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.
The fourth in a series of playing cards (almost a straight!), this is of two iconic masters of contemporary art, and personal favorites of mine.
I love that these dual portraits can easily be displayed either way, depending on your taste, or whim.
Oil on aluminum, 16" x 20" available
As we isolate and try to stay well, this series of figures in nature takes on new meaning. Not only is nature healing spiritually, the world is getting cleaner as the human ecological footprint becomes smaller. These two works are part of my "Heavenly Bodies" series that will be shown at an upcoming exhibit at the Dougherty Arts Center in Austin, Texas.
Jump, 20" x 24" oil on canvas
Field of Dreams, 16" x 20" oil on linen
I love painting dual portraits; they are visual reminders of connection. These new portraits use the convention of playing cards to honor those in the arts across generations. New artists are always influenced to some degree by those who came before them. They add their own brand of genius, then pay it forward to the next generation. I'm influenced by so many artists who came before me, many with styles vastly different than mine.
Here are a few "love letters" to some real geniuses. Using the playing card design means these paintings can be hung 2 ways. All are 16" x 20," oil on aluminum.
After doing a series of miniature still lives for the holidays, I decided I wanted to take the concept of painting food with a "bird's eye view" much bigger. I originally planned to use healthy fruits and veggies as subjects, but after painting the plums, I wanted chocolate! Not only because I love dark chocolate, but the fancy shapes & designs of luxury chocolates appealed to the designer in me.
These two will make their public debut in the show "High Five: Celebrating 5 Women Artists" at the Old Bakery Gallery in downtown Austin in April.
I am very honored that my "Dancing with the Stars" won 3rd place in the 2D category at the statewide juried Fall Show by Round Rock Arts. The show is in the beautiful main building at Texas State University in Round Rock, Texas (just north of Austin), and continues through December 6.
Hope Floats is the newest in my series of "Heavenly Bodies," painted for an upcoming show at the Dougherty Art Center in Austin, Texas. We live in stressful times, and self care is important. The more connected to nature we are, the happier we are. Floating in water is so soothing and relaxing; it really melts stress away!
12" x 24"
Oil on Linen
Rhea Groepper Pettit
New works, new ideas.