Artist of the Month: Ilene Gienger-Stanfield

Comparing Notes (pastel, 21×30) by Ilene Gienger-Stanfield was a Portrait/Figure finalist in the 25th Annual Art Competition. Gienger-Stanfield is our June 2009 Artist of the Month.

Residence: Phoenix, Oregon


Her art career: I have a bachelor’s degree in art from Southern Oregon University and have studied with Harley Brown and Carolyn Anderson. I paint full-time but my husband and I have a landscape contracting business as well. I like this arrangement because it frees me up to paint what I want without the pressure of doing commissions.

Medium and genres: Pastels are my primary medium. I enjoy their tactile, organic properties and like not having to mix colors. Oils are a close second, though, because of their textures and the looser qualities of using a brush. The human form is a major component in my paintings.

Inspiration for this painting: Comparing Notes was inspired by youth, sisterhood and color. Children are fun to portray, with their innocence and honesty. These girls are twins and have a strong connection with each other. The lipstick inspired me to be bolder with the color in the background, and putting them face-to-face made for an unusual composition.

Her process: After a sketch on the painting surface, I refine an area with accurate drawing and build off of that. I paint or sketch from life and also use photo references. I combined two photos I took for Comparing Notes. I definitely have a palette of colors I gravitate to. Out of my full set of pastels, which is seven years old, there are many colors I have yet to use, and others that I’ve replaced many times.

Why she makes art: I trust, in the big scheme of things, that I was meant to be an artist. Art keeps me healthy and happy.


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