Uncorking Creativity: One Artist’s Experience

Monday, September 30, 2013 - by Diane Siskin

“It was just a matter of time, said San Francisco artist Ann Rea, “just as cooks and singers have fascinated audiences with their creative processes, now I, as a painter, have taken an innovative approach to my craft.”

Ms. Rea’s entrepreneurial art project takes something as ordinary as a vineyard filled with growing vines and reproduces the setting in a series of studies featuring richer, bolder paint color, defined use of shadows and the magical sun-light of the Northern California wine country.

In the process she has created a form of heirloom art; combing vineyard settings for a patron commission. Ms. Rea has brought the collaborative perspective of the artist and vineyard growers together in an “artisanal art for winemakers.”

And where consistency is usually important in wine preparation, the art that reflects it is a welcome contrast.

Ms. Rea came to her field of forte in painting when she questioned assumptions about how to market her art.

She now employs as part of her business plan a full-bodied, but crisp take on a target market, art and wine lovers.

“People buy art on vacation. Likewise people who buy and collect wine also often collect art,’’ explained the artist when we met recently in San Francisco. So the artist extended her creativity to inventive marketing strategy.

“The world is changing, and with the aid of technology and easy communications, artists can grow their business and control the sales of their art,” she said. There is no longer a disconnect between business and art.”

Of course, in the process of creating this new way of connecting art lovers and artists, Ms. Rea has expanded her vision beyond vineyards to gardens and other entities.

She has also developed a new kind of “art salon” where art and wine are combined to reach a variety of patrons from individuals, corporations to charities. All have the same direction in mind, coupling art lovers with a way to get up close and personal with an artist.

“I found that people love to be involved in the creative process, whether it is by attending cooking schools or watching new singing talent perform on television,’’ explained Ms. Rea. Artist Rea also thought that likewise many people find it difficult to form a personal relationship with an artist whose work they admire.

So Ms. Rea, who has been featured on HGTV, in Fortune and Wine Enthusiast magazines, set her creative juices on a search for a way to bring this desire to fruition.

During our discussion, Ms. Rea related her own path to enlightenment as series of a steps and missteps in the corporate world. One past step did encourage her vision.

“I was working with a focus group on the marketing of the Saturn car, when I questioned why the GM Automobile Group couldn’t bring out an auto with a fixed price, so that customers, especially women, wouldn’t have to haggle over a car’s price.

The Saturn car did debut as a fixed-priced vehicle and enjoyed many years of excellent sales.  So that aspect of past experience was helpful in launching Ann Rea’s Experience of Art.

The simplicity of how it works makes the journey even more special for everyone involved.

For Ann Rea working and living in San Francisco made traveling to the fabulous Northern California wine country of Sonoma and Napa valleys readily accessible. The unusual sun-light of the area infused the landscapes with breathtaking views. So utilizing the beautiful vineyards of the state as the basis, her first project was born

Once a patron connection was made, Ann would visit the vineyard with patron(s) on several occasions and at different times of day.

She would then go back to her studio and paint studies of those visits. Sometimes the studies were just in sepia. She would also keep a diary of her work which her patrons could follow online.

“After all,’’ said Ann laughingly, “who doesn’t like reading someone’s diary?”

 Artist Rea’s visions of those visits to the vineyards are sometimes serene, sometimes sophisticated, sometimes hip and free form and sometimes all of the above at once.

She draws on the tradition of the French impressionists and the influences of her mentor, contemporary painter Wayne Thiebaud.

“The equation rests on pairing my client’s view of the setting to mine. They (the clients) generally choose their art to be reflective of their lives and interests. Therefore, “I am offering them an autobiographical insight into their spirit. The painting, or paintings, I create is a summary statement of who they are and how they focus their energies.””

The pairing of the art and wine is actually about the vineyards and the sense of place they provide for many people.

Once the studies are complete the collectors (patrons) get to choose which painting(s) Ms. Rea will reinterpret on a larger custom-sized canvas.

In one commission for a couple who owned a vineyard, Ms. Rea created four custom-sized monochrome sepia oil paintings on wood panels. “These sepia panels are the initial part of painting where I define light and shadow before I layer on color,’’ said Ms. Rea.

In fact, artist Rea likes to show the color laying process. “My colors are heavy (she uses oil and linseed) and they take a long-time to dry.’

“Since sometimes my final painting is used to celebrate a special occasion, such as birthday, wedding, anniversary or as a thank you gift for a business associate, it is unveiled at some sort of celebration.

“I love being able to present the final work in this manner,’’ said Ms. Rea, “I love to see the reaction the recipient experiences upon receiving the gift.”

Along with the painting, Ann Rea‘s produces a beautiful coffee table size book which enables her patrons to see the whole painting experience from start to finish.

For the remainder of this year, Ann Rea’s four sepia oil paintings, a copy of the book produced about this series and video are on display in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in East Palo Alto, California.

For more information or to contact Ms. Rea, www.annrea.com or email: annrea@annrea.com

Diane Siskin

dianesiskin@mediacombb.net



Tennessee National Guard Prepared If Need Arises During Eclipse

From Clarksville to Athens, Tennessee is at the epicenter of next week’s eclipse. With the eclipse comes thousands of visitors, and the Tennessee National Guard is well prepared. Guard Soldiers and Airmen will work with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to support local and state authorities as needed.  "This is part of the Guard’s dual mission, we not only fight ... (click for more)

Rotary District Governor Speaks At Rotary Club Of Chattanooga Hamilton Place

Rotary District 6780 Governor spoke at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place this week.  Deborah Alexander-Davis addressed the club, discussed upcoming events, and thanked the club for donating over $399,000 to the Rotary Foundation.  Ms. Alexander-Davis also provided insights and encouragement regarding the Rotary's focus.   Rotary is dedicated to six ... (click for more)

City Seeks To Be Removed As Trustee Of Confederate Cemetery

Mayor Andy Berke on Friday said he has asked City Attorney Wade Hinton, on behalf of the city of Chattanooga, to file the necessary paperwork "to confirm the city is no longer listed as a trustee of a Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street." Mayor Berke said, “Our action today makes it clear that the city of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and ... (click for more)

Judy Kay Peer, 69, Killed When Train Hits Her Car At Hamill Road Crossing In Hixson

Judy Kay Peer, 69, was killed on Friday night when a train struck her car in Hixson on Friday night. Ms. Peer, a Hixson resident, was driving a 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Police said she  was traveling west on Hamill Road and had stopped at the railroad crossing. The gates were extended with flashing lights and a sounding bell. A train that was traveling northbound on ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (8)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Confronting Racism In Public Education

Like most Americans, we have been bothered by the news in recent days. And as we have struggled to understand the racial issues that continue to confront our nation, we are left to ponder the issue even more within the context of public education.  The vast majority of Americans know that racism is wrong. It is one of the few issues on which almost everyone can agree. We ... (click for more)