September 13th, 2012
A few years ago I sat across from Bob Proctor, a personal development guru and host of the movie The Secret, the Law of Attraction.
As we sat enjoying dinner in his home with his family he suddenly changed the course of conversation and remarked, “Ann, you don’t want to sell paintings.”
“Bob, what are you talking about? Of course I do.”
I was flown to Toronto to paint Bob’s garden for his surprise 70th birthday present.
His lovely wife Linda picked me up from the airport. He was being fed hints about his surprise, so when we arrived Bob was sitting in his home office and he was actually watching me on the Fine Living Channel via You Tube.
I walked into his office and introduced myself by saying, “Happy Birthday Bob, my name is Ann Rea and I am here to paint your garden for your birthday!”
He was startled and delighted. “You are my surprise?”
“Kind of! Let’s go outside and look at your beautiful garden.” As we walked around and noticed the flowers and the trees as he shared his stories of this place so dear to him.
During the days that I was there sketching and painting outside, Bob was coaching Ellen DeGeneres and her production team to beat Oprah’s ratings. Which she did.
So I listened to Bob when he answered my question at dinner, “No, you don’t want to sell paintings. You want to offer the experience that you gave me. Do you know what it has been like to break bread with you, get to know you, have you get to know me and my family, stroll through my garden with you, see your charcoal sketches on my kitchen table, peek through the window and watch you paint?”
“Of all of the art I own, what do you think I will speak of the most? What art do you think will hold the most meaning, the most heart felt memory? It is this experience that you want to offer.”
Since Ellen was consulting with him, I obviously listened and eventually created an Experience of Art.
Now I’m proud to announce that I will be working with Peek, a new online travel discovery and booking platform that is dedicated to connecting their guests with a select group of businesses that provide unique and special experiences.
August 3rd, 2012
After a painful divorce, I fell into a serious episode of depression and chronic anxiety. As a result, I didn’t paint or draw for over seven years.
With urging from friends I found myself in a personal development seminar in San Francisco. Here, I met an author suffering from writer’s block. We could relate.
One week later, back home in Ohio, a good friend urged me to pick up my paintbrush again. She had encouraged me before, but I always resisted.
After graduating from a prestigious five-year fine art program I just couldn’t just embrace painting as a weekend hobby and I couldn’t conceive of how to make it work professionally.
My friend and I strolled into an art gallery on her local quaint town square. An amazing landscape painting stopped us. It was filled with atmospheric afternoon coastal light. My eyes welled with tears. I looked over at my friend and she was tearing up too.
We left and gathered ourselves on a park bench outside in the town square. I couldn’t ignore my heart-felt response to the painting. So I asked my friend to go to with me to the gardens near the art museum and to get the watercolor set she had stashed in her truck so I could paint.
Just after the very moment I decided to paint for the first time in over seven years, I glanced up. I was stunned. Only ten feet in front of me stood the very same writer, whom I had met at the seminar in San Francisco.
What were the random chances we’d meet again, just one week and 2000 miles later? I knew the meeting was anything but random. I felt like I had been struck by lightening.
We were both startled. I greeted him and asked, “Do you still have writer’s block? ”He told me, “Yes I do.” It was at that very moment that I had an instantaneous flash of understanding. As he walked away I realized that he was choosing not to write … just as I had chosen not to paint. It was a matter of choice … and I could change it.
More than seven years of inertia melted away and I began to paint again with a new resolve and pleasure. I painted “Opening” above. In many ways it was my first painting.
For the longest time I tacked this quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to the wall of of wherever I worked, “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
“Opening” is the first of a series of new Exclusive Edition Prints that collectors may acquire here.
July 6th, 2012
Last week one of my patrons arrived at my San Francisco beach studio with two close friends visiting from New Jersey.
She came to preview a series of oil paintings from her Experience of Art of the Russian River, which snakes along her beautiful Sonoma Valley ranch in Healdsburg, California.
The paint was barely dry on a dozen studies. I created them in and around the waters that have been reflecting her family’s memories over many years.
She was so excited. We took each piece outside so that she could examine the paintings under the sunlight.
Under the full sun she could see the layering of color and thick and generous textures of pigment.
Like so many of my patrons who commission an Experience of Art she struggled to decide which study would serve as the basis for the custom large-scale oil painting.
I encouraged her. “Go with your gut. Don’t think it, feel it.”
She had a dozen paintings on her “tasting menu” and ironically she chose the very first study I painted as the basis for her “main course.”
Why did I paint a dozen original oil studies?
