Monthly Archives: October 2018

Artist Spotlight: Sally Veach

Oct 20, 18

We are so excited to be representing Sally Veach, a new artist to Anne Neilson Fine Art Gallery! She is a fellow mountain dweller from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and has truly been a joy to get to know.

She’s a passionate, innovative artist who expresses herself, her thoughts, ideas and inspirations not only in her words written here, but also in her expressionistic paintings. Her work is especially meaningful as her Barns of Shenandoah series depicts “the tragedy of historic barns and the fact that they are slowly returning to nature”.

The preservation that occurs by making these paintings is the essence of the artists surroundings; the beauty, color and energy that occurs within nature. Her depictions thrill the viewer with the way air and earth come together to move nature, and also allow it to reclaim. Barns come from trees that belong to the soil, and in turn barns rest upon that soil, that ultimately takes back what is theirs.

Read on to learn more about Sally Veach: as an artist, her likes and her life!

 

Hometown: Chatham, NJ

Currently Living: Woodstock, VA

 

 

When did you start your career in art?

Phase one of my art career started as a teenager when I began to complete commissions, earned a BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University, and continued in the graphic arts for a few years after graduation.  Phase two began about five years ago, when I reconnected with my artist identity and started my current, fine art practice in painting.

How long have you known you wanted to be an artist? 

I knew I “was” an artist from about age 11.  There was no question in my mind about “wanting to be”!  About five years ago, I then made a decision that I “wanted to be” an artist!  Sometimes it’s a strange, topsy-turvy world.

Describe your aesthetic in three words:

Gestural, Expressive, Colorism

Describe your artistic process and preparation.

My artistic process begins with the intense observation of, and inspiration from the natural landscape surrounding my home in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The amazing of colors, energy, and atmospheric perspective of our natural world get quickly recorded with my cell phone camera. There are thousands of photos available to rekindle my memories.  I don’t refer to the photos for reference but use them to jog my memory of what was interesting about the scenes. This almost always has to do with color.  So, when I begin a painting, the colors and a basic idea of compositional design serve as the beginning structure.  From there the work takes a course of its own, and I enter a spontaneous period of adding and subtracting elements until I can see a pathway developing.  I’ll continue down that path until there are no more unresolved aspects of the composition, and the painting communicates what I am trying to express.

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

My favorite piece currently is “Solstice 2”.  I love this painting because it most successfully communicates the colors, gestural expression, and style of working that I am anxious to continue exploring. I feel it is the most “me”!

Currently available at ANFA Gallery.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

I am inspired and influenced by the work of Eric Aho, a contemporary, abstract landscape painter from Vermont.  I also love the work of Cy Twombly.  I believe it is the gestural, fresh expression inherent in Twombly’s work that is so intriguing to me. He also practiced right down the valley from me in Lexington, VA.  Personally, I am inspired by my mother who is just now retiring from professional life at the age of 92.  At my age of 56, I hope I have that many more years to grow and develop as an artist!

Headwaters by Eric Aho.

What challenges do you think exist in the world of fine art?

There is a conflict between the personal expression of an artist and the business of selling the work.

How do you approach/overcome them?

I resolve that conflict by recognizing that the final step in art is communicating with the world by sharing your work with others.  For patrons, the act of collecting art is a wonderful, built-in step that completes the process of being an artist.  But the first order of business is producing pure, authentic work.  The two realms have a symbiotic relationship, but I am careful to focus on exploring my personal interests and inspirations first. If an artist does not keep this priority, then the work becomes contrived and shallow, and by default less compelling to the collector.

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)?

Professionally, my biggest accomplishment is being offered an eight month show at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia, which is tentatively planned for 2019.  This show will feature my series, Barns of Shenandoah,and is about the endangered, historic barns of Shenandoah County, VA. I have partnered with our local historical society and we are forming a group focused on raising awareness of and preserving the historic barns of Shenandoah County, VA.  I love that I have found a great way to contribute to my community through donating a portion of all barn-related paintings to the historical society.

Ironically, my art practice is probably also my biggest, personal accomplishment.  It was difficult to “face the demons” when reconnecting to the identity of an artist, and to believe that I was worthy to attempt a career in art took a lot of positive self-talk.  It goes to show, dream big and persist!

