IGOR Realist Art Opening at Winfield Gallery in Carmel

Artist Rebecca Luncan at art opening with her family

Artist Rebecca Luncan at art opening with her family at Winfield Gallery in Carmel, California

The whole family flew down to California to attend the art opening for The International Guild of Realism’s 12th annual International Juried exhibition.

The prestigious Winfield Gallery in the heart of the Carmel Art District is hosting the exhibit this year, held from September 23rd through October 23rd. Artists traveled from all over the world to attend the opening reception. My appearance at this opening gave me the opportunity to meet wonderful artists, as well as the leadership of IGOR. It was also a great opportunity to make new friends that are as passionate about realism as I am. As you can see in the image above, my paintings were in great company. With over a hundred painting’s selected from different guild members, the subject matter varied, but the craftsmanship did not. See all of the works included in the exhibition.

human and animal figurative portraits by Rebecca Luncan

“Admiral Vox”, oil on aluminum, 8″ x 8″ and “Vigil”, oil on aluminum, 15″ x 15″

Two Paintings Accepted

I had two paintings accepted into the show and I was doubly privileged to also receive the “Creative Achievement” award. I usually treat my animal portraits much like my portraits of people and tend to keep them rather formal. Both of these paintings are part of two different larger series of work. Admiral Vox is part of my Into the Country series, which focuses on portraits of a wide array of animals all painted in a classical Dutch portrait style.  Vigil is part of a series of figurative paintings of my lovely sister in law, Molly.

International Guild Of Realism's 12th Annual exhibition

International Guild Of Realism’s 12th Annual exhibition

About the Gallery:

Winfield Gallery was founded in 1989 by Christopher Winfield. Their principal focus is the representation of contemporary art by established, mid-career and emerging artists whose diverse practices include painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics and photography. The gallery hosts multiple exhibitions a year and maintains a deep commitment to promote our artists’ careers. Winfield Gallery collaborates with museum curators, produce catalogs and books, establish relationships with the press and continue collector education and development. The gallery creates an atmosphere that builds bridges between the creative work, collectors and art enthusiasts at all levels.”

Portraits of a Lady and Gentleman, Formal Portraits of Rabbits in Miniature

Pair of rabbit miniature portraits

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.

Animal Portraits in a Mini Art Exhibit!

animal portrait rabbit art miniature drawing on paper by Rebecca Luncan

Eleanor, pencil on paper, 3.3″ x 5″

The holiday season brings mini artwork!

Come by Ghost Gallery to see hundreds of pieces under 12″ made by artists from around the world. There’s an enormous variety of artwork made using different styles and mediums. Go to their website or to Capital Hill neighborhood in Seattle to see them all in person! I’ve been doing lots of drawings lately and have given them some of these animal portraits to add to the mix.

animal portrait calf art miniature drawing on paper by Rebecca Luncan

Lucy, pencil on paper, 4″ x 4″

Childhood’s End Gallery for Fall Arts Walk

Print

 

Join me for Olympia’s Fall Arts Walk!

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 brown rabbit, miniature oil painting on copper by Rebecca Luncan

Portrait of a Gentleman, oil on copper, 5” x 5” (framed)

 

Portrait of a white rabbit, miniature oil painting on copper by Rebecca Luncan

Portrait of a Lady, oil on copper, 5” x 5” (framed)

 

Portrait of a rabbit, miniature oil painting on copper by Rebecca Luncan

Portrait of an Orphan, , oil on aluminum, 5 ½ ” x 5 ½ ” (framed)

 

Memorial Portrait: An Unexpected Loss

The White Rabbit, Oil painting miniature by Rebecca Luncan

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.

The Artist’s Magazine 33rd Annual Art Competition

Reclining Rabbit oil painting miniature by Rebecca Luncan

Reclining Rabbit – November 2015, oil on aluminum, 4.25″ x 3/25″

“Reclining Rabbit” selected as finalist in Artist’s Magazine annual art competition

I didn’t win the top prize, but it’s still nice to be selected as a finalist from among 7,300+ entries. A selection of finalists will be featured in online and print publications in the coming months, and all of the finalists will be announced in their January/February 2017 issue. I look forward to seeing the line-up, my congratulations to everyone selected!

