Artist Spotlight: Michael Barringer

Sep 20, 17

Anne Neilson Fine Art would like to introduce one of our most distinguished artists, Michael Barringer. A fellow North Carolina native, Michael has been painting full time for as long as twenty-five years. His work provides the viewer with a fresh perspective, often breaking down forms and exploring multiple layers. Interested in the history of the natural, spiritual, and primitive world, Michael’s work questions, “how the world fits together from its many parts, and what drives our need to know and create and seek the spiritual.” He uses charcoal, conte crayon, and washes of acrylic paint to create his image and continues by sanding and carving directly onto the canvas with a razor blade to develop multiple layers within his work. To gain more insight about Michael’s artistic process, read the exclusive interview below!

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Michael and his son, Ben hiking at Stone Mountain Park

Name: Michael Barringer

Hometown: Granite Quarry, NC

Currently Living: Lilburn, GA

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

I began painting full time in 1992. From early on, I drew constantly. I remember always feeling the magic of being in the ocean or the mountains, and wanting to make my own version of those experiences. My maternal grandfather was a stonecutter in the quarry. My paternal grandfather was a blacksmith for Southern Railroad. I suppose some of their ability for making objects, and crafting out form came down through the gene pool. As well, both were Renaissance men: making their own tools, planting and harvesting many vegetables and fruits, and making wine.

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Michael’s maternal grandfather, Arthur Lefler’s handmade hammer, chisel, and cut paving stone from Granite Quarry, NC, circa 1920s – 30s

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Inevitable, layered, lingering

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Close up detail of Michael’s work

Describe your artistic process and preparation.

I paint by natural light during the day, and never work at night. I enjoy taking walks through our woods and meadow, as this exposes me to textures and lights and natural sounds. Lately, I have been using my computer to continually run through images and texts and ideas from all over. This “universal brain” we now have is astounding. I keep regular studio hours, Monday through Friday, generally 6 to 7 hours daily.  I need the structure.  

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Michael’s light-filled studio

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?  

I like to think my most recent completed painting is my favorite piece!  But then, there is always the restlessness to keep going, and make the next work the one I am most proud of making

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

I greatly admire these poets: TS Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Kenneth Rexroth, and Walt Whitman. Eliot’s major work, Four Quartets, has been the main foundation for me for many years, because of his exploration of the spiritual in humankind, from the primitive sense of the Other, on through to highly developed rituals and sacraments. Wallace’s use of colorful language and his supreme imagination have all been intriguing. Rexroth’s concern with integrating many religious belief systems, throughout eras and geographies, has been inspiring. With his exploration of the animal desires in us all, Whitman has always opened my eyes to our place in the natural world.

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T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

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

There is always the desire to keep the work honest and original and untainted from popular tastes and demands.   

How do you approach/overcome them?

I try my best to stay fresh, but I realize that it is an honor to paint for a living, and that compromise is unavoidable at times.

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)?   

I think striving to meet the challenge of helping to raise my three children with my wife, Mindy, and maintaining an active studio practice as well.

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

My studio is filled with natural light, with several windows and skylights and a large garage door on one end which I can open – so it is an airy, bright space. I enjoy an orderly and clean environment. I work to music of all kinds, but lately, jazz, and the more free form expressions of Eric Dolphy, Dave Holland, Ornette Coleman, McCoy Tyner, and Charles Mingus, to name a few. Acoustic guitarist Michael Hedges, with his primal groove and unbelievable dynamic range, always inspires. PJ Harvey’s raw emotion and artistry are examples of urgency.

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Musical artists often played in Michael’s studio and influencing his work

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Years of accumulated layers and drips of paint in Michael’s studio

A random fact about you?

Rufus Barringer, a general in the Civil War, and a distant relative, was married to Stonewall Jackson’s daughter.

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Rufus Clay Barringer (1821 – 1895)

Favorite place to vacation?

Our honeymoon trip to Alaska was life changing. We flew into Anchorage, rented a car and drove over 2500 miles through awe inspiring terrain: huge expanses of tundra, soaring mountain ranges, rushing snow melt fed rivers, and mammoth slow creeping glaziers. Another adventure up the coast of California to Humboldt State Park and the largest Redwood trees on earth was truly reality altering. The gigantic scale and otherworldly quiet within the groves made for a primal exhilaration. Frequent trips to the southwestern mountains of North Carolina always reacquaint me with the ancient cycles and the frightening indifference of the natural world.

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Alaska

What are you currently reading?  The Idea Of The Holy, by Rudolf Otto.

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

I would enjoy being a chef or landscaper. Chefs are perhaps the truest artists we have, as they create beauty which arouses and satisfies all the senses. Landscaping provides the joy of witnessing first hand, and in focus, the shifting seasons and growth rhythms.  

One thing you couldn’t live without?  

I would like to think that I could adapt to losing anything.  

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

Albert Einstein.

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

Brice Marden, James Bishop, Willem deKooning, Paul Klee and Kurt Schwitters are visual artists of great importance for me. I admire Marden for his integrity and purposefulness and ability to evoke deep emotions within a rigorous, minimalist aesthetic. Bishop’s sense of improvisation, and his confident acceptance of the accidental are both powerful strategies I admire. DeKooning’s versatility and sheer energy are almost beyond belief. Plus, his supreme dedication to the craft of painting always amazes. With his ability to create profound visual statements within a small format, Klee demands my continual respect. As well, his highly sophisticated visual language (in the guise of primitive markings) is a wonder. I go to Schwitters for his pursuit of the collage sensibility.

