My English Spot rabbit, Harriet, makes her debut in my newest monthly miniature painting. I was inspired by the forest still life paintings of Otto Mardeus van Schrieck a Dutch painter from the 1600’s.
Otto Mardeus van Schrieck
Van Schrieck’s paintings juxtapose light and dark. A sinister snake might lurk in the gloomy foreground while a radiant bloom or a moment of light glows from the background. The New York Times published an article about his work last November. It’s a really colorful read, and I highly recommend taking a look, if only to see some of his fascinating paintings.
Though some elements in my painting come directly from the careful study of a work of van Schrieck’s, I definitely took a lighter approach to my painting. I told my husband that, “I didn’t have such severe subject matter in me.” But after the painting was finished and signed, filled with flowers that reminded me of my family, a mountainous landscape that reminds me of my Pacific Northwest home, and insects, frogs and rabbits that remind me of my childhood, I had a miscarriage. It was the fifth since my son was born three years ago. After finding out, I picked up my paint brush and added a snake. I’m doing fine and my spirits are higher by the day. It’s just interesting, after all these years of painting, to recognize how much of myself I put into each one, however subtle or unconscious.
I hope you enjoy this month’s painting. Take a look below for some detail images. The Silvery Blue butterflies were particularly trying on the eyes!
My Self portrait painting has been selected as a finalist for the ARC Salon 2019 Competition!
I was fortunate to have my painting, “Admiral Vox” travel for last years exhibition and I couldn’t have been happier with how the Art Renewal Center (ARC) handled everything. It was such an incredible experience to have my artwork hanging alongside so many extraordinary pieces. I traveled to Barcelona to see the final installation of the exhibit at the MEAM which is a beautiful space. It’s inspiring to see so many contemporary artists pick up the tradition and make interesting work that’s relevant today. I couldn’t be happier to have another painting selected as a finalist.
Learn more about “Self Portrait – Expecting” in my previous blog post.
This year they received over 4,300 entries from 73 countries. The number of entries grew by more than 1,000 from last year! Winners will be posted July 1– please wish me luck!
“Leading the revival of realism in the visual arts, the Art Renewal Center (ARC), a 501(c)(3), non-profit, educational foundation, hosts the largest online museum dedicated to representational art and includes works by the old masters, 19th century, and 21st Century Artists as well as articles, letters and other online resources. The ARC is the foremost and only vetting service for representational art schools ensuring that the teaching curricula and quality of teacher and student work meet our strict standards to become ARC Approved™. The ARC Salon Competition, which is the largest and most prestigious competition in the world for realist artists painting, sculpting and drawing today with eleven categories and thousands of works competing, culminating in a traveling live exhibition of many of the winning works. The ARC works with other ARC Allied Organizations™, artist groups, museums, and publications to become a central news hub for the 21st Century Representational Art Movement. Read the ARC Philosophy written by ARC Chairman, Frederick C. Ross, to learn why ARC is so passionately dedicated to representational art.
The idea for the painting “Self Portrait – Expecting” came back when I was six months pregnant with my son and most of my reference images were gathered at that time. Rabbits were a big part of my childhood and I had two rabbits that lived in my painting studio. My rabbit Eleanor, was a natural addition to the painting. Not only did she sit at my feet while I painted, her species has been seen as a symbol of fertility for more than seven-hundred years.
I didn’t start painting “Self Portrait – Expecting” until my son was two and a half and after a series of miscarriages, I had recently learned that I was pregnant again. Eleanor had passed away since the photos were taken and right in the middle of working the painting, I lost yet another pregnancy, the fourth since my son was born. The act of making this painting was such a bitter sweet experience. The painting is about fertility, yet while making it, I was experiencing so much loss. I think that some of my resolve, the strength that I had to keep up for the sake of my two-year old made its way into my expression which changed throughout the painting process. In the end, the painting has become a reminder for me to be grateful and never give up hope.
This painting is on view at Arcadia Contemporary in the group show “ARC Visions 2019“ through March 2nd 2019.
I have three new rabbit paintings up at Arcadia Contemporary for the Art Renewal Center “ARC Visions 2019“, a group exhibition featuring the winners of the “Arcadia Contemporary Award” from the 13th Annual International ARC Salon. It’s an impressive group of artwork by eleven different artists and I had the privilege of meeting two of the artists at the opening, and another in Barcelona a couple of weeks before. Lovely people and extremely talented and dedicated artists. Go to Artsy to see all of the artwork in the exhibition. The exhibition is up through March 2nd.
The ARC Salon is an internationally revered competition that attracts submissions from some of the finest realist painters in the world.
The Art Renewal Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational foundation championing the revival of realism in the visual arts and is devoted to furthering the realist art movement and helping talented artists with strong technical skills thrive. Arcadia Contemporary is recognized as one of the premiere showcases for those artists.
Portrait of a Gentleman and Portrait of a Lady, oil on aluminum, 5″ x 5″
Making portraits of rabbits is serious (and silly) business
Living with animals means forming unusual patterns of communication and quite powerful loving bonds. These two bunnies reside in my painting studio and we’ve become quite good friends. I’ve made many paintings of them over the past several years, some silly and some serious. These two paintings take the prize for the most formal in the bunch, however, yet these portraits are also as serious and silly as the rabbits they portray.
