11" x 14" Oil on Board
Every Easter I paint a rabbit or hare, as this is the time of year I start to notice cottontails on the greenbelt behind my house. Sometimes we have backyard visitors, which thrills me to no end. I decided to do a bit different one, just for fun. If we get a cottontail visitor soon, I'm sure I'll paint a proper rabbit, but for now, I hope this brings a smile.
11" x 14" Oil on Board
The statistics for African American youth are shocking, and disheartening. They are far more likely to be arrested than their white classmates. We've seen the video clips of them being mistreated, and even killed by law enforcement. They often are poor, and understandably feel the system is not on their side. So different than my upbringing. My heart breaks for these young boys and girls, who have the decks stacked against them from day one. Black lives absolutely matter, and we need to do more to insure their equal rights.
This commission of champion Ballroom dancers Denis and Jolie Generalov was a great experience; one filled with challenges and growth! They had a frame already, so that dictated the size. It's big (26" x 34"), and the reference photo of the pose was very small (1.5" tall), but they were so helpful, providing extra profile pictures for reference. They gave me artistic freedom to do my slightly abstract style, and pick my color palette.
I was a little intimidated by the project, so I worked on it off and on for 2 months, completing a bunch of small paintings as I figured the big one out. This year I pledged to go bigger, and this was a great push in that direction!
Side note: I have been a Ballroom (Latin) dancer for 20+ years. Denis has been my coach and Pro/Am partner for 7 or 8 years. I am good friends with him and his beautiful wife Jolie, and am very honored that they trusted me to paint them dancing! They retired from competitive dancing before I met them; I would have loved to see them dance together!
What an incredible show to be a part of! 150+ art works, including painting, sculpture, photography, and fiber arts, held at the Texas State University campus in Round Rock, Texas. The opening reception/gala was March 4, and included live performances, including a small symphony that played throughout the evening. Also on hand were dessert stations with delicacies by local confectionery wizards. The venue is really beautiful and spacious. Even though there was a large crowd, it was easy to see all of the art up close.
I was honored to have my "2016" (self portrait of a tough year) included this year. If you live in the North Austin/Pflugerville/Round Rock/Georgetown corridor, I suggest you take an hour to check this one out. The show runs through May 5.
Texas State University Round Rock Campus
1555 University, Round Rock, Texas
"We are stronger in the places that we've been broken" – Ernest Hemingway
This concept of kintsugi (mending pottery with gold) seemed perfect for the Statue of Liberty. As a nation, we are becoming more divided, which makes me fearful. I hold onto my faith in the Constitution and the democracy that our founding fathers so painstakingly created to keep our country strong, even in these uncharted times. This piece was sold in auction and the proceeds were donated to NRDC, because our environment is being threatened. #takeactionauction
Presidents Day inspired me to paint the best presidents (ranked by historians). I really enjoyed reading about each of these men, and "getting to know them" through the painting process. All great leaders who tirelessly and seriously worked for the people they served.
I plan to do at least 12, which will make a nice symmetrical display. These are small studies (6" x 6"), each completed in 3 hours. Oil on cradled birch board.
1: Abraham Lincoln (16)
2: George Washington (1)
3. Franklin D. Roosevelt (32)
2017 is already off to a great start! I have several commissions recently completed and in the works, and a couple of shows I'd like to share. The first is a cat-themed art show at Counter Culture, an Austin restaurant. This is a very fun show with a wide variety of cats on display. I chose a couple of wild cats to display (lion and tiger). If you are in town, stop by for amazing vegan food and enjoy the art!
Counter Culture, 2337 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin (show up through March)
My "Goat" is on its way to The Conroe Art League 2017 Invitational Show! Such an honor to be included in this show, which runs through February.
The Conroe Art League, 127 Simonton St., Conroe, TX
Been a roller coaster year; a real mix of wonderful experiences and lots to cry about as well. I experienced several losses in 2016. I'm lucky that I have a creative outlet; painting is great therapy! I'm interested in faces that are partially obscured, and this self portrait is further exploration of that concept. Hope y'all like it!
Oil on linen, 20" x 16"
"The world breaks everyone, then some become strong at the broken places." ~Ernest Hemingway
The Sioux at Standing Rock are amazingly strong and resilient. That they have protested the pipeline since April, and have withstood freezing temperatures, pepper spray, rubber bullets and water spray, yet remain strong is incredible to me. I used gold foil as "kintsugi" to express that strength and beauty. More in this series to come. #standwithstandingrock
Like most of the people I know, I was excited for the election. I knew it would be close, but the polls all pointed to Hillary being our next president. This painting started out as a celebration of women breaking the biggest glass ceiling. In retrospect, it is one more case that for women, it's not enough to be the smartest, most qualified person to get the job. That she lost to someone who has no experience, doesn't seem to know or care how government works, and has openly encited the radical right to lash out at racial and religious minorities makes me fearful for the next four years.
I do believe that we've come very far since women gained the right to vote in 1920, and all races gained the right in 1965. I pray that we continue to embrace our diversity and personal freedoms.
Rhea Groepper Pettit
New works, new ideas.