Monthly Archives: September 2017

Art Mediums 101

Sep 27, 17

With close to 50 artists represented at Anne Neilson Fine Art, we see a wide variety of art mediums. An artwork’s medium refers to the different materials or supplies that an artist utilizes in order to create a work of art. In painting, medium can refer to both the type of paint used (oil, acrylic, watercolor, etc) and the base or ground to which the paint is applied (canvas, wood, paper, etc). Knowing the paint medium when you look at a work of art is key because it greatly affects the way one can perceive the color, texture, and overall appearance of an artwork.
At the gallery, our artists utilize a variety of media. This permits differences between artworks where the style and subject matter cannot compete. Below we’ve highlighted a few examples to show you why medium matters and how it contributes to the diversification of our fine art collection.

Painting: Oil vs. Acrylic vs. Watercolor

Oil on Canvas: Sandy Ostrau, Joe Vinson

Oil is a type of slow drying paint. It consists of particular pigments suspended in a drying oil. This kind of medium does not dry quickly. It blends into the surroundings and allows the blending of color. It produces vivid colors with a natural sheen and distinct context. It provides a surface translucency similar to human skin making it an ideal for portrait painting. Oil paint eventually became the principal medium used for creating artworks as its advantages became widely known. The transition began with Early Netherlandish painting in northern Europe, and by the height of the Renaissance oil painting techniques had almost completely replaced tempera paints in the majority of Europe.


Sandy Ostrau, Outdoor Seating, 18×12

Art Critic, John Seed describes Sandy Ostrau and her work, “An intuitive artist who loves paint as a substance — and who has a tendency to obliterate her imagery with painterly gestures — Ostrau doesn’t go all the way to abstraction. To do so would remove the emotional connection she wants viewers to have with her source material. “I’m not a fully abstract painter,” she explains: “I want people to feel the landscape.”

Tangerine 24x24- Joe Vinson

Joe Vinson, Tangerine, 24×24

Joe Vinson explains his love for oil painting, “I love painting, especially oil painting.  There is something wonderful and unique about the immediacy and totality of this art form.  I love its long history and the many forms that it has taken.”

Acrylic: Stuart Coleman Budd, Adele Yonchak

Acrylic is a fast drying paint allowing far less time than oil to blend colors and apply minute details unto the painting. It contains pigments suspended in polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are usually diluted with waters, but become water resistant when dry. Using acrylic, the artist must work far more quickly than if they were using oil.

Folly - SCB - 44x72 - $8,000

Stuart Coleman Budd, Folly, 44×72

Viaduct View - 30x30 - $1,100

Adele Yonchak, Viaduct View, 30×30

Watercolor: Ellen Levine Dodd

Watercolor is a painting method in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle. The traditional and most common support for watercolor paintings is paper; other supports include papyrus, bark papers, plastics, vellum or leather, fabric, wood and canvas. The art of water color began with the cave paintings of Paleolithic Europe, used in the manuscript illumination by the Egyptians, and continued to flourish during the European Renaissance. Water color paint consist of four principal ingredients; colorant (commonly pigment), binder, the substance that holds the pigment in suspension and fixes the pigment to the painting surface, additives, substance that alter the viscosity, hiding, durability or color of the pigment and vehicle mixture, lastly, the solvent, the substance use to thin or dilute the paint for application and that evaporates when the paint hardens or dry.

California Contemporary painter, photographer and printer

Ellen Dodd, Saguaro Sunset, 11×15
Sea Bluff 2 - ELD - 4x3

Ellen Dodd, Sea Bluff, 4×3


Mixed MediaKen Tate, Kinuko Hoffman or Kim Fonder 

Wait…. What does “Mixed Media” mean? Mixed media indicates that an artist used a variety (two or more) of mediums to produce a single artwork. 
Burberry - KT - 31x25 - $2,000

Ken Tate, Burberry, 31×25


Kim Fonder, Cieli Grigi E Blu Delle Nuvole, 60×72

143_Bliss_II_50x40 - Kinu Hoffman

Kinuko Hoffman, Bliss II, 50×40


CAUTION: Medium is not Texture!

Sometimes the best of us confuse medium with texture. Although medium contributes to the texture of a painting, the two terms are completely different. Texture refers to the tactile qualities of a work. Does it look smooth and glossy? Or rough, like sandpaper? Is the painting built up in drips/globs? The texture will differ depending on the medium that the artist chooses. We will discuss more of texture in a later post, so check in soon!


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!


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


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.


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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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.


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



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”


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