Monday, April 30, 2012

Principle Gallery Opening!

Women Painting Women - The Expedition and Beyond opening on April 13, 2012 in Alexandria, Virginia, was great fun.
American Art Collector Ad, April 2012
American Art Collector preview article, April 2012
Twelve of the thirteen artists who's work is on display were in attendance. (We missed you Kate Stone.)
It was a great experience for the artists and their new collectors. How often are the artists, their models and their collectors in the same room?

Here are the happy new owners of The Three Fates, and my models for the painting, Diane Feissel, Sadie Valeri and Alia El-Bermani.  

It's always a treat to meet new collectors and to have an opportunity to ask them why they relate to the work. After meeting Diana and Chip I have no doubt The Three Fates is going to a good home.

They enjoyed meeting the models/artists, and getting everyone's autographs in the catalog of the exhibition. The catalog is still available and on sale for $15.85 (marked down from $19.00). The publisher, MagCloud is having a spring sale through May 13, 2012. 

It was pretty much standing room only and the air was crackling with awesome energy.
Linda Tracey Brandon with her new collector and model/artist Mia Bergeron.
My daughter Carly, and my friend, Washington, DC area
artist Tricia Ratliff.
Tricia did a wonderful interview on her blog, Agile Arts Journal, of Diane, Sadie and Alia, the three Women Painting Women bloggers. Check it out, it has some great insight about the show.

I went back the next day to take some pictures of the installation with out the crowd.
Kate Stone
Sadie Valeri, Alex Tyng, Rachel Constantine
Cindy Procious, and a table for the catalogs and the
American Art Collector Magazine.
Sadie Valeri's glorious self portrait and a peek into the yellow room.
Alia  El-Bermani, Catherine Prescott, and Stefani Tewes.
Figure paintings look especially nice on those signature pumpkin colored walls at Principle Gallery.
Linda Tracey Brandon, Kate Stone, and Sadie Valeri

One need look no further than this section of the gallery to see how inspired by each other we are. Left to right, Diane Feissel's painting of Rachel Constantine, Alia El-Bermani's painting of Diane Feissel and my painting of Diane Feissel, Sadie Valeri and Alia El-Bermani.
Mia Bergeron
My little still-life, Hand in Glove.
I love this view of Rachel Constantine's self portrait and Alia El-Bermani's painting facing each other.

Stefani Tewes, Rachel Constantine
Some studies from The Expedition done on location in Charleston.
Shannon Runquist over the fireplace.

Stefani Tewes
Alex Tyng

You can see all 39 pieces in the show in the catalog. The show is up through mid May. Here's the video slide show preview of the exhibit.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Red Thread of Destiny

This is a commissioned painting that I recently finished. 
Terry Strickland, The Red Thread of Destiny - A Wedding Portrait, 28x40 and oil on canvas over panel, 2012
I am honored to have been asked to do this wedding portrait. At a time when same-sex marriage is still being debated I can't help but feel that I am documenting and celebrating with my paint an important event.

The painting says to the world,  "Why are we even having this discussion?  Of course it should be legal, love is love and marriage is about that and commitment."

The couple flew to Birmingham last October and we spent a fun day getting to know each other. We discussed our lives, their past and interests and the upcoming wedding.
They wanted a non-traditional portrait and are drawn to my work because of my use of symbolic imagery. They wanted me to incorporate my interpretation of their relationship into the work. Here a few close-ups of their faces.

Besides being very loving to each other they are accepting of other people. They are consummate travelers and have a respect for other cultures and religions. They are Presbyterians but will include the following religions in the wedding ceremony:

Buddhist (in Chinese and English)
Calvinist Christian (Presbyterian)
Coptic (in Coptic and English)
Hindu (in Sanskrit and English)
Humanist (in English)
Jewish (in Hebrew and English)

How cool is that?

The Red Thread of Destiny also called The Red String of Fate. It is a belief originating in East Asia. According to this myth, the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles or, in Japan, the little fingers of those that are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other.

The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break (I love this part). This myth is similar to the Western concept of soul mates or a twin flame. This concept became the focal point conceptually.
I wanted to include a live plant that would be symbolic of growing together and it turns out that one of the models great-grandparents brought an Easter cactus with them when they immigrated from the Netherlands. Each member of the family has a cutting from the plant.  I added bees to the painting, since bees are symbolic of a harmonious home. Turns out one of the models kept bees at one point so that idea was fortuitous.
One of the models designed the pattern on the wedding bands so I painted that engraved in one of the bricks. Bricks and wood are building materials so I thought they would be good symbolically to include. They serendipitously ended up in the photo shoot. The frame I had built to photograph them was not tall enough so we brought in the bricks. I ended up including them as a reminder of our time together in the studio.
One of the couple went to Princeton and the other's family is from the Netherlands, and the Dutch national color is orange, thus the link between the two that is the House of Orange. The main building of Princeton University is Nassau Hall, named after William III, Prince of Orange-Nassau, a member of the House of Orange. So I have included a bit of orange drapery.
The painting was finished off with a hand built frame made as a labor of love by my husband. It has about 10 layers of hand-rubbed tung oil for a finish. He uses furniture style construction. This one is poplar.
I will be delivering this piece in the next couple of weeks and am so excited to see their reaction to the painting.

Commissioned portraits are a collaborative effort and a friendship has been forged as we journeyed together through the design process.

There were countless hours of struggle with the paint, trying to transform these miserable elements of minerals and oil into a physical embodiment of love and commitment.

What a treasure I have been given, this opportunity to meet new people, to be asked to create a work of art to commemorate their love and life together.

I love my job!


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