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Willem de Kooning, Woman I, 1952

Dream commission?

The next one!

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

Each time out, I do my best.

What makes your work unique?

Only one me in the world, so it could not be otherwise.

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

Just being able to keep working steadily, and feel that the work is illustrating my vision.

Come check out some of Michael’s works now hanging in the gallery!

Bloomstone (Tabernacles) - MB - 48x36 - $5,800

Bloomstone (Tabernacle), 48×36

Bloomstone (Chauvet Rain) - MB - 44x44 - $5,800

Bloomstone (Chauvet Rain), 44×44

The Rock (Broke Into Bud) - MB - 48x36 - $5,800

The Rock (Broke Into Bud), 48×36

In Search of Crowns - MB - 22x22 - $1,700

In Search of Crowns, 22×22

 

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Artist Spotlight: Eliza Thomas

Sep 13, 17

 

Anne Neilson Fine Art is pleased to introduce another impressive female artist on our roster: Eliza Thomas. A well-traveled artist, Eliza iterates how her works are often inspired by the natural formations that she encounters while she travels, and how she enjoys painting in quiet, rustic places that provide a refuge from daily life. To learn more about Eliza’s fascinating opinions regarding her artwork, read the exclusive interview below!

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

I committed to art as a “day job” in 2005, after completing an artist residency program in France that winter and spring. I had always known I was an artist, but never allowed myself to think that it was a viable career. In college [Columbia University’s Barnard College], I was strictly an academic. I studied Medieval Italian poetry. Albeit there were no art classes, what I learned about artistic sensibility, sensuality, emotionality and the like, through four years of immersion in all those verses, is more than I believe I ever would have via formal art classes. The six months I spent in the Luberon in Provence changed all that—I painted all day every day and realized there was nothing else. It was just a calling.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

My honest response to this is that my aesthetic: Changes Every Day. This question is a challenge because I feel my aesthetic is vast, in terms of what I like and what appeals to me on an artistic/emotional level. That said, I do love shadow, light, reflections.

Describe your artistic process and preparation.

My artistic process is very intuitive. I really never plan paintings too much in detail beyond ideas about color(s) and material(s) and format and basic approach. I conceive of them in my mind and then, when ready to paint, I try to clear my head. Once having done that—and the key is having complete silence in my studio save for the sound of a box fan maybe—I just let myself go and try not to think. Painting for me is a moving meditation. Intuition and chance are also guiding factors in my process.

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

Well, I have lots of favorite paintings! And I love them for how different they all can be.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

Personally, my family and my friends inspire me. Professionally, I am inspired by the artists Darell Roberts and Malou Flato, because they have an insanely committed relationship to their work!

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Darrell Roberts (c.1972), Flow of the Wind, 2016, 12″x9″

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Malou Flato, Gianicolo, acrylic, 60″ x 72″

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

I can only speak for myself, and that challenge is to stay true to oneself and not compare. To believe in one’s own way, and to keep learning and growing and listening. To trust the process, and to keep the purity of the inspiration intact at all times.

Biggest accomplishment to date?

I am unable to answer “my biggest accomplishment to date,” because making small accomplishments along the way is my focus.

What is your studio like?

I very much enjoy my studio. It is comforting, rustic, and spacious…and vacillates between order and chaos. Which I love.

A random fact about you:

I LOVE decorative pillows, and collecting fabric, even though I can’t sew.

Favorite place to vacation? And/or dream trip?

I’m dying to go to the Blue Lagoon geothermal springs in Iceland. And I would love to return to Scandinavia. My favorite place to vacation/retreat is a little log cabin on the banks of the magical Cypress Creek, about an hour outside of Austin.

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Blue Lagoon Hot Springs in Iceland

What are you currently reading?

I have a stack of books next to my bed that I need to read! But I am somewhat ADD so I tend to mostly read articles in The New Yorker magazine. I also read a lot of cookbooks, which—along with cooking—I find extremely soothing.

What are you currently listening to?

As I answer these questions, I can hear the sound of a floor fan to my right…I also really love Beethoven.

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

I would be cooking if I weren’t an artist. I mean, I cook all the time as a creative outlet, but if I had to have a different “job”, cooking would be it.

One thing you could not live without?

Fountain pens.

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

For a day, I would switch lives with my dear friend and artistic mentor, the artist Ben Livingston, who also made me a fabulous neon sculpture called “Unicorn”

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Ben Livingston, Neon for Eliza

Your all-time favorite artist?

 It’s a toss-up between Egon Schiele and Henri Matisse.

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Egon Schiele, Setting Sun

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Henri Matisse, The Joy of Life

Dream commission?

I don’t have a dream commission. However, when a commission piece succeeds in being just what the client was thinking and feeling—and when it soothes the soul—then that’s a dream come true!

What would I like my audience to know about my work?

Generally speaking, my work is about trying to capture the essence of something. Living or dead, animate or inanimate, a moment, a place: an overflowing bouquet of tulips; a bundle of dancing entwined dead twigs gathered in winter; the feel of the wind in the evening when summer is fading and fall is coming; a poem, epitaph, or other verse that has significance to myself, to others, to a certain individual, or to a cause.

