inclinations, Tim agreed is the only way to really create.  It's personal, heartfelt.  It can't be directed by another, maybe inspired, but not directed. That’s how the best art, and the best wine, are created - from the heart.