Several months ago, I embarked on my first portrait commissions of two lovely young sisters - one on each side of the border of adolescence. I knew the paintings would be hung together in the family home now and eventually each of the girls would receive their own portrait. It was important for me to create visual continuity and respect the request of the parents to "keep them young" while honoring the true ages and individuality of these blossoming young women. I had them sit outside, with the afternoon light framing their hair to create a warm glow. I positioned them so each would have a different, but complementary pose. The family's garden has a memorable pink bougainvillea shrub, so I alluded to it in a loose impression in the background, which will give the paintings a forever sense of "home." Painting both from life and photo reference has been an incredible experience for me, and when I delivered the girl's portraits today, I got a misty-eyed hug from a very happy mom - and that made every beautiful moment of struggle worth it!
Click on each of the images to see the full painting. Would you like to commission a painting? Read more here.
I have always been a daydreamer. I think this painting of me, at 16, captures that. But, I am also a firm believer in intention - in stating those day dreams, wishes and goals. I believe I make my own luck and I am also very pragmatic - I know I have to put in the work if things are going to work out!
I am a crazy multi-tasker. I have marketing clients and serve on the board of directors of two local non-profits. I am building my career as an artist. I am blessed with a wonderful and supportive husband and two independent and talented sons who are finding their way in the world. My friends are forever.
This is the time of year I take stock - in what has happened and what is ahead. The year 2013 saw lots of "firsts" in my artistic career - I was awarded my first artist's residency, my work was shown in two San Francisco gallery shows, and I had a big turnout for my "First Tuesday" show in Mill Valley. Many paintings found new homes - but there are more than usual on the walls in the studio. There was unexpected and fun media attention when my "encore career" was highlighted in an AARP publication, and a photo of me in my new home art studio made the front page of the local paper. My e-book "Art Marketing Basics" sales increased three-fold, and I am delighted to be putting my marketing expertise to work helping some fantastic artists with their websites, blogs, social media and business goals. I spent many hours this year drawing and painting from live models and I am very close to completing two portrait painting commissions.
I have so many art ideas for 2014! I intend to do more plein air painting, turn a sketchbook of landscapes into studio paintings, create large scale prints, apply for another artist residency, enter juried shows and continue my studies. I will participate in Marin Open Studios in May and have my home studio always open by appointment. I would be honored to create something special for you.
In recent years, November became "Gratitude month." I don't know how it started, but I like it.
As an artist, I want to share my excitement for what I am doing, and thank people for their interest and support.
At every art show, I randomly choose a "winner" from the guest book and send them a print. But how can I say thanks for the likes, the comments and the shares, especially from website, blog and social media fans I haven't met?
A few years ago, I had the idea to start giving away paintings and prints on Facebook. It started with a painting of a single pear, and a few times each year, someone out there receives a gift package. At last count, ten paintings and prints have been given in that spirit of gratitude.
On November 1, I posted the painting "Balancing Act" as a giveaway on Facebook, to honor all those package delivery people whose jobs get a lot more difficult during the holidays. The post was liked and shared and reached over 3,000 people! A woman named Pat commented that she used to live right near that location but had moved away. She shared the post and said she would love to win the painting. All of a sudden, there was a groundswell of shares and comments and pleas and promises made to "give the painting to Pat!" I did not know Pat, but realized she must be a woman who had touched people with a generous spirit - and they all wanted her to have the painting. The winner has always been selected at random, but this outpouring made me rethink the process. So, I chose Pat.
I've since learned who Pat is. After a colorful life as a San Francisco socialite, she has spent the past 30 years doing humanitarian work for peace around the world and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times! I suspect that Pat Montandon has "paid it forward" with gratitude often - and it feels good to know that by selecting her as the winner, her Facebook friends and fans got to share their thanks back.
Saying thank you is contagious -- and if you would like to send a note of gratitude to someone in your life, I'll send a free notecard to write it on! The first 10 people who leave a message in the comments will get a card - be sure to send me your address using the contact form on my website. (If you would like to purchase cards, you can do that here.)
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
In November and December, galleries know that people are looking for gifts, and they put out calls for small, affordable paintings.
"Baseball" is headed to the "tiny show" at Studio Gallery in San Francisco. Here are a few more small paintings that will head to shows if not sold before the November 1st submission deadline. If you are interested, get in touch quickly for a good deal! I will discount the price by the equivalent of show entry fee - so we both will save.
