March 19th, 2012
Creative collaborations are so very powerful. They are adding to the Experience of Art that I’m currently creating for Mr. and Mrs. Neil of their contemporary Marin landscape painting.
Thankfully I realize that I have some amazing and diverse creative talent in my circle.
Todd Hedgpeth, a graphic designer, Leslie Harrington, an art director and book designer, and Dalan McNabola, a filmmaker.
Being the ever industrious artist that I am, I decided to put them all to work in various creative collaborations.
I first met my graphic designer Todd Hedgpeth at a business networking breakfast.
Not only is Todd the principal of his own San Francisco based graphic design firm, TAWD Design, he is an instructor at the San Francisco Art Academy.
Todd is as passionate and as particular about design as I am about painting. I also majored in design so I’m a tough customer but I knew that he was the man for the job of creating my graphic identity.
Leslie Harrington is an art director at a publishing house in London. She is a dear friend and she is a sensitive and insightful book designer.
Leslie’s years of experience now benefit my patrons of an Experience of Art who get to hold a beautiful hard bound Creative Diary in their hands.
And now guests of my Art & Wine Pairings also receive a beautifully appointed wine tasting journal as a lovely lasting memento.
Filmmaker Dalan McNabola has edited three films featured at the Sundance Film Festival.
Dalan directed, filmed, and edited the short film on an Experience of Art and now we are collaborating on an interactive film on Art & Wine Pairings, so stay tuned.
These creative collaborations are so inspiring. I just love connecting with other talents and gaining their viewpoints, experience, and energy. It makes for some serious creative mojo.
March 14th, 2012
The other night I stood gazing at the full moon over the San Francisco Bay, on top of the Marin, California hills, with Mr. and Mrs. Neil with a beautiful glass of California red in our hands. We toasted to their new art collection.
Mr. Neil booked an Experience of Art of their homestead perched on top of the Marin, California hills to as a gift to Mrs. Neil to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
What a treat to be part of this kind of celebration. They are a great couple.
Mr. and Mrs. Neil had just acquired four oil painting studies and chosen the one that would serve as the basis for their large-scale custom piece.
As we gazed at the moon, I suggested that they could look at the moon in such a way so that they would never look at it the same way. I could change their view, shift their perception.
“Do you see the bunny rabbit on the moon? I said. “It’s sitting in profile, ears at the top, and the paws to the left.”
“Yes, I see it!” they delightfully replied.
A permanent shift in perspective, a new way of seeing, this is what I ultimately hope to create as an artist.
Each oil painting study offers the Neils a new way of experiencing a landscape that they are intimately familiar with.
That’s the power of art. Our purpose as artists is the to shift the perception, the feelings, of the viewer, of the listener, the reader.
That I can forever, or at least for a moment, shift the perception of the viewer, this is my rewarding purpose as an artist.
March 12th, 2012
"Home" Ann Rea ©, 16" x 20", oil on canvas, private collection of Kelly and Shirly Neil
Today I’m off to present the Neil Homestead collection to Mr. and Mrs. Neil, an Experience of Art to celebrate their wedding anniversary.
They live just over the Golden Gate Bridge in the rolling hills of Marin, California, a few miles away from The Presidio.
I’m bringing them 15 oil painting studies. Each painting is precious inventory and it first must be photographed, uploaded to annrea.com, labeled, registered with the Library of Congress, and carefully packed for the trek over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Typically my patrons live in distant cities so they preview the collections of oil painting studies on annrea.com. But the Neils are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
I wanted them to see the works in the context of where they may be living, on the walls of the beautiful custom home that Mr. Neil designed.
I know it will also help the Neils decide which oil painting study will best serve as the basis for the large custom interpretation that will be sized to fit perfectly over their stone mantel place.
So much of my time is spent alone in my studio so I look forward to the times when I finally get to share my efforts with my patrons and witness their responses. It’s the best.
Unlike a working relationship with an art gallery or representative, I actually get to know my collectors.
Making these connections, having personal relationships with my collectors, this is the most rewarding part of being an artist.
February 16th, 2012
"Lush Path" Ann Rea, 16" x 20", oil on canvas
When I create an Experience of Art for patrons at one point in the process they get to preview several oil painting studies that I created in oil, in and of the landscape of their choosing.
In this case, it is my patron’s homestead located in the rolling hills of Marin, California. There are several very different beautiful vistas, including many of San Francisco in the distance and the mountains to the West. There is so much inspiration to choose from.
Yesterday I spoke to my patron Kelly who commissioned this an Experience of Art for his lovely wife Shirley to celebrate their seventh year wedding anniversary.
I uploaded the studies to annrea.com for them to preview. “What do you think?” I always hold my breath a bit waiting for the answer. Kelly’s reply. “The paintings are awesome!” I just love it when they love it.
