Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm a believer!

After watching Elizabeth Gilbert's lecture I've become more and more aware of my own creativity and inspiration. Around 9:30 the other night after painting for an hour or so, a wave of energy entered through my hand and exited through a palette knife with paint over the sky of my painting. There really are no words to describe it when things are going right and no thought is needed. It is an effortless motion in a true moment. At 1:45 am I looked up at the clock in amazement, hours had gone by which had only felt like minutes and a tremendous amount of thick patterned paint enveloped my painting. Maybe my muse or genius stopped by for an after dinner visit, and it was wonderful.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Creativity, "being" a genius or "having" a genius

After lunch when it's time for a quick break, I like to look at a few websites that have interesting artwork and ideas for a daily update. I came across this talk on, by Elizabeth Gilbert on It is intriguing, entertaining, and inspiring. A different take on the artist and their creative power, if it is theirs. It will definitely keep you going, no matter what happens with or in your own work.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

make art for everyone!

I make art to express myself, but also to share it with others. Once completed I would love for my images to make contact with everyone and anyone willing to look. I want it to be accessible so that individuals can see the beauty that I see in the environment, the surrounding landscape/seascape and the creatures within it.

I have decided to work with a website where individuals can order giclees, prints and cards of my paintings, in order to make my art more accessible to interested individuals. I think that it is important to surround yourself with images that you find inspiring and beautiful.

on my website & blog: purchase prints

Sunday, June 20, 2010

a sneak peak

Since the last post consisted of the news article for the Back Porch Cafe show, I thought I would post a preview of the show (this is just part of one room, and there's more!). I hope you enjoy it and see it in person. Here's a sneak peak.

After having the majority of my paintings out of the house I realized I needed to create more.I'm starting a new series inspired by a trip to Nosara, Costa Rica. I'm trying to document the entire process, and post the images (under Summer 2010 currently creating, on the right). It's been so beautiful I've been able to paint outside, which I think is the best atmosphere to create.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Article in the Cape Gazette

Lewes Artist to Exhibit at Back Porch Cafe

“Water Ties” series explores natural beauty

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Lewes artist Leah Van Rees will exhibit her painting series, “Water Ties”, at the Back Porch Café in Rehoboth Beach until July 14. Using bright colors and a unique technique, Van Rees’ latest series was inspired by bodies of water in Vermont, California, Maine, Utah, Delaware and Barbados.“While my friends surf or swim, I sit on the beach and paint,” Van Rees said. “Oceans and rivers never stand still and I like to capture the fleeting moments water creates. Some people have said that I paint like a water nymph, but the rhythm of the water can be very beautiful. Basically, I paint what I like and hope that others like it too.” Van Rees was one of the first graduates from the Jefferson School in Georgetown and graduated from Cape Henlopen High School in 2005. Van Rees got her bachelor of fine arts degree, minor in art history, from the University of Delaware in spring 2009. She is a recipient of the Lucille McGee award at the Rehoboth Art League, and the Eugene F. and Catherine Melk and WHYY art awards from the University of Delaware. Recently, Van Rees’ work was published in Studio Visit magazine, which juries artists as a condition for publication. Leo Medisch, art curator for Back Porch Café, selected Van Rees as part of the restaurant’s summer art series.“I particularly like her color choices and I like that it’s marine and sea inspired.” he said. “Plus, they look great in a restaurant.” Back Porch Café is a fine dining restaurant in downtown Rehoboth Beach at 59 Rehoboth Ave. The restaurant, now in its 36th season, is open daily from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for lunch and Sunday brunch and re-opens from 6-10 p.m. for dinner. On July 3, Van Rees will be in the St. Peter’s Art Show in downtown Lewes. For more information on her work, visit

a few other sites that have articles about the show:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Counting Colors

So I've been thinking about it, and if someone ever asked me "how many colors do you use?" or "what order and specific colors do you use?" I don't think I could answer. I think as an artist, and the creator of my own work I should know. It seems weird, but with all of my experience if I put say a yellow down first, then a blue the color of the two glazes is different then if I put that same blue down first, then the yellow. Glazing doesn't seem to be much like mixing, what I had expected when first getting into glazing with oils. It is a unique technique with endless opportunities. With this new series of paintings I'm going to write down every color I use and the sequence they were used in. Just so I stay on track:
underpainting-phalo blue
1st glaze-cadmium yellow lemon
2nd glaze-cadmium yellow deep
3rd glaze-gold ocre