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

I love to paint in my studio, which is in a room above the garage in our home.  It has become a refuge, a place belonging just to me.  It is often messy but I know where everything is!

A random fact about you:

I’m kind of a contradiction. I love to play golf but sing opera.  I love to learn nerdy facts but love to get glammed up for a night out too.

Favorite place to vacation? And/or dream trip?

My favorite place to vacation is the ocean, or any large body of water. My dream trip would be a cozy cottage on a private stretch of natural beach.  Even though I love the mountains, my vacation would be to the beach.

What are you currently reading?

21 Answers for 21st Century Questions by Yuval Noah Harari

What are you currently listening to?

Jolene by Ray Lamontagne

What would you be doing if you were not an artist?

Drowning in my sorrows.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

My two grown children and my husband of 30 years.

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?

Not sure, except that it would have to be someone who never has self-doubt and was free from existential anxiety, lol.  But probably, that person does not exist!

Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

My all-time favorite artist is Eric Aho. I’d have to say that my favorite emerging artist is William McClure, who is also represented by Anne Neilson Fine Art.

Painting XVII by William McClure, currently available at ANFA Gallery.

Dream commission?

My dream commission would be monumental painting for a large public space or office building. But I’d have to find a bigger studio first!

What do you want your audience to know about your work?

I want my audience to know that every time I paint, I am channeling the beauty and awe of nature through a filter of the anxiety of modern life–the human condition, you could say.  My message is:  Look Up, Remember to Notice Beauty, Remember to Find Joy.  Nature is a poultice for all that ails us and is free for all.

What makes your work unique?

I believe my work is unique in that I use traditional concepts of landscape color theory and composition combined with an abstract expressionist method.  My paintings are landscapes, but very much on the verge of pure abstraction, and I strive to make every mark free with the energy of my body and not contrived or controlled.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years:

Within the next five years, I would like to achieve a level of confidence in my painting expression to the point where each foray onto the canvas is an act of joy free from self-doubt. And I would like to be part of the conversation in the larger art world.

 

Come visit us at ANFA Gallery to view some of Sally Veach’s available works, and check out https://www.sallyveach.com to learn even more about this wonderful woman and look at her entire breathe of work!

 

And She Rises, by Sally Veach currently available at ANFA Gallery.

 

 

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In Tandem: Ellen Levine Dodd

Oct 3, 18

Ellen Levine Dodd is one of the artists ANFA is featuring in our currently hung show, In Tandem, alongside Joyce Howell—visit previous post to learn more about her!

Dodd is a bright and fabulous woman who’s life-long love of art has generated both large-scale, encapsulating, tactful paintings—as well as simple, yet complex smaller works that demonstrate the components and departed layers of her gestural attributions. Framed together or individually, these works on paper are so satisfying and claim intrigue.

Read on to learn more about the Ellen Levine Dodd, her artwork and her remarkably adventurous life thus far!

Hometown: Winthrop, Massachusetts

Currently Living: Novato, California

When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?

I started drawing and painting as soon as I could hold a crayon, pencil and brush. As a child, a stack of paper and a pencil or paintbrush would entertain me for hours. I was given my first watercolor paint set at 4. I started doing photography at age 8 with my ‘Brownie’ camera. I’ve always loved looking at and doing art, and lucky for me, my family always supported and encouraged me. I took art classes all through school and I went to Clark University on an art scholarship. When I was graduating from Sonoma State University in California, the assistant director of the SFMOMA was giving a talk, and said,” 10 years from now only 2 of you will be practicing your art professionally.” I looked around the crowded courtyard and wondered who the other person would be.

Describe your aesthetic in three words:  colorful expressive gestural.

Describe your artistic process and preparation?

I always have music playing when I paint. I usually start by working on small watercolor and mixed media studies as a warmup exercise to work out ideas for color palettes and compositions. On the larger painting I work intuitvely without directly copying from my studies. The initial under-layers of wild colors and experimental shapes will be edited and refined as the painting develops.

The next stage is built up with oil and cold wax mixed with various mediums, charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, oil sticks, and wax crayons, colored pencils. Whether using acrylic or oils the painting is built up with multiple layers of paint, scratching into the surface, drawing on top, painting over and obscuring, or glazing to create a veiled look. When the painting is finished I work hard to find the right words for the title that add insight into the story told visually by the brushstrokes.