It's not every day your picture gets in a national magazine. In my lifetime, it has happened three times. The first time was during my first job as a marketing assistant for a teen fashion magazine in New York. The model they had booked for a shoot on DIY hair highlights didn't show, so they grabbed me and off we went to the studio. The original magazine is packed away, but I did keep one of the "out-takes" after the stylist took out the hair barrettes and let me shake my hot-rollered head with abandon. The second time was a few years later, when I was plucked out of fashion show audience at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York for a hair and makeup shoot for the young woman's style magazine, Mademoiselle. And now, (GULP) I am one of those baby boomers in AARP. Is this a symbolic journey -- from teen model to elder? In any case, it's been, and still is, a great ride!
The AARP article is about encore careers - in my case - using my marketing career to help artists promote their work. I've written a book about how I used my professional skills to launch my art career, and I work with artists on developing their marketing strategies, websites, blogs and social media presence. A quote from the article sums it all up: "I've found the perfect job because I get to do everything I love."
Thanks for being a part of my adventures!
It's been two months since I posted to my blog. It's been a great summer, and it ended with a wonderful week in Hawaii. I've been home a week and my studio is overflowing with frames and boxes and hardware. I'm getting ready for a show at the Chalk Hill Residency on October 6th.
I harnessed the power of social media last night to gather opinions on which frames worked for which paintings. It was great to see the conflict and consensus - and I will now take photos of all paintings in various frames to give collectors an option if they don't favor the one I eventually use!
I'm currently working on a fun commission - portraits of two beautiful young sisters. My process always begins with meeting and sketching my models, and creating thumbnail drawings of the recommended composition. The girls will be painted in an outdoor setting, with afternoon sun rim-lighting their hair.
I have time for one more commission before the holidays, so if you are thinking of a great gift for someone special...now is the time to get in touch!
I have always loved Claude Monet's "Haystack" paintings - a series of paintings studying the effects of light on the piles of hay on his property in Giverny, France. When I travel in farm country, I am always looking for painting locations with bales of hay in the fields. Sometimes the bales are rolled and round, and other times they are cubed. But this summer, I was quite dismayed to find bales of hay shrink wrapped in white plastic. It's not a look that makes for a painting I want to paint! Here's a hay painting I did, called "Sonoma Hay." The original was sold, but prints are available. I am headed to Sonoma this week for a day or two of painting. I will be on the hunt for unwrapped hay bales before they disappear from the landscape!
I grew up in New York City. On weekend visits to my grandparents home in the country, I had casual encounters with a large vegetable garden, some chickens and rabbits. Occasionally, I dug worms and caught a fish from the lake. Not a sheep, goat, horse, cow or barn in sight. But now, farms are one of my favorite things to paint. Go figure!
My Northern California home offers great access to the agricultural land in West Marin, Sonoma and Napa. The colors of the fields, hills, mountains, vineyards and vistas change faster than the colors of the neon lights on Broadway.
Here are a few recent farm paintings. "Grazing" was painted this spring in Sonoma, and today the little lambs are being sent to a new home in Massachusetts where they'll live happily ever after.
Mt. Tamalpais, Bayfront Park Spring, 20 x 40 Oil
Hanging an art show takes time and patience. The opening night of a show over in a flash. Then the show hangs, until it's time to take it down. Pieces that have sold are delivered to new collectors, and the rest is packed up and taken back to the studio.
My June landscape show opening (at Alain Pinel in Mill Valley, California) had over 100 visitors for art, conversation, and a glass of wine. It was a great opportunity to show my latest work to old and new friends, collectors and interested guests.
If you weren't able to see the show in person, here's a look at some of the new, and still-available paintings, all beautifully framed. Click on the image for a larger view, size and price:
Tomorrow it will be time to load boxes, padding and tools into the back of the Prius and unhang it all. Some pieces are headed to new homes, others are headed to photography for prints and notecards. But tonight, I will put away wet paints and clean out the studio to make room for what's coming back. And I pick a winner - not a painting, but a person.
At every show, I ask people to sign a guest book and one person is randomly selected to win a print. This time, the print was "Mill Valley Depot," and winner is Lydia Maroevich. Congratulations!
Had some fun this week finding things to paint in San Francisco for a show at the STUDIO Gallery. The rules of the show were to paint within the boundaries of the ZIP code 94109 between May 25 and June 1. Here are two paintings of mine that will be in the show. When I dropped them off at the gallery today I saw lots of good, fun work. The opening reception is Sunday, June 2, from 2-6 pm at STUDIO Gallery, 1815 Polk Street (between Washington and Jackson). See a preview here.
About the artist
Linda Rosso is a California artist who delights in the colors she sees out of the corners of her eyes. Read more...
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