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Welcome to my new blog! I am Chicago artist J. Loren Reedy. As the title of this post says I create paintings for people who love color. First of all, let me thank you for taking time visit my blog. I hope you'll return often and tell others about it as well.
Here I'll be sharing lots of information for people who are interested in art:
• I'll share many of the paintings I have created along with short stories about them and how they came to be.
[CLICK HERE to learn about the painting to the left.]
• I'll share articles I've found helpful from fellow artists and articles about the whole creative "art process".
• I'll recommend websites which I've found exciting – in addition to my own :-)
• Occasionally I find books that shape my thinking as an artist. I'll write short reviews of these and tell you why I think they're important.
• I'll talk about my own journey as an artist – new things I'm trying, new things I'm learning about painting, and places I'm exhibiting my art.
AND much more.
In this first post, I thought I'd just share a little about myself so you can get to know me a bit better and how I got interested in art.
Many people recall childhood interests in drawing or painting accompanied by dreams of some day becoming an artist. A few lucky ones develop skills under the mentorship of a close artist relative or family acquaintance.
As a youth, growing up in a small farming community in south-central Illinois, I showed no particular artistic inclination. The community offered no sources of artistic inspiration – no art museums, galleries, not even an art class in school.
In the early elementary grades I dutifully colored within the lines of my coloring books, as instructed, and in high school doodled sketches of "cool" sports cars of tomorrow. No real evidence of an artistic bent there.
In college, following the footsteps of my most inspiring teacher, I majored in English and minored in journalism and history. One term I took the only formal art course I've ever had. The class worked in watercolor and we painted nothing but seedpods for twelve weeks!
However, I learned an important lesson from this class that I have never forgotten. I discovered that there is art in the seemingly mundane and taken for granted. The possibilities are literally limitless. I came to realize that it is not so much the subject that makes a good painting – it is how the artist interprets the subject. A small painting of a tree in misty morning light can be as arresting as a giant, detailed painting of the Grand Canyon.
For several years I taught English and journalism at the secondary school level, then became a bureaucrat for the Illinois Department of Human Services. During my years with that agency I married and raised a family.
My interest in the visual arts found its first expression in photography. For a dozen years or so I pursued photography as a serious hobby. I was especially interested in creative and casual portraiture. Even today I am most comfortable composing prospective paintings through the viewfinder of a camera.
I do not know where I got the notion that I wanted to paint. Whatever the motivating source, within weeks of retiring, I purchased my first how-to-paint book ("The Big Book of Painting Nature in Oil" by S. Allyn Schaeffer), which continues to get me out of some problematic situations. And within three months of retiring I was on a plane bound for Maui to decide if the island would become my new home. I lived there for eleven and a half years.
Today I make my home in Chicago. I absolutely love the city and it has become the new focus and subject of most of my paintings. I am also painting mostly with acrylics these days rather than with oils, where I began.
I suppose one would say I am self-taught, if there really is such a process. We unconsciously learn so much from images and impressions all around us and nothing in the vacuum of isolation.
I pour over art magazines and books and have learned a lot from them. I visit galleries whenever possible. I participated in three formal workshops during my time living in Maui. I was privileged to learn from such notables as mainland artist Hope Stevenson, internationally renown plein aire artist Kevin McPherson, and premiere Maui painter Ronaldo Macedo.
Photographs are often the initial reference point for my paintings. However, when I paint I move away from the photographs and try to capture the many moods of the city and its people on the canvas. This blog will frequently demonstrate this process.
Again I thank you for taking time to visit my blog and please come back often.
I'd also love to connect with you on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/JLorenReedy