Two new paintings for the Capitol Art Society exhibit at the Austin airport are very Texan! The first is a painting of a beloved central Texas Longhorn named Lanie, and is currently on display next to BookPeople at ABIA.
In the event that "Texas Longhorn" sells, I have "Even Cowgirls Get the Blue(bonnets)" as a replacement.
Both oil paintings are 16" x 20"
I just completed a portrait of Roman, my amazing dance coach. He absolutely burns the floor, so I added a red hot sky to his Paso Doble pose.
I think this one makes a great companion to the portrait of his dance partner Sasha. She is very beautiful and incredibly strong, and a wonderful coach as well.
They both love nature and I'm thrilled to have them be included in my Heavenly Bodies series.
I bought a Banksy mask to make me feel brave during this scary year. I'm vaccinated now, and feel like I can exhale. Ahhhhh!
I have two pieces in this show about important issues of our time. I'm honored that my "Breonna, Say Her Name" was used to advertise the show. It also sold during the show, which closes April 24.
The other piece is called Earthlings. We share this earth with other humans and other species. We need to treat each other and the earth with respect.
Twenty-two of my miniature paintings are on display in an open house showing in Taylor, Texas. I am one of five artists who were invited to show art in a beautifully renovated mid-century modern house. The open house is Saturday, April 24, and artist reception will be the following Saturday, May 1.
A new work in the series of "Heavenly Bodies," I find myself painting Karla, a favorite model. Similar to a piece I did a year ago (see below), I have the figure blend with the background (sky). I love the idea of becoming the sky, or trees, or other part of nature. People, especially city dwellers, tend to separate ourselves from the natural world, and I think we are less happy for it.
I usually work with a semi-limited palette of Windsor red, Alizarin crimson, Windsor yellow, ultramarine blue, Titanium white, and transparent red iron oxide. To get the brilliance of the Aurora Borealis sky, I added Phthalo turquoise.
After finding out that most of the gallery exhibits I was slated for this year were postponed or virtual, I decided to make good use of my time by painting daily portraits for 100 days. This daily practice was challenging, but I've seen improvement in both speed and execution. When I started the challenge, it would take a 7-8 hour day to complete a portrait; by the end most took about 5 hours. I didn't plan what I would paint; sometimes it would be an actor that I saw on Netflix the night before, other times it would be a master copy. A few were family, friends, or Instagram followers.
It wasn't always easy to post the unsuccessful ones, but it was part of the Instagram challenge (hosted by fellow artist AJ Alper). I had an incredible amount of support from friends and followers; I seriously doubt I could have stuck with it without them.
This is what 100 portraits looks like (minus the few that sold and the few that were painted over.
A few favorite master copies; I loved following in their brushstrokes!
A series of small portraits of the original cast of the hit musical Hamilton.
These small studies are 5"x 7" and 6" x 6," oil on panel, $120 each
All available except Groff/King George and Daveed Diggs/Jefferson.
Like most everyone else in the world, I've been sheltering for months. My studio is in my backyard, so I'm still painting daily. Sometimes it's just a quick alla prima (wet on wet) study, and other times it's a more detailed piece. These two were painted for an upcoming exhibit called "The Art of Peace" at the Dougherty Arts Center in Austin this coming December.
The first is called "Shelter" and is 11"x14," oil on linen. The second is "In the Water," 20"x16," oil on aluminum.
These two recent deaths, in the hands of police who should be protecting and serving, have been a catalyst for protest, and for reforms in police policy and practices. Like the rest of the nation, I am grief-stricken and confused about how I can help our nation. I am actively learning how to be a better ally to my Black and Brown friends and neighbors, as well as PoC communities in general. Being silent allows systemic and pervasive racism to continue. We must speak up now if we are to have true progress.
I painted these two alla prima studies, to help me process my grief. Rest in Peace, Mr. Floyd and Ms. Taylor.
Rhea Groepper Pettit
New works, new ideas.