The aim is to engage the viewer on an emotional level, to speak to the soul.

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From Eliza’s Script series: Dream of Sky, 45×45

What makes my your work unique?

I think it’s unique because it’s spontaneous.

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Homage to Darrell, 5×7

One goal you would like to achieve in the next five years?

To be able to fully let go and JUST PAINT.

To view Eliza’s artwork in person, please feel free to stop by the gallery!

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Weave Light Into Words, 39×72

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Come to the Living Water, 39×72

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UNSEEN: A Conversation with Marcy Gregg

Aug 28, 17

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Anne Neilson Fine Art has been itching in anticipation to reveal its newest exhibition, UNSEEN for local Charlotte artist, Marcy Gregg. Marcy has been an integral part of ANFA since its inception in 2014 and we are beyond excited to showcase her exceptional talent on view in the gallery now. After months of hard work and determination, Marcy has created a brand new body of work consisting of over thirty new paintings. UNSEEN is a collection of work that explores Marcy’s intimate process; the writing of a hidden message across the canvas as the inspiration from which she paints. While this foundation will forever be unseen, the process and end-result will remain, challenging her viewers to dig deep, discovering meaning and life within. Keep reading our conversation with Marcy below to learn more about the artist and what drives the creativity and inspiration behind her exquisite work.

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Name: Marcy Gregg

Hometown: Jasper, TX

Currently Living: Charlotte, NC

Is there a recurring theme in your solo exhibition? If so, how did you choose it?

The emphasis in all the paintings is line work and color. As for the theme, ultimately it became about what is unseen: the Scripture boldly written on the raw canvas which is unseen once the painting is completed and the line work in each painting which subtly appears and disappears leaving room for the viewer to interpret what is being seen.

Do you have a favorite painting in the show?

Asking me to name a favorite painting in the show is sort of like asking which of my three children are my favorite – I love them all for different reasons. I love the blue of “Seeking” that is featured on the invitation, and I love the diptych “Revealed I” and “Revealed II” because of the amount of energy in the line work.

Seeking - MG - 60x60 - $8,600

Seeking, 60×60

What is the hardest and the most rewarding part about preparing for a solo exhibition?

By far the hardest part is the constant creativity required to produce the number of paintings needed for a solo show. The most rewarding part is the day I stepped back and they were all done. To be able to see all those paintings, over a year’s worth of time in front of the canvas, finally completed is so fulfilling.

Have you ever done a solo exhibition before? Is so, what kind of atmosphere do you strive to create for the viewer’s of your work?

I have done two solo exhibitions before. I want the viewer to be pulled in by the work, to be engaged, to bring their own thoughts and perspectives to what they are seeing for the first time.

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

I started my career about 11 years ago. But as for wanting to be an artist—pretty much my entire life I guess—I majored in Studio Art at SMU beginning my freshman year.

Describe your aesthetic in three words:

Edgy, colorful, hidden

Describe your artistic process and preparation?

My early morning scriptural reading and meditation dictate the theme of each painting. When I find a verse that resonates with me, it then becomes the first thing I paint on the blank canvas—usually in red, always big and bold. It’s the heart of the painting, as well as the foundation of the title once the work is complete.

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Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

A painting I did in 2014, titled New Beginnings. The reason? Because it just happened. I was totally in the zone; and from beginning to end the painting almost seemed to create itself. It was the first time I painted on a larger canvas and used line work—as the title suggested at the time, although I didn’t know it, it really was a new beginning for me as an artist.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

I am inspired by people that I encounter in my day who I know have a hard life and in spite of their circumstances, they choose joy.

Biggest accomplishment to date?

I married off 3 kids in 5 months – that’s definitely my biggest accomplishment this year!

What is your studio like?

I have a second-floor studio at Dilworth Artisan Station. It’s full of light, with high ceilings and a cool warehouse vibe. Every day when I unlock my door and smell the paint, I immediately get a rush. I get excited every time, even when I’m painting six days a week, 6-8 hours a day.

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Marcy’s Studio

A random fact about you:

At one time we had two greyhounds, both of who had been rescued from the race track.

Favorite place to vacation? And dream trip?

Italy – no question. I went for the first time last year so it is my favorite and it is also my future dream trip. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

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Italy

What are you currently reading?

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

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“The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis

What are you currently listening to?

Being from Texas, I love Hill Country music by artist like Robert Earl Keen but I am also inspired by praise and worship music.

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Robert Earl Keen

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

I probably would still be teaching seminars in corporate America which I did for over ten years prior to starting my career as an artist.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

My morning quiet time. I’m a very early riser, and I love the silence and solitude at the beginning of each day.

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

I would love to be head of a foundation that could give money and resources to missionaries and other worthy organizations around the world. That would be awesome!

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

Cezanne. I love his colors and his line work.

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Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1887, Courtaud Institute of Art

Dream commission?

All commissions are dreams. Because when you hand a commission off to someone and they’re happy with it—it’s the best! As an artist my dream is always to make the buyer of my paintings happy – and being able to do that is awesome.

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

I’d love to have some West Coast collectors of my work. It would be a privilege to know my paintings were all across the continental US.

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

I deliberately lose portions of the lines in the process of painting the canvas. I draw a line and then paint over parts of it so that the lines—both those seen and unseen—become a critical part of the painting itself. My hope is that through the line work the viewer is able to find an unexpected perspective.