17th century Dutch portraits heavily influenced how I composed these portraits. Vermeer’s, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is a prime example of this type of painting. My fascination for this genre can also be seen in my Into the Country monthly miniatures, created at the same time as these two.
The paintings explore our relationships with animals and their relationships with each other. I’ve spent most of my career painting portraits of people and my portraits of rabbits reflect that. There is an irony in a formal portrait painting of a rabbit because relationships between animals are seen as less legitimate than between humans. And more so this diptych since it anthropomorphizes the bond between this pair. Yet these two rabbits did dearly love each other and the feeling that an animal is “part of the family” is certainty not uncommon. So beyond being both silly and serious, they also feel at once ironic and genuine.
Remember when I said I had a dozen more mock up’s for rabbit paintings?
Thanks to Nicholas Dorman, painting conservator at the Seattle Art Museum, I was able to squeeze a few more paintings of rabbits into my busy schedule last year. As you may know, I currently split my studio schedule equally between personal and commissioned artworks and these paintings were a combination of the two!
The paintings were commissioned for his wife, whose maiden name is Rabbitt and their two children, whose middle names are also Rabbitt! I sent him all of those rabbit mock up’s that were on the back burner while I was working on a new monthly miniature project and he picked his favorite three. I feel so humbled and honored that he wanted to add some of my paintings to his collection when he gets to travel the world with the museum to conserve so many amazing paintings.
Setting Sail, pictured above, was inspired by a pose my rabbits struck in the studio. I like thinking of this one personifying Nick and his wife contemplating their adventures. Nick’s art history background influenced the other two paintings he chose for his son and daughter. The paintings were inspired by historical works by Hans Hoffmann and Matthias Withoos. I replaced Hans Hoffman’s hare and Matthias Withoos’s mushroom with my house rabbits who share the art studio with me.
A selection of never before exhibited paintings from the Into the Country series are on display at Gallery Frames in Seattle.
This body of work is inspired by memories of the animals my Dad kept during my childhood and from my mother in law’s and sister in law’s herds and flocks (and more). Portraits from the series are painted in a style inspired by the classical Dutch portrait, and continue a mood from the first miniature in my “Paintings of Rabbits” series. The series started with my Into the Country Monthly Miniature project which I was inspired to expand by creating several larger works including the painting above of the silkie rooster. He belonged to my mother in law and my husband and though his real name is Snowman, my husband has been calling him Admiral Vox for months and it stuck. All of the paintings in the series are in the same style, with a similar treatment to the background and how I’m lighting my subject, but each new animal brings their own unique challenges. I’ve loved having the opportunity to be able to focus on so many different kinds of creatures, exploring the different textures and expressions, and doing my best to bring a bit of their personalty to life with a pallet full of paint, some brushes and a loving eye
Rebecca Luncan’s Into the Country art opening
I always look goofy in photos, but here’s one of me next to my huge painting of my rabbit Charlie.
The paintings will be on display from December 1, 2016 through January 28, 2017
It’s been easy to forget all the good that there is in the world when I’m plugged into the computer, but I’ll spend my Thanksgiving offline, appreciating my little slice of happiness with my family. I wish you all health, wealth and happiness, and as much joy as I felt today, watching my (almost) eight-month-old son take his very first steps!
Now go to the store and order some of my new holiday cards, and send a bunny to someone you love. 🙂
I’m thrilled to show five new rabbit paintings at this lovely gallery in Olympia. Most art galleries fold within just four years, so Childhood’s End Gallery’s 45th Anniversary is really something special. Please join me in celebrating the birthday of this gem of a space.
Olympia only does an art walk twice a year, and it’s a very lively affair that’s well worth the trip for you Seattle folks, especially if you’ve never been.
Three of the paintings are formal miniature portraits fitted into antique frames. I’ve been holding on to these frames for a few years, and I think I’ve found just the right images to fill them. Take a look below and I hope you’ll agree!
Portrait of a Gentleman, oil on copper, 5” x 5” (framed)
Portrait of a Lady, oil on copper, 5” x 5” (framed)
Portrait of an Orphan, , oil on aluminum, 5 ½ ” x 5 ½ ” (framed)
The White Rabbit – September 2016, oil on copper, 4″ x 4″
A Memorial Portrait: The passing of Ellie
My Ellie passed away quite suddenly this past month. The vet saw her for an eye irritation but found nothing too concerning, just a tiny scratch on her eye. But Ellie died the very next evening. We don’t know why she died so suddenly, but we miss her.
It’s a sad thing, but having so many animals in childhood helped teach me to be thankful, that death doesn’t diminish the gifts of life. Ellie was a sweet friend to her brother Charlie, and I’ll miss her hopping around the house, and snuggling at my feet while I paint. She was a great muse, and it comforts me that I was painting her portrait when she passed for the Monthly Miniature – Into the Country series.
We kept one early painting of Ellie for ourselves, and I’m glad we did. A portrait has a freshness and a life of its own that makes the subject feel close, that keeps them alive and well in our hearts. It’s a hard thing to explain why a painting should feel more significant than, say, the photo it’s based on, but I think it’s the care put into making it. Because it’s a totally unique object, we give it meaning.
Please enjoy the newest painting of Ellie and join me in remembering her fondly. You can find more paintings of her in the Monthly Miniature – Rabbit’s series.
Rest in peace little Ellie! You will be very missed.