Thursday, January 31, 2013

Birthday Bouquet, and a Nice Surprise

My birthday was two days ago, on the 29th. I thought it was going to be a very average Tuesday, but it wasn't that way at all!

First of all, my lovely younger sister, Cara, sent me a bouquet of flowers. Since I had most of the afternoon free, I decided to enjoy them the best way I know how: BY PAINTING THEM!

Here is the start: since flowers are so complicated, and move their little heads and leaves almost as much as the light changes during a plein air painting... I decided to start with one bloom and move to the next, one at a time. I have gotten to a point where I am very comfortable painting portraits and flesh tones, but since I don't paint a lot of flowers, this was quite challenging for me.

After about two hours, I was exhausted, but blissfully happy. Here is the painting at the stopping point. It is no where near finished; I plan on working on it some more today.

The big birthday surprise came later in the evening, when my hubby took me out to dinner and then took a detour... to Guitar Center. He let me pick out a digital piano! Now, for those of you who may not know this... music has been a huge part of my life ever since I started taking piano lessons at 8 years old. I minored in music in college, and played classical piano all the way up until graduating. At that point, though, I was forced to quit playing regularly - not because I was committed to being a full-time artist (which was true...), but simply because I didn't have a piano of my own. Five years later, I am finally going to get back into it! I am SOOOOO excited to pull out the Chopin, Haydn, Rachmaninoff, and Debussy again. Thank you, Steve! :-) :-)


Friday, January 25, 2013

Heart of Contentment

Yesterday temperatures reached almost 80 degrees in the Dallas area, and as soon as I could, I grabbed my plein air supplies and dashed out to the nearby nature preserve to get some sun (and maybe do a painting!).

I realized, for that blissful hour and a half, that that was the first time in weeks and weeks that I felt peaceful and fully content (and I didn't even care whether or not my painting turned out!). Maybe I've been suffering from cabin fever... I don't know. But at the end of my little painting session, I wondered how I might carry that feeling of creative contentment back into my studio, and maintain it every day, no matter the circumstances. I've been feeling so unsettled lately, restless. Could it be that I just needed some fresh air?? It's probably more than that.

In my sister's apartment, she has a sheet of paper taped to her bathroom mirror that lists "The Three Cs of Contentment." They say, "Don't compete, don't compare, don't complain." I am not particularly competitive, but I will confess that I often find myself inadvertently comparing myself to other artists, especially when I spend too much time on Facebook (for more on this, see my FASO article from last summer). This is wrong. I have been given this life, these talents, and this set of circumstances, to glorify God in a way that is unique from anyone else. If I can simply remember that I paint for the joy of creating - that God smiles down when He sees His children happily using the gifts He has given them - everything else should fade away and no longer matter.

Since I'm confessing things in this post... I came across this the other day and it's blatant accuracy made me laugh out loud. I'm especially bad about those last two (just ask my husband!). Well, I guess there's always room for improvement. :-)

by Lauren Purje


Sunday, January 6, 2013

First painting of 2013: "Lullaby"

This brand new painting, "Lullaby," is the second in a set of portraits that have been in the works for several months. I am posting them both today.

"Lullaby" - 21.75 x 16" - oil on linen

Both portraits feature my dear friend Laura, and her one-month-old son, Simon. "Nurturer" (see below) also includes Laura's 2-year-old daughter, Elise. I was incredibly honored to spend three days with this beautiful family, humbly documenting with canvas and brush the biological wonder of breastfeeding. There were times when I was moved to tears as I watched this young mother -- who had struggled during her pregnancy -- sing and murmer to her little boy. I wanted to capture that incredible intimacy and love shared between mother and son. I was also awed by the love and caring that Laura's two girls had for their little brother. I don't know if my work could ever be called "poetic," but I think the subject matter here certainly is. Laura had art modelled many times in college, both for me and for her husband, who is also an artist. There is just something about her that whispers, "muse," and so, here she is -- more beautiful and glowing than ever.

"Nurturer" - 24x30" - oil on linen

Both paintings were completed in the studio, but I found that I relied heavily on the color studies I painted from life. The studies were invaluable in that they helped me remember the lighting, the colors, and what I was feeling at the time that I painted them.

(Above) The model, with my color study for "Nurturer", painted from life

Here is another color study (8x6") from my weekend with Laura and her family. 

I am sad that this project is finished! I'll just have to rope my friend into modelling me again for something else... :-)

By the way, if you wish to see the progression of "Nurturer" from start to finish, click here to view a slideshow.


To Many More Years of Painting Your Joy...

Wow, hello 2013.

Five years ago, "Artwork by Anna Rose" was just a fledgling business. I would sit in my big empty studio with my head full of hopes and dreams, wondering what the future would bring. Being new to Dallas, I would venture shyly into galleries, and tell people I was an aspiring artist, but only if they asked. I would sit around and wait for phone calls or emails, and rejoice whenever I got a lead, no matter how unlikely it was that a job would come of it. Now, I'm extremely pleased to answer when someone asks me, "What do you do?" I'm an ARTIST. And I'm proud of it. And I do okay at it, but I work a lot harder now than I did when I first got started. What an amazing journey it has been! I shouldn't be surprised that my growth and maturity as a person has coincided with my growth as an artist. Like a pictorial diary, my paintings show every struggle and every little victory from this journey, and the studio is no longer empty, but filled to the brim with "journal entries" from my creative life.

Inevitably, the New Year always sets my mind spinning with grandiose thoughts of potential new paintings, and I dream even bigger than I did the year before. But dreams are just dreams, unless you are willing to actually make them a reality. That is my plan for 2013: make those dreams come to life, which means putting in the work, the hours, and the miles of canvas! I will continue to paint the things I love, painting my joy, and striving always to glorify God in my work. I hope to give each painting more feeling, more sensitivity, and more masterful brushwork than ever before. This is going to be a great year. Happy 2013, everyone. And if you are an artist also, happy painting! :-)
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