Check out some of Marcy’s new work below!

Always Heard - MG - 24x24 - $1,800

Always Heard, 24×24

Cast Away - MG - 48x48 - $5,000

Cast Away, 48×48

Paths Shown - MG - 40x40 - $4,000

Paths Shown, 40×40

What We Do Not See - MG - 60x40

What We Do Not See, 60×40

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Artist Spotlight: Adele Yonchak

Jul 10, 17

Anne Neilson Fine Art is proud to introduce the talented artist, Adele Yonchak, who is featured in our most recent exhibition, Rooted.  A Southern girl at heart, Adele was born in Martinsville, Virginia and raised in Knoxville, TN. Now a current resident of Charlotte, NC, Adele enjoys painting subjects that inspire not only herself, but her clients as well. To learn more about Adele, read the exclusive interview below!

View More: http://cassbradley.pass.us/adele

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

I have always been creative, but after deciding to drop physics and take an extra art class my senior year of high school, I really got the art bug. I had an art teacher that was so enthusiastic and really encouraged me to embrace it. I ended up double majoring in Business and Studio Art in college, but still did not plan to make a career out of art until almost 10 years after working in the corporate world and two children later. 

Describe your aesthetic in three words:

Textured, bold, and movement

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Close-up detail of Adele’s bold and textured colors

Describe your artistic process and preparation?

My process typically begins with a photograph of a place or a flower that inspires me/or my clients. I then create a simple black ink sketch to lay out the composition. The sketch is then simplified even more and transferred to the canvas with a pencil – sometimes just a few lines to block out the piece. I paint exclusively with a palette knife using active strokes to create texture and big blocks of color, layering as I go into more detail. I work quickly and decisively and tend to do my best work in a few sittings.

View More: http://cassbradley.pass.us/adele

Pre-painting sketching

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why? 

My favorite pieces are those that capture client’s happy places or favorite memories and that I know will be cherished forever. I recently painted a mountain view that was meaningful to a father and their infant daughter before she passed away and knowing that it reminds them of their precious girl is what it’s all about for me.

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Who inspires you personally and/or professionally? 

Personally my family, specifically my children, inspire me every day. Whether it is in something they discover or create or just in finding joy. Professionally, I love getting to know other artists that I can relate to in both their careers and family lives. It can be a hard balance since our work is not a traditional one and it’s encouraging to know other women out there doing it as well.

What challenges do you think exist in the world of fine art? How do you approach/overcome them?

Art, like all things, has evolved so much in the modern world. I think technology has made art much more accessible and approachable but has also made it easy for folks to devalue the time and work involved in original art. With social media it’s hard to not compare yourself to everyone else but it’s so important as an artist to stay true to yourself.

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)? 

Honestly my biggest professional accomplishment is that people want to buy my art. When people value your creativity enough to purchase your work, it feels like such a validation and honor.   

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

When we did an outdoor renovation at our home, I was fortunate enough to create a studio attached to our carport. It’s a small comfortable space with vaulted ceilings and tons of natural light. I am able to escape and focus in a space that is all my own.

View More: http://cassbradley.pass.us/adele

Adele painting in her studio

A random fact about you:

Adele, now a household name thanks to the singer, was my Great-Grandmother’s name. Her friends used to call her Mrs. Big Think and I like to think I inherited some of her spunk and big thinking.

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Adele Rankin and friends

Favorite place to vacation?

My favorite vacation spot is Sea Island, GA. My husband and I met there while working in college and got engaged there a few years later. It is such a beautiful place to escape and will always be special to us. 

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Sea Island, Georgia

What are you currently reading

I am currently re-reading, The Shadow of the Wind, one of my all time favorite books.

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Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron

What are you currently listening to?

Nathanial Rateliffe & The Night Sweats on repeat recently 

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

I would continue to be a mother to my three children and I have always wanted to be a novelist. Maybe some day! 

 One thing you couldn’t live without? 

Professionally, my medium size palette knife. Personally, cheese. I’ve tried more than once unsuccessfully.

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

I would love to switch lives with someone who lives completely off the grid. Preferably somewhere beautiful. But just for a day or two!

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

My favorite artist is Nicolas de Steal, the Russian abstract landscape painter from the 1940s. I love his slabs of color and the texture in his representational landscape work and he has been a huge influence on my work.

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Nicolas de Steal, Les Martigues, 1954

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Nicolas de Steal, Paysage du midi, 1953

Dream commission?

Such a hard question but I recently saw photos of a home designed by Charleston’s Amelia Handegan and her use of yellow makes me think we would be kindred spirits.

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Amelia Handegan’s yellow-filled hallway

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

I hope the audience can feel the love that goes into each piece. Whether it is the love of a specific landscape like the North Carolina High Country or just simply the love of color – I hope people can tell each piece is made to provide joy to myself and to my viewers.

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Washed, 30×40

 What makes your work unique?

My favorite thing about my work is that it is familiar while still being abstracted and ambiguous. The ability to elicit feelings and memories to many different people in many different ways is something I am very proud of. There is power in the simplicity and suggested.

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

My biggest goal is that people continue to respond as positively as they have to my work. I want to stay current and meaningful while continuing to challenge myself and love the process.