Now the next step is for Kelly and Shirley to choose one study to serve as the basis for a large-scale custom sized painting that will hang over their fireplace mantel.
With twelve studies to choose from this can be a bit overwhelming, even with my guidance and recommendations.
Kelly asked if I could somehow take one element from one painting study, the distant San Francisco skyline, and integrate it into another painting that has a view eclipsing the San Francisco skyline.
While I’d love to say yes, the composition of the painting would just not work because the study itself serves as the foundational framework for a larger interpretation. It’s the blueprint.
It’s a bit like being at a great new restaurant and you are eager to try everything but you must choose one meal. Two meals will not mix well on one plate. So most often patrons will also acquire several of the studies as appetizers.
I can appreciate, and I think it’s great, that my patron is excited to have several of the elements of his homestead represented but this would be an abstraction and I am actually a representational painter. That means that I represent reality, not necessarily in a literal or exacting way but in its real vistas in nature inspire my canvases.
So it will be very interesting to see which study the Neil’s decide upon and they’ll have first dibs on all of the appetizers.
January 14th, 2012
When I was in art school I felt like a less than capable writer. I determined that I needed to gain more mastery over my writing skills and I enrolled in a creative writing class for extra credit.
But I struggled. Most of that struggle was rooted by my British mother’s constant insistence that Americans cannot speak or write correctly. She overlooked that she was actually speaking to an American.
My state of mind was further hampered when I confessed my struggle to my writing professor. Her stinging response, “Ann, you are so smart. I just don’t understand why you can’t write.” I thought. “What? Why do you think I’m enrolled in your damn class? Help me woman. Maybe you can’t teach!” But I respectfully took the blow and said nothing.
Two months ago I sat with a fellow passenger on the plane returning from a press event for the new Montage Residences in Manhattan. We passed the time by making small talk and thumbing through my first bound edition of an Artist’s Diary of Deer Valley, Utah.
Later a woman from across the aisle asked if she could see my book. Of course I offered it to her and she returned it about an hour later with her business card. She was the Chair of the American Literature department at Claremont Graduate University.
She asked if she could interview me for a journal that she has been editing for the past 20 years that profiles individuals’ creative processes. Her response, “I have never met a visual artist so capable of articulating their creative process. And your work is stunning.”
Suddenly my injured confidence was fully healed. I had not realized that this inner struggle had not yet completely been resolved. How many years had I let other’s remarks choke my confidence?
I’ll let people tell me I can but I’ll never let them tell me I can’t.
- I can continue to grow my artistic enterprise and meet my goals.
- I can balance my solitary enterprise of painting with social and emotional connection to others.
- I can create an Experience of Art for my patrons in Marin, CA will be better than the last one.
I can and I will.
January 5th, 2012
The common romantic perception of my life as an artist is that I must spend about:
- 80% of my time painting leisurely in a lovely landscape, breathing in the fresh air, sunning myself with a glass of wine in one hand and paint brush in the other hand
- Then I spend 15% of my time going to parties and receptions where my work is applauded and admired and sold, every time
- and then I spend the remaining 5% of my time involved in naughty exploits that us artists are oh so famous for
Well… maybe I shouldn’t kill the myth. It’s so sexy and intriguing. The fact is that I too often experience the push and pull of my creative muse, an internal battle with my own motivation and inspiration.
It’s not uncommon for artists to struggle with their own desire to create. There are so many distractions and higher concerns that tug at one’s attention. Bills must be paid, leads followed up on for future business, previous projects completed. Painting can get pushed aside. Yet it’s at the core of everything I’m about.
The buzz killing reality is that I spend about 10% maybe 12% of my time actually painting. The rest of my time and energy is devoted to running a challenging business and devising ways to grow this unusual enterprise.
Even though I haven’t performed the bean counting exercise of logging my actual creative time, my sense is that creative time is increasing. That’s the good news; my muse will continue to have more physical and psychic space to do her thing and to complete the series that I’m creating just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin.
December 28th, 2011
San Francisco based Artist & CEO
The problem with being a painter, for me anyway, is that like a writer, it’s too often a solitary existence.
And I am a social being. I actually like to be around people. Well, some people. I don’t fit the stereotype of the sulking or reclusive creative. God help me I never want to.
Thankfully my creative process only requires two to three hours in front of an easel during a single stint. After that. I’m done and I need to move on. So I paint quickly and deliberately in a focused effort that can keep pace with my attention span.
My experience of isolation hit home recently when a women at a holiday party remarked about the feelings she sensed in my paintings when she was reading through my new book, An Artist’s Diary of Deer Valley, Utah.
She remarked that there was a sense of inner peace but also a feeling of isolation. Talk about someone reading you like a book! Ugh! It’s true.
Most of the time I really enjoy my solitary creative focus, but too much time alone is not just not good.