- This study gives her a reasonable expectation of what her four-foot painting will look like.
- Because creatively everything exists in context.
- And there would be no way of knowing if this study should serve as the basis for her large canvas if I did not present her with all of my very best creative options.
The Russian River painting collection of studies will eventually find a home in other collector’s walls. And I’ll have clear creative direction.
This confidence will inspire the larger scale painting and the others studies will inform it.
June 11th, 2012
Parting with a painting can be bitter sweet.
But if I became too attached to my work it would be a torture.
So what I am attached to is my creative process, my artistic evolution. One painting informs the next.
I am actually anxious to place this painting in my patron’s hands. Mr. Neil has been patiently awaiting the final painting that I created from the series of their stunning Marin landscape overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the distant city.
The next step in the Neil’s Experience of Art will be to have their painting photographed and then to have a custom frame made that will suit the Neil’s décor.
I always offer to help with the framing because I have reliable resources and I know what frame will work best.
Generally I recommend very simple gallery frames so that the viewer is not focused on the frame but they are focused on the painting.
I’ve seen too many frames distract rather than compliment the art they hold.
After all of the investment of time and money, this decision should not be left to chance.
And who is in a better decision to make the call about the presentation of the painting than the artist who created the painting?
Once the piece is framed it will be unveiled. Mr. and Mrs. Neil will see the final piece for the first time and we can toast to their new acquisition and to their patronage.
Last, but not least, the Neil’s will receive a signed coffee table book with their Experience of Art that chronicles the entire creative process of painting their Marin landscape. And this will close the chapter on this series.
June 7th, 2012
Last month The Centered Leadership Institute asked me to speak to a distinguished group of international entrepreneurs at a leadership conference held in Napa at the Domaine Carneros Winery.
What leaders understand is that it’s not so much about what you do but why you do it.
I have a very keen understanding of why I do what I do. I was called to paint. Yet I resisted painting for a long time.
I tried for years to shoe horn myself into a conventional and practical course of life. As I stuffed my creative expression, I was exploding inside.
For over seven years I did not paint or draw a single thing. This repressed expression manifested in debilitating anxiety and chronic depression.
I was advised that it was not very likely I would ever recover. I refused to accept this diagnosis. In fact, it really pissed me off.
I can sum up my former experience of anxiety as a preoccupation with my future and depression a fixation on my past.
After an extraordinary encounter that reminded me of my calling to paint, I took up still life painting again as a last ditch effort to still my mind.
I chose light as an expression of color as a moving meditative artistic focus.
I used thought and breathing techniques I had learned in my Kundalini yoga practice to still my mind while I was painting. My painting began reflecting the stillness in me and it anchored my thoughts.
I had no intention of selling or even showing these oil paintings. Painting was simply my art therapy, a refuge from anxiety.
An architect, who really did not have a lot of money, began collecting my work.
She mentioned that when she retreated to her bedroom with migraine headaches she would stare at my painting.
“Why?” I asked. “Because this stills my mind, this makes me feel better.”
“Really?” Her experience was remarkable to me. I was inspired like never before. Her experience of my painting was all the validation that I needed to pursue my art.
So why do I paint? Why do I want to share my paintings? As an Artist it is to savor the colors of the moment and to share my experience of art.
And it is this why that fuels my determination as a CEO to employ Blue Ocean Strategies that will support Ann Rea, Inc. as a profitable creative enterprise.
You can read more about my Blue Ocean Strategy in an interview by Marc Acito – a regular commentator on NPR’s “All Things Considered”.
If your organization is also interested in booking a speaking engagement please contact us.
June 6th, 2012
Some months ago Vernon Bush, a San Francisco musician, approached me after my speaking engagement.
Vernon said, “You have a great voice, you would probably be a great singer.” I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding.”
I responded, “Vernon, I would rather swallow a chair than sing out loud in front of other people.”
He laughed and then questioned me. “But you just spoke in front of people? Singing is just speaking where you hold the notes longer.”
Just then he uncovered a serious disconnect. Clearly, I was in profound resistance to singing. My resistance was so strong that it held my attention.
I realized that I had never been to Karaoke, I only mouth the words to songs, and I don’t sing in the shower or in the car.
Yet my voice is my most immediate and constant form of expression.
I had a block. A BIG block. So what did I do? I signed up for private voice lessons with Vernon Bush of course.
Bring it! I’m not letting any creative blocks ever push me around again.
What Vernon has been reminding me of is that creativity is where I express my unique authentic voice.
When I access my unique voice, and I express the depth of my authentic emotion, I am in high creative gear.