Stop by the gallery to see Adele’s work in person before the conclusion of Rooted on July 15th!

 

Splashed 40x40

Splashed, 40×40

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Harvested, 40×30

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Bloomed, 24×24

Mixed Media 5

Mixed Media, 14×11

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Artist Spotlight: McKenzie Dove

Jun 27, 17

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Anne Neilson Fine Art is ecstatic to introduce McKenzie Dove, an artist featured in our most recent exhibition, Rooted. Three words that encapsulate McKenzie’s aesthetic, she states, are “structural, organic, and textural.” Whether small or large, her works exude a soothing simplicity and make a great addition to any living space!  To learn more about McKenzie’s background and her innovative painting method–read the exclusive interview below!

Hometown: Dallas, TX

Currently Living: Birmingham, AL

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

I had crayons and finger paints in my hands when I was 2 and I’ve always experimented with different mediums, but I developed my palette knife technique when I was 18 and sold my first piece when I was 21.  I was thrilled that someone wanted to pay me for something I created and my career has just evolved from there!

What makes your work unique?

When I started painting with a palette knife I didn’t set out to create a technique that was different. It just sort of evolved through hours and hours of experimenting with oil paint and a variety of knives. I was fascinated by the way the oil could be moved around with a knife (still am) and the way I could use it to work subtle color into a piece layer by layer.  It wasn’t until I started selling my work that I realized how unique my texture is!

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Describe your artistic process and preparation.

I am very passionate about design and architecture so I like to imagine the spaces where my art will be installed.  I think that a well designed space is art in itself and can bring out different elements in a painting.  Every morning I sit down with a cup of coffee and study material from magazines and Pinterest.  I draw a lot of inspiration from furniture, art, interior design and Cycladic architecture and natural materials like coral, stone and botanicals.  After my morning routine of soaking up inspiration I’m excited to jump into a new painting.

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McKenzie’s morning coffee and inspiration routine

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

That changes every day! But I would have to say “Sail” because I LOVE large scale work and I’m really into the greige tones in that piece right now.

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Sail, 72×48

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Up close detail of Sail

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

Artists from the past are a great source of inspiration for me along with some interior designers who I’m currently obsessed with.  I’m absolutely fascinated by the work of artists like Cy Twombly, J.M.W. Turner, Claude Monet, Bruce Budd, Stephen Sills, Rosie Uniacke and Darryl Carter.

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Cy Twombly, Untitled (Bolsena), 1969, Art Institute of Chicago

 What challenges do you think exist in the world of fine art? How do you approach/overcome them?

As I talk to other artists and think about my own experience it seems that one of the challenges that we all face is protecting the originality of our work.  We all like to be inspired by the work of other artists but it’s very important make sure that we don’t infringe on someone else’s original idea.  Many artists, including myself, have other artists try to replicate their technique and market it as their own.  While this is flattering it’s also very frustrating.  I don’t want anything to take the joy out of what I do, so I just stay focused on the things I can control – my own work and creative development.

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)? 

Marrying my husband! I’m so blessed to do life with him.

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McKenzie and her husband on their wedding day!

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

A bright white space filled with natural light where I can make a huge mess and play music as loudly as I want.

A random fact about you:

I lived in a small town for the majority of my childhood and we had farm animals. I actually used to ride my horse into town to buy colored pencils from our dollar store and I trained bunnies for 4-H. 

Favorite place to vacation? And/or dream trip?

Alys Beach and Santa Barbara are two of my favorite places but the architecture, food and landscape I’ve experienced in Europe can’t be beat.

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Entrance to Alys Beach in Florida

What are you currently reading? 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biography

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What are you currently listening to?

Whilk & Misky

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

Interior Designer and part time sushi chef

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 One thing you couldn’t live without? 

Coffee

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

Victoria Beckham

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

It’s hard to choose just one! I love William McLure though.  He’s unbelievably talented and inspiring.

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William McLure, artist and interior designer based in Birmingham, AL

Dream commission?

I would probably faint if Rosie Uniacke commissioned a piece from me!

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Interior designer, Rosie Uniake, in her London home

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

I’d just like everyone to know how grateful I am to those who admire and enjoy my work.  I hope that if they purchase a piece they will treasure it and know that I invested just as much creative energy and passion into it as I would if it were going to be hung in my own home!

studioSelection of McKenzie’s work

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

I’d like to eventually incorporate interior design and maybe even furniture design into my brand! Design is such a major part of who I am and I’ve drawn furniture, lighting and floor plans since I was a kid.  I’m always drawing mental sketches when I walk into a home or commercial space and it would be so exciting to explore the creative process of design the way that I have with my art.

Stop by the gallery to see McKenzie’s work in person before the conclusion of Rooted on July 15th!

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Library, 40×40

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The Siesta, 12×12

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Face IV, 8×8

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Artist Spotlight: Melvin G

Jun 21, 17

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Anne Neilson Fine Art is excited to introduce to our viewers a talented artist who is featured in our exhibition, Rooted (May 31-July 15), which focuses on a diverse set of Southern, emerging artists. Morgan Elvington Walker, who also goes by Melvin G, is a native and current resident of Florence, South Carolina. Describing her aesthetic as, “colorful and controlled chaos,” Morgan explains how her work is inspired by her father’s experience with Parkinson’s disease and her three year old daughter’s experimental and chaotic drawing methods. Her father’s increasing awareness of his “lack of control” over his writing and her daughter’s youthful unawareness where she has not yet learned to control her writing both have had profound influence over Morgan and her artwork. This distinct theme of chaos balanced with control remains a constant thread throughout her work. To learn more about her background and artistic inspiration, along with enticing pictures of her captivating works, continue reading the interview below!