The Second to last of the Monthly Miniature – Rabbits

Dream of the White Rabbit - February 2016 oil painting on aluminum, by Rebecca Luncan

Dream of the White Rabbit – February 2016
oil on aluminum,
5″ x 3 3/4″

Completing the eleventh miniature painting in a series of twelve continues a great journey for me and my rabbits.

Each one of these paintings I’ve been completing once a month over the last eleven months brings my rabbits and my mind further out of the studio and into my imagination. I’m fascinated by the progression of the works and how they have evolved and at the same time, stayed confined into the original idea: create and release one new miniature painting each month for one year of my house rabbits (complete with hand-finished antique frame).With only one more to go in this series, deciding what to paint last will be quite difficult.

I do plan to continue the Monthly Miniatures after March, but the theme will be different – details to come! Perhaps the rabbits will make a comeback for 2017. I’ve loved working on the series more than I would have ever expected and already have ideas drawn up for a dozen more! Until then, I hope you’ll enjoy the new series just as much and there is one more rabbit painting to come next month.

Moon Rabbit, October’s Monthly Miniature Oil Painting and My Journey from the Studio to a Land of Myths

Moon Rabbit, oil painting by Rebecca Luncan

Moon Rabbit – October 2015, oil on aluminum, 4.25″ x 3.25″

The Myth of the Moon Rabbit

As I paint the rabbits in this series of Monthly Miniatures, I am also researching rabbits’ historical role in artwork and mythology. I am especially captivated with the many stories that connect the rabbit with the moon. This month, I am paying homage to this cross-cultural body of mythology.

Busy Bunny, An Example of Virtue and Hard Work Across the Globe

Rabbits do like to keep occupied. Mine busy themselves remodeling their cardboard condos. But cultures around the world have had different ideas about what the rabbit in the moon might be up to.

Asia

A Japanese story written during the late Heian period (794-1185) has him pounding mochi for rice cakes (you can find the story in the anthology Konjaku Monogatarishū). In a Chinese story, he is mixing the elixir of life for the moon goddess Chang’e.

The root of those and other Asian myths is the Buddhist story from Jataka tales (Tale 316),
circa 4th century BCE. The tale opens with the deity Brahmā (Hindu god of creation), coming to the Earth in disguise as an old man. When he begs for food, four animals offer to help: a monkey, an otter, a jackal and a rabbit. The monkey brings fruits, the otter fish, the jackal steals a lizard and a milk-curd for him, but the rabbit only has grass to offer. Knowing that the old man can’t eat the grass, he instead offers himself and jumps into the old man’s fire. The deity then reveals himself and quenches the fire before the rabbit is burnt. He is so touched by the virtue and self-sacrifice of the rabbit that he carries him to the heavens, leaving his likeness upon the moon to remind us of his noble example.

South America

From the opposite side of the globe, a similar Aztec myth features the god Quetzalcoatl, who makes a journey on the earth as a man and finds himself unable to find food or water after walking a long way. Just when he thinks death is certain, a nearby rabbit offers herself as food to save his life. Moved by the rabbit’s offer, Quetzalcoatl elevates her to the moon, then lowers her back down. Her shadow remains on the moon for us to remember how a little rabbit touched the heart of a god.

Adventure and Fertility

And other myths connect the rabbit with the moon as well. Native American (Cree) myth describes the rabbit as an adventurer that visits the moon with help of a friendly crane. In Chinese folklore, the rabbit is so prolific that they can conceive with just the touch of moonlight.

My Muse, the White Rabbit

Rather than feature my rabbit in her ‘natural environment’ (i.e. the painting studio), this month Eleanor dashes into a romantic, otherworldly nighttime scene inspired by German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. I am studying his work for a series of portraits, and his dramatic cliffs made a home first in my imagination, and now in this latest miniature.

My Ellie has been fixed so she won’t be doing any reproducing, moonlight or not. I also have my doubts that she’d impress the gods with shows of selfless generosity. Stealing her brothers treats is one of her favorite pastimes. In this painting, though, she is my Moon Rabbit, running wild and free. Who knows how far she can go!