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

One favorite is “The water is deeper than what it reflects.” I love the range of blues in it, and the depth created by the lighter shapes floating over the darker underlayers. For me it expresses the spirit of challenge and struggle, to keep on covering up layers with new layers until it feels right.

My other favorite is an older piece, “King Kong In The Garden Of Eden”, one of my first abstract paintings and a turning point for me in developing ‘my voice’. There is both truth and a sense of humor in the title. King Kong had indeed been stomping around my Garden of Eden when it was painted and it is a lesson to me that painting through my emotions is always a better way to handle difficult situations.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

Personally, I am inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Serena Williams and Helen Keller. All 3 women are courageous enough to get back up on the horse no matter how many times they fall off, who have applied the focus, dedication, and hard work to their goals, fighting until they succeed, and who are willing to work to make the world a better place not only for themselves but for all others.

Professionally Emily Mason inspires me. Her work in color affects me emotionally every time I see her paintings…

…and Elizabeth Murray who inspires me with her courage to allow her structural paintings to not have to be conventionally beautiful in an expected way.

What challenges do you think exist in the world of fine art?

There are many challenges in the world of art. The one that affects me most personally is the inequality that women in the art world have faced for centuries, the challenge to have our work taken as seriously as our male peers. I realized that each time I was asked who my favorite artists are, I named male artists. I challenged myself to start naming women, who I both respected for their work as well as the struggles they overcame to have their art shown and recognized.

How do you approach/overcome them?

When I feel undermined or frustrated with the unfairness in the world, I get back up and keep on painting for myself, being glad that I have the resources to keep going.

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)?

One of my most exciting accomplishments is to have my work collected by Kaiser Permanente Hospitals and Sloan Kettering where patients need a dose of positive creativity to ease their struggles.

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

I love painting in my studio in Old Town Novato, a short drive from my home. There is a large painting wall, a number of large tables, and the lighting is wonderful. I have space for my etching press and printing table, stacks for paintings, and a dedicated space to photograph my art, as well as a separate office space with room for my computer and my 54” Roland inkjet printer.

A random fact about you:

I love adventure. I’ve been an avid windsurfer and kayaker. At 20 I spent a year traveling, motorcycling through England and Scotland, taking the Eurail up to Lapland, and working on a kibbutz in Israel for 6 months.

Favorite place to vacation? And/or dream trip?

Anywhere by the ocean is my favorite place to vacation. I love Cape Cod, nearwhere I grew up in Massachusetts, and Sea Ranch in California, near where we live now. My dream trip would be to spend time in the South Pacific islands, and then travel to New Zealand.

What are you currently reading?

The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, The Last Painting of Sara De Vos, and Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson.

What are you currently listening to?

My taste in music is eclectic. Currently I am listening to Glen Gould play Mozart. But a short time ago I was playing a Leonard Cohen station on Pandora radio.

What would you be doing if you were not an artist?

I cannot imagine not being an artist, but if not I would be an architect.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

I’m addicted to my iPad, with all my books, music, and a place to sketch all easy to take with me. If not my iPad, it would be a sketchbook and a mechanical pencil.

If you could switch lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?

I’ve thought about this, but I’ve always been truly content being myself and don’t think I would want to give up even one day of being me.

Your all-time favorite artist and/or your favorite emerging artist?

It’s hard to choose one. Emily Mason…

…Joan Mitchell…

… and Helen Frankenthaler…

 

Dream commission?

My dream commission would be a large scale mural in a public space where my art would be able to communicate and influence an attitude of positive affirmation of life.

What do you want your audience to know about your work?

My art is an extension of my life. I work hard and spend over10 hours a day in my studio.

What makes your work unique?

My work is honest, emotional and primitive with bursts of raw energy derived from my gestural markmaking.

Name one goal for your career you’d like to achieve in the next 5 years:

In addition to my painting, I’ve been wanting to start teaching art workshops in my new studio. I’d like to partner with a foundation in order to find a way to bring more art education to the community.

 

In Tandem is currently on display and will be up though October 19th.

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