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Morgan’s father, an inspiration to her artwork

When did you start your career in art?

I began my art career in the Fall of 2015. I have loved art from before I can remember, but I never really considered doing it as my job.  I went to school for interior design at Winthrop University, then studied art and art history at Clemson University.  When I graduated, I went into interior design, and then fashion.  After having my daughter, I continued to design for my jewelry line (Melvin) with my aunt and do the window installations at Capitol in Charlotte.  After about a year of traveling back and forth, I decided to take a break from working. Six months later my husband bought me a large easel for my birthday, and put it in a spare room in our house. He told me to go paint as a creative outlet.  I began painting more and more, and I fell in love with it all over again. Now I can’t imagine a day without it.  I am literally doing it every break I have, and with a three year old and five month old maybe I should be resting.

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Morgan’s 3 year old daughter, Liza

One thing you couldn’t live without?  

My family… and espresso.

Describe your artistic process and preparation:

When I first got back into painting I was discouraged because I did not like about 90% of what I was creating, so I was not doing it much.  I was talking to a friend who is also a painter.  He told me to just paint as much as I could.  I might hate most of it, but I would love some of it.  Then I could eventually take everything I loved and make something great out of it.  It was probably some of the best advice I have ever received.

With my abstract pieces I do color studies to come up with my color schemes.  Sometimes I do exactly as I planned, and sometimes I completely veer off course.  I usually end up liking those the most.  I always listen to music when I paint, and as silly as it sounds, I let the music take over my every move. I can always tell what type of music I was listening to when looking at a piece.

 What are you currently listening to?

Every song from the show Big Little Lies. It is possibly the best soundtrack I have ever listened to. My husband and I love music, and It is constantly playing in our house.  My playlist always includes Ryan Adams, The Rolling Stones, The Lumineers, Nirvana, Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Coldplay, Neil Diamond, The Black Keys, Bush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ray LaMontagne, David Gray, Bon Iver, The Hollies, Pete Yorn, any and everything Motown, and most songs from the 50s (that is all my parents listened to while I was growing up.)

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Big Little Lies

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

Safe Haven. My morning devotional was talking about how heaven is our safe haven. The world is a crazy, scary, beautiful, yet ugly place. Knowing our forever safe haven is heaven, a perfect, pure, beautiful place with only goodness, is so comforting.  When looking at it, especially on a hard day, it reminds me that everything will be alright.

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Safe Haven, 24×18

Biggest accomplishment to date (personally or professionally)?

Professionally: I made a portrait of Oscar de la Renta out of red, yellow, blue, black and white thumb-tacks.  He and his family came to see it, and he signed it.  It was such an honor to meet him (even though I do not really remember what he said because I was so excited and nervous.)  Definitely one of the top five best moments of my life.

Personally: Every single time I can get a work goal accomplished being a full time mom of two little ones.

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Morgan and Oscar de la Renta in front of her thumb-tack portrait

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

Stella McCartney. Her career, her family, her friends, I would not mind trying it on for a day. Maybe even a week, but not right before fashion week.

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

Cy Twombly and Jean Michel Basquiat are my all time favorite artists.  I also love Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Pablo Picasso and Joan Mitchell. My favorite emerging artists are Laura Deems and Dorothy Shain.

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Jean Michel Basquiat

Dream commission?

Reese Witherspoon.  Always loved that Southern belle, now even more so after Big Little Lies.

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What are you working on now?

My upcoming series was inspired by Leon, a man I met on the streets of Charleston.

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Sneak peak of Morgan’s new series inspired by Leon!

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

 I want my audience to take away what they felt when looking at the piece.  I try to keep my titles very simple.  The abstracts are usually just the colors of the piece in Italian, and the faces are the name of a loved one.  From my experience, when I title a piece, the viewer is always looking for that.  I would much rather them see what they are feeling.  And with that, depending on how they are feeling, it can change for them each time they look at it.

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

To be five years better than I am today.  To challenge myself to get better and grow each and every day.

Thank you for reading, and come see Morgan’s work in the gallery before the conclusion of the Rooted exhibition on July 15th!

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Annis Crown, 20×16

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Verde Acqua e Rosa, 23×30

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SPF 1000, 12×18

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Rosetta Peacock, 24×18

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Artist Spotlight: David Hollier

May 2, 17

Anne Neilson Fine Art is excited to introduce their newest artist, David Hollier. Originally from Wolverhampton, England, David has been living and working in New York since 2002. He splits his time painting and teaching as an adjunct professor at Parsons The New School of Design. His unique series, Imago Verbosa, features iconic images of cultural influencers throughout history formed entirely by written words. The words are individually hand painted in acrylic and ink forming a strong textual aesthetic among the distinctive series. Keep reading our exclusive interview with the artist to learn more about David and his inventive artworks!

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Hometown: Wolverhampton, England

Currently Living: Brooklyn, New York

When did you start your career in art?