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Underpainting Importance

It looks like a few sketchy lines and sometime may resemble something recognizable, but it is the backbone of a painting. An underpainting allows the artist to sketch an overall composition on a blank canvas and rework the image to a desired state.Underpaintings are usually created with a single color. I like to either use a brown or a blue, depending on the colors I will be using later on, in the piece. I mix my paints with turpentine, so that the paint becomes thinner making it easier to work and easy to erase, while also allowing it to dry in an hour or so. In the past I believed in well rendered underpaintings, but now I like to minimize my underpainting and begin glazing, which makes the colors pop more, but also allows for depth in the painting. When a glaze is painted over a dark underpainting, less light is able to reflect off the canvas and the paint particles, but when the canvas is left white more light reflects, creating brighter colors.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Procrastinate no longer

I think I'm ready to start a new series so I get all of my paints out, grab my palette and place the new canvas on my easel.I don't know if it's just me but I'm horrible at cleaning off my palette after painting. It looks like a Jackson Pollock painting (above, Convergence 1952) without the movement and color choice, there is no empty space where I can mix colors.It is this little detail that makes me procrastinate.

Between that and a 5'x4' blank white canvas starring at me, it can be some what intimidating trying to get started.I walk into my studio, look at all my canvases and think well, maybe I should plan a little more, get started tomorrow. But it's time to pull it together and start with just one mark, because that is all it takes to get rolling, and I'll clean my palette tomorrow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How many cars does it take to transport 35 paintings?

Today was the day to transport 35 paintings to the Back Porch Cafe, to hang for a summer show that will be up from June 10-July 14.
Surprisingly, it only took 2 cars (by cars I mean Highlanders, yes my mom and I have the matching cars), but still, I think it's pretty impressive.

The largest painting was 5'x4', and many ranged from 24"x36" to 36"x48", most were place in boxes then into the car,while the others were stacked one on top of another. All in all it was a great success, all paintings arrived unharmed and ready to hang. The paintings look beautiful in the
restaurant and I owe a lot of thanks, well everything, to my parents, and Leo at the Back Porch Cafe. Stay tuned for pictures of the show, or you can see it in person!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Studio Visit Magazine

It has been almost a year since the process began and today the ninth issue of Studio Visit Magazine has arrived.It will be my first publication and I can't believe it, seeing my own work in print (page 189), what an amazing feeling!

I first learned about Studio Visit Magazine aimlessly surfing the web. Inspired by my senior seminar class in college, which taught me to apply to as many publications, shows and everything/anything else you could possibly find, I applied to this particular magazine. I always have to remind myself to keep looking and keep applying, because you never know who you might meet, or what you might find.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Edges: paint or no paint?

That's the question when it comes to that little border on the sides of a completed painting. There are those who prefer the painted edge, and those that do not.I have always been one for painted sides, but in college I had one professor who was strongly opposed to this part of my practice. His argument was understandable and definitely something to think about. He believed that when the sides of a painting were painted, it was no longer about the 2-d image on the front but now about the entire canvas, which became more like an object.This was the big fear, once a painting became an object it was like a painted dresser or chair, no longer fine art. For me, painting the sides isn't an easy way out, or a transition from fine art to a craft. It is a way to extend the painting to the wall organically, becoming more alive and acquiring a larger presence. When a painting is more 3 dimensional, it allows the viewer to enter into the created space from any angle.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Delaware By Hand Spring Show 2010

The Zwaanendael park in Lewes was the perfect location for this up and coming art show. Periodical rain showers began in the morning with the sun popping out now and again but the real ambiance was created by the sights and sounds. A canopy of trees above, colorful flowers around, and the constant sound of sprinkling water from the fountain filled the space. It was a wonderful venue. It is a great place to talk about your work with everyone who walks by.Thank you for stopping by!

I've just began selling matted prints of my work as well as greeting cards, hoping to make my work more accessible to everyone.

I'd rather be in the studio

It's true, but it's the same reason I'm starting a blog. A friend of mine gave me I'd rather be in the studio by Alyson B. Stanfield, a self-promotion book, and for the last couple of days I haven't been able to put it down. It is a wealth of information, some things I knew, others I didn't but it has sparked my inspiration and determination to market my work. I think its a great time to start, because it is right now.