When I express my unique voice, regardless of the medium, I have the opportunity to connect with others.
How does art connect? When the emotional vibrations of art resonate with someone else’s, it ignites the sparks of inspiration.
We don’t see art, we don’t hear music, we don’t read poetry, we feel it.
I’m still a reluctant vocalist. But I am pushing through this resistance to express my vulnerable voice. With a kind and supportive teacher, it is well worth the push.
By expressing my authentic voice through another channel of communication I’m gaining direct and deeper access to my emotions, my artistic fuel.
Singing is primal. Sound vibrates through my body and the truth of my individual expression is freeing and joyful.
“Whatever you hear from the water, remember, it wants to carry the sound of its truth on your lips…” David Whyte
April 30th, 2012
San Francisco based Artist & CEO
“When bankers get together for dinner they talk about art. When artists get together for dinner they talk about money.” Oscar Wilde
This is the truth indeed. And this is exactly what my company’s advisory board does four times a year.
The ultimate goal is to create financial freedom. Why? To yield the necessary ingredient for ultimate creative freedom: time.
I surround myself with those who know more than I do. Although I’m always recruiting, I’m not accepting all applicants.
I have an impressive group of folks I am grateful to call my friends and whose experience and expertise I respect.
I may not accept every word of advice they offer, but I do listen keenly if they are all telling me the same thing.
Their support and feedback is encouraging and enlightening. They offer me perspective that I simply cannot posses by working in complete isolation.
My Advisory Board members have each generously volunteered their time and efforts in exchange for, you guessed it, dinner and wine.
As you might imagine, the business of art is very tough. Therefore, my ambition to take a non-traditional approach to my art business is very resolute.
I am proud to announce that Deb Connor of the Deb Connor Group, a Public Relations and Communications firm, has joined the Ann Rea, Inc. Advisory Board. Deb is dear friend and she brings years of expertise and success forming strategic partnerships and securing corporate sponsorships with luxury brands.
She is also a creative problem solver by nature and the ultimate connector creating strategic advantages for all who she involves.
Deb has already started the ball rolling. So stay tuned for new and exciting ways that I’ll be bringing people an Experience of Art and Art & Wine Pairings.
April 26th, 2012
The contemporary landscape oil painting of Marin, California, that I have spent hours creating must be destroyed. Sometimes I have to just let go.
Yes. Even after I have labored over a large expensive canvas, used up valuable oil paint, and I’ve lived with the painting for a while, so that I can gain editorial distance, I just have to surrender it to Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.
Why? Because it’s not good enough!
People think I’m nuts. They ask me to give them my unsigned throwaways but that’s like asking me to print my bad rough drafts. It is just not going to happen.
How could I do this? Because it is never lost on me that my patrons of an Experience of Art have made a significant investment, they have an emotional attachment to the oil painting, and they will probably live with it for the rest of their lives.
So I need to bring it. I am honor bound to do my best. It’s better to wait, invest more energy and time, and get it right.
The good news is that the bad paintings are a path to the good paintings.
Mr. Neil is giving an Experience of Art as a gift to his lovely wife.
So I have purchased a brand new 36″ x 48″ canvas, and more oil paint and supplies. I finished the charcoal sketch late last night and today I will complete the under painting where I establish the values, light and dark of the composition.
What I present to him will be the best I can do and I can never allow it to be too precious.
Since I want them to feel it, I have to feel it. And if I don’t, it just has to go.
April 10th, 2012
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.
April 9th, 2012
I’m in LOVE. I’m in love with color. If you have not already noticed, hence my tag line, Savor the Colors of the Moment.
This solid 7” glass ball sits on the center of my round dining room table.
As the sun sets over the Pacific, in the late afternoon, light streams in through my window.
As the sun lowers over the ocean, each ball of air within this solid glass orb bends the light and reflects it by spraying rainbows of color.
When I saw this glass orb I was just smitten.
Then my practical budget minded self said to the sales clerk, “Do I really need this?” He said, “Noooo, but I have one.” I smiled and said, “I’ll take it!”
Acquiring this unnecessary but necessary object of my desire is just like buying art and much like love.
“Do I really need this?” “No, but I have one.” Why? Because we LOVE it, and it gives us joy every day.
That is the reason to acquire art: because you LOVE it, it makes you feel good.
Because art gives you delight or because it will give someone you LOVE delight when you give art to them.
DeLIGHT. That’s the winged fluttery feeling we experience when we behold objects of beauty and desire.
“Do I really need this?” ” I don’t know, do you?” I think you do.