I sold my first painting when I was 15 years old. Two of my aunts opened a gift store and encouraged me to frame and sell some of my paintings. The very first piece sold was a watercolor of a misty marsh in the New Forest, South England.

Describe your aesthetic in three words?

Post Pop Art

How much preparation goes into a painting?

For me, its all about preparation. The clearer the idea is in my head before starting painting, the stronger and cleaner the result. I also make all my own canvases, boards and frames, which I feel is an important part of the process. Sometimes the actual painting part is just the icing on the cake.

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

I don’t have a favorite piece. I guess its always the next piece I’m working on until its done. Then I like it but think I can do better and move on.

Who inspires you?

People who get out there and do it rather than sitting around and talking about it. Whatever it is.

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

Firstly, its important to understand that ‘The Arts’ is one of the fundamental necessities of the human experience. It also has one of the most powerful effects on us. Today the ‘fine arts’ have become very marginalized and more and more exclusive, elitist even. The powers that be are aware of the influence of art and therefore do everything they can to control it. Art cannot be controlled. This is why we are seeing a huge global rising in the street art movement. Its why we are seeing more documentaries and independent films being made. It’s fantastic and amazing. It’s an awesome time to be an artist and involved.

Favorite location to paint? What is your studio like?

I’ll paint anywhere. My studio is a mess – organized chaos.

Random fact about you?

I paint pictures using text, however as a child I struggled with reading and writing.

What’s a recent hobby you’ve discovered?

Cycling

One thing you couldn’t live without?

I have simple needs. So I’m going to say ‘Humor’.

What makes your work unique?

Making an image out of words is rather unique, although there are others out there doing it. I’ve given it the name ‘Imago Verbosa’ (‘A picture made of words in Latin). And I certainly have my own handwriting style.

Biggest accomplishment to date?

The Nelson Mandela painting I did in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It’s scale, location and message. It was very much a solo project and there were many challenges. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to pull it off. It was the first time I’d used a cherry-picker. I had a very limited time frame and had to paint very fast all night. My painting arm turned black and blue the next day. When I finished I literally wept. I couldn’t help myself.

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Time Lapse Video of Nelson Mandela

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

It’s available.

Come see David’s work available now at Anne Neilson Fine Art!Frank Sinatra - DH -Frank Sinatra, 24×24

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Marilyn Monroe, 36×25

Joe Namath - DH - 44x68 -Joe Namath, 44×68

Beatles - DH -Beatles, 20×28

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Artist Spotlight: Troy Dugas

Apr 17, 17

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We are excited to present the talented artist, Troy Dugas! He creates intricate collages made up of recycled materials and vintage product labels. Describing his work and artistic process he says, “Repetition, pattern, precision, and scale are used to distract from the original purpose of the label to advertise. The essential elements of color, shape, and line are utilized in a new way and the altered context of the source material provides new meaning.”  Learn more about Troy and his artwork in the interview below.

Hometown: Duson, Louisiana

Currently Living: Lafayette, Louisiana

When did you start your career in art and what is your training?

At 18 years old I knew I wanted to be an artist. I spent 9 years in school as a very serious and determined art student until eventually graduating from Pratt Institute in 1998 with an MFA.

What did you do after school?

I was also fortunate enough to find creative work that not only allowed me to continue living in the city but provided new skills that I would eventually apply to my own work. I worked for Macy’s in-house label and enjoyed seeing the prints I developed hanging on the racks in the store. I picked up some pretty valuable skills and eventually did freelance work for Old Navy and the Gap.

Tell us about your role as the Lead Designer for Blue’s Clues

After working in fashion, I began working for Nickelodeon Digital Studios on a pre-school kids show called Blue’s Clues. I eventually became a Lead Designer for the show creating playful backgrounds and building characters from scanned textures working between the art team and animation team. I really dived deep into this world, and it certainly has had a long and lasting effect.

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When did you move to Louisiana?

All seemed to be going fine until September 11, 2011. I could see the towers on fire from my apartment window and witnessed their collapse. Going to the city each day was terrifying as I would take the L train under the river and then another train right into Time Square for work. I eventually decided that I had accomplished everything I wanted and more from going to school and living in New York.

In 2002, my partner and I found a sweet little Acadian house on the Vermillion River in a small town outside Lafayette to rent for $400 a month! I was able to get an adjunct position at the University of Louisiana, and never wanted to give up making art, I felt like I began to make the most important work of my career. My art was finally taking root. A solo show in 2003 in Lafayette cemented the work I would continue for the next 14 years.

Describe your artistic process:

Scavenging, collecting, archiving, researching, playing, drawing, designing, cutting, shredding, arranging, glueing, painting, composing, looking, borrowing, rearranging, comparing, scaling, turning, tearing, sanding, layering, isolating, lining, perfecting

Favorite piece you’ve painted to date and why?

The Fayum portrait series from 2012 – 2013 was very exciting for me. I wanted to break away from the geometric abstraction I’d perfected using product labels and to do a series of “portraits” using the same material.

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Fayum Prince part of the Fayum Portrait Series, 2012 – 2013

Describe your aesthetic in three words:

Ancient, futuristic, balances

Who inspires you personally?

My grandmothers

Who inspires you professionally?

Glenn Goldberg, Louise Despont, Benjamin Degen, and Ryan Schneider are artists I really admire.

How much preparation goes into a painting?