Though the original painting is sold, you can still get greeting cards of all of the rabbit Monthly Miniatures in the series in my Store.

September Miniature Painting, Life with Rabbits in the Studio

Studio Rabbits, oil painting by Rebecca Luncan

Studio Rabbits – September 2015, oil on aluminum, 5.25″ x 3.75″

A glimpse into the artist’s studio, halfway through the “Monthly Miniature – Rabbits” series

I live on a quarter acre just north of Seattle and this is where you’ll find my studio, in a converted garage at my house. I love having company in the studio while I paint, and some of that company is very furry. My dog Mona curls up neatly behind me and keeps me warm (it can get chilly in Seattle), and rabbits Charlie and Ellie lie on the rug at my feet. It’s a good thing I wear grubby painting clothes anyway, because the rabbits nip at my pant legs to remind me when it’s dinner time. There are plants and birds to see out windows on two sides. Today there are stellar jays feeding on sunflowers.

Though they have the run of the house, the rabbits spend most of their time in the studio. When not under my desk, Ellie naps in her favorite blue chair. Charlie likes to flop on his side on a rug near the wall. And they both like to sit in the windowsill looking out. I love when I’m picking strawberries in the front yard, and I hear people walking by exclaiming, “Oh my gosh, there’s a rabbit in the window!” Sometimes I open the back door and let them roam the yard, but Ellie has become a cunning escape artist, so they’re on house arrest until the yard is better secured. It would also help if the neighbor behind us could resist tempting them with carrot treats.

At 17′ x 24′ it’s a big space for someone working so small, but it’s very full of framing supplies and tools, painting and drawing supplies, lots of art books, and printers. The walls are lined with finished paintings and works in progress. I usually have around six paintings at various stages of completion, in addition to handpicked frames and prepared metal surfaces for at least 20 more. In this month’s “Studio Rabbits” painting, you can see three paintings from my “Open, Closed, Away” series hanging in the background.

I finally convinced my soon-to-be husband (and editor, web developer and photographer) to move his office from a spare room to a corner of the space in here. It’s a big room, and he doesn’t seem to mind having a giant mat/glass cutter mounted to the wall in his area. So far it has been working great, but I hope we’ll be able to keep it warm enough in the winter. My little space heater can only do so much! But we’ll figure that out when the time comes. The bottom of his pants are as yet mostly intact. (There’s a cozy rug under my desk, and I give them more treats.)

 

Follow the White Rabbit! June Monthly Miniature and my Social Media Journey

White rabbit oil painting Rebecca Luncan

The White Rabbit
oil on aluminum
4 1/2″ x 3 1/4″

I’ve been following the white rabbit down the social media rabbit hole, and with every post, I’m growing out of my social media dread.

Until this past year, my social media presence was limited to a Facebook account with 5 posts, ever. But a lot has happened since then, and I’ve started a Facebook business page, this blog, an Instagram account and registered as a business on Yelp and  Google+. Most recently, I have even started a Newsletter to help friends, fans and fellow artists follow my Monthly Miniature rabbit paintings or get updates on my blog. Phew!

I love people, but putting myself out there on the internet was an emotional hurdle. As a social media novice, the first few posts were extremely difficult, and the “post/publish” button would fill me with dread and anxiety. But with time and practice, it has gotten MUCH easier. Reading other blogs has taught me that consistency makes a huge difference and I’m finding it’s not just for the typical reasons such as people looking for new content. Constancy also helps keep me on track and allows me to think about meeting my goals instead of thinking about my fears.

Now I actually feel pretty good when I get something up. Connecting with people in a real world kind of way is part of what I live for. The sharing is starting to feel much less like I’m exposing myself and more like I’m connecting, largely due to all the support that I’ve gotten from everyone out there. Heartfelt thanks to everyone looking, sharing and buying, and to everyone enjoying my newsletter. And special thanks to everyone commenting and leaving reviews. It lets me know I’m on the right track.

If you are a beginning blogger or artist, or you are thinking about starting a blog, my advice is to dive right in. Do the best you can this time, and then do it a little better next time. There is so much to know that you can’t learn it all ahead of time, and so much is just conquering your fear.