And I now fully realize that after five years I’ve just had way too much time alone. Like any mammal we humans need contact with other humans. We all long for, I long for, and need connection.
So I’ve resolved to create more social contact in 2012.
And one thing that I’ll also be doing is more deliberately marketing my Art & Wine Pairings concept. This is an intimate social and educational gathering of high net worth folks to learn about, and to experience, art and wine. And its a fresh excuse to gather people around.
This marketing strategy doesn’t just exist to reach my company’s revenue objectives, it exists because I need to get out and about and connect with people in a real and intimate way.
And is it really art if it isn’t shared?
December 20th, 2011
The number of varying and inspiring landscapes in Northern California was one of the big draws that brought me here over two decades ago from Ohio.
This Marin, California landscape series of oil paintings is the beginning of an Experience of Art that Kelly Neil commissioned for his wife Shirlee as her seventh year anniversary gift.
Kelly and Shirlee live in a beautiful home that Kelly built atop the rolling hills of Marin with stunning distant views of San Francisco bay.
Kelly is an engineer by training and a successful investor. Like me, he’s a transplant, as he grew up in the Midwest.
Kelly married in his late forties. He said that when he met Shirlee he just knew that “it was right.” His story gives me hope and it makes me mindful of the celebratory meaning behind this gift.
Right now I’m sketching a number of different perspectives that surround the Neil’s home.
Kelly was anxious to give me information and maps that define his property. Although I do appreciate his desire to help, art is not born of the facts.
I have to feel into each series of paintings. Just like the words of a song might refer to some of the facts involved in a relationship, that’s not where the music comes from. The music is born of the musician’s heart felt perspective.
This Experience of Art will also be born of my heart-felt perspective, my creative exploration. I never know what the final large-scale painting will look like.
It is this artistic journey that is part of the joy and the inevitable frustration of the creative process.
At this point I’m photographing and sketching to start to get a sense of how this place, and how the Neil’s story, make me feel, this feeling will influence the series. I’ve just completed the eleventh sketch for the oil painting studies.
December 18th, 2011
When Philip Gorrivan introduced me he noted that “Dreamy Aspens” has been making the rounds from the mountains to coast to coast.
“Dreamy Aspens” was painted at my Pacific Beach studio in San Francisco, then it was photographed, framed and crated and shipped to its new home at the Montage Deer Valley, then in October it was shipped to Manhattan where I unveiled it to the East Coast press, then unveiled to the West Coast press in Beverly Hills last month.
Phillip quipped, “Next is going to my place in New York City.”
I was so relieved that Phillip loved it. Because “Dreamy Aspens” is the focal point of the beautiful model Montage Deer Valley residence that he designed. It was the Montage that chose the study used as the basis for “Dreamy Aspens”.
Phillip had no input or preview of what it would look like. Thankfully it all worked out and his design and color palette work hand in hand.
This project itself has been dreamy. It’s a convergence of the best of design, architecture, luxury real estate development, and marketing.
Susan Feldmen co-founded One King’s Lane with Alison Pincus. One King’s Lane will be featuring a “Get the Look Sale” in January where you can get the furniture and accessories that are part of Phillip Gorravin’s design.
And you can collect the reproductions of three pieces from my Deer Valley series:
and of course “Dreamy Aspens”
The entire series is featured in my book, An Artist’s Diary of Deer Valley, Utah.
December 12th, 2011
A few weeks back, while editing the storybook of my To Kalon Vineyard painting series, I received an email from my patron Cheryl Compham.
She was sweet enough to send me a photo of “Tearing Vines.” It was resting in its place on her and Dave’s yacht, aptly named “To Kalon.” I was thankful to see it well-lit in a beautiful spot in the wine alcove.
Beside “Tearing Vines” I could see the back of their other framed oil painting study “Alluvial Essence” and the note cards that I gave to each guest who attended the 2011 To Kalon Gala, sitting on the table.
The To Kalon Gala presented a very special evening. Along with the other black tie guests, Robert Mondavi’s staff made me feel a very welcome guest.
So much work and planning goes into these lavish and lovely affairs yet you would never even know it.
Behind the scenes there are countless meetings, emails, and spreadsheets tracking each timed move, every step, and each resource. It works well. Everything goes off without a hitch.
Robert Mondavi provided each To Kalon Gala guest with an Exclusive Edition print of his or her choice from my To Kalon vineyard painting series.
As we prepared these gifts at my Pacific Beach studio I thought of Robert Mondavi’s staff and I wondered how much they are thanked and how I could thank them.
So I asked each of Robert Mondavi’s host staff to select their favorite piece from my To Kalon Vineyard painting series and I sent them each an Exclusive Edition print as a token of my appreciation.
We can’t be thankful enough for our health, our relationships, or the privilege to celebrate in such lovely and grand fashion as we did the evening of the 2011 To Kalon Gala.