Some pieces require making a pieced together pattern that is then transferred to a surface and is very time consuming. The pieces I’m working on currently begin with the surface being covered first with paper material to create an all over pattern. It’s the first step in creating a history of the image that becomes realized.

Favorite location to paint/what is your studio like?

I live in a 1920’s bungalow type house right smack dab in the middle of a highway. It’s like a moat. Even though I am in the middle of town the yard is full of tropical plants, and oak and pecan trees. My partner is a Master Gardner and an all around nature lover who raises hundreds of birds in five aviaries in our back yard. It’s amazing what you can create when you are willing to live where no one else wants to.

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Troy’s backyard in Louisiana

Favorite place to vacation?

New Mexico

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

I wonder if I could get a job at the post office.

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

I try to take risks in the work however subtle. It’s about discovery for me.

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

One of the homeless people I see everyday.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

Acrylic medium

What makes your work unique?

There’s a lot of variety in my work from the materials I use to the images I create. Everything is tied together by the application of those materials and my obsession with shape, pattern, and balance.

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

Major grants have always been a great boost professionally, financially, and personally. My goal is to hopefully qualify for a major grant in the next 5 years to help me keep going.

Browse a selection of Troy’s work currently available at the gallery:

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Purple, 30×30

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Don Antonio, 45×45

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Glowing Blue Bloom, 38×48

 

 

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Lunch and Demonstration with artist, Bethanne Kinsella Cople

Apr 11, 17

This past Saturday Anne Neilson Fine Art was fortunate to host the highly talented Bethanne Kinsella Cople for an educational lunch and painting demonstration. Those who attended were able to witness firsthand her expressive brushwork and well defined style from start to finish.

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Sometime Too Hot the Eye of Heaven Shines, 20×20

The demonstration began with Bethanne reviewing her preferred materials when painting. She took time going over the names of each color and best ways to first approach the canvas. To convey her rich, atmospheric landscapes, she uses a small palette knife and plenty of paint. She scrapes and pushes the oil paint in all directions to achieve her powerful images filled with both depth and beauty.

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Best known for her plein air landscape paintings, Bethanne doled out tips on her favorite, lightweight easel and go to colors she uses to capture her direct observations in the great outdoors. Landscapes are her passion and she travels far and wide for her subjects. She recounted stories of painting on steep mountains in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, closer to home along the Potomac River in Virginia, and near her beach house on the east end of Long Island, NY. She encouraged those in attendance to get outside and really focus on their observations of the landscape recording sight, smell, and sound.

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Bethanne painting en plein air

During the demonstration, Bethanne explained the importance of the “rule of 3”. She emphasized a painting needs to grab your attention from 3 yards away and compel you to walk closer. It then needs to intrigue you even further at 3 feet away by showing you something different. As you get continue walking closer, the painting should reveal even more details at 3 inches away.

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Guest practicing the rule of 3!

We were delighted to have Bethanne in the gallery to share her wealth of knowledge and instruct fellow artists and art lovers alike. Her loosely painted yet realist landscapes provide timeless appeal and fresh details at every glance. Take a look at her new work now on display in the gallery!

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And See You Not, the Clouds Prepare a Shower, 24×26

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Nature is Heaven, 40×40

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Spring Fever

Apr 1, 17

Winter chills have finally subsided making way for the first few glimpses of spring. As we say goodbye to March, Anne Neilson Fine Art is saying hello to April by filling their walls with colorful abstracts and sunny, outdoor landscapes to reflect warmer days ahead.

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Millie Gosch, Low Country Tide, 36 x 48

Millie Gosch’s vibrant landscapes light up our walls as part of the current exhibition, Timeless. With a love of nature, Millie’s open fields, marshlands, and sunsets are all painted “en plein air” meaning directly from life, in the outdoors, and without relying on photographs. Her connection to nature is expressed in the below landscape, Low Country Tide, which highlights the sun’s effect on the billowing pink clouds and low country waters.

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Ellen Dodd, A Touch of Spring Fever, 30 x 30

Ellen Dodd’s vivid abstracts radiate bold colors. A Touch of Spring Fever combines different shades of blues, greens, and yellows in a flurry of gestural brushstrokes to light up our dulled winter senses.

 

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Jhina Alvarado, Two at the Beach, 30 x 40

Jhina Alvarado paints her characters in raw umber and white to create a striking contrast against her boldly pattered backgrounds. A single color is applied to each stencil design to form the background of the painting. Finally, a layer of encaustic wax covers the entire painting adding a yellow-tint reminiscent of the 1930s to 1960s photographs Alvarado uses as inspiration. The timeless figures are cut off through the face leaving a trace of mystery and allowing viewers to apply their own memories. Two at the Beach conjures up memories of long beach days under the hot summer sun.

 

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Kerry Steele, Electricity, 48 x 60

Kerry Steel uses terra, plants, and water along with seasons and light as her subjects. She seeks to isolate separate elements and narrate their relation without ignoring the conscious process of composition. Her spontaneous and emotive painting, Electricity brings about aspects of the changing seasons from winter to spring. Creating a visual metaphor, the imposing abstract painting at 48 inches tall and 60 inches wide engulfs the viewer with it’s dynamic juxtaposition between light and dark.

Stop by the gallery to check out these captivating artworks and more. They will be sure to add a spring to your step!

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