Congratulations to our November Artist of the Month, Lynn Wade! She was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition! Her painting Places to Go is below. Keep scrolling to read more about the artist and how her love of horses began her career!
Largo, FL ~ LynnWade.com
The first half of my life was spent with horses and I became a professional rider, teacher and trainer at age 17. I’d always enjoyed sketching horses for fun but didn’t pick up a paint brush and try to produce “artwork” until I was 40! The ground was getting harder each year and I couldn’t see myself still riding full time in my dotage so thought I’d try my hobby of art as a career, instead.
I did animal portraits for nearly a decade before pursuing gallery representation. One of the greatest learning experiences I had was being allowed to audit jurying sessions for several international shows. Hearing highly experienced artists expressing their opinions about 600+ paintings made quite a “class” for me. In later years, I served as a juror for those same shows and whenever I taught workshops I made sure they included mock jurying sessions. When I do critiques it’s like being a juror with a chance to speak to the ‘entrant’!
Naturally, I was an equine artist for the first 20 years of my gallery-art career but moving to Florida’s Gulf coast brought sea birds to my attention. I found there’s nothing more fun to paint and made the transition to avian art with the support of Trailside Galleries who have represented my work for nearly 15 years. My crowning achievement in bird painting, so far, was having a piece selected for a Birds In Art exhibit.
When a shoulder surgery made big work difficult, I discovered that one of the top miniature painting groups in the world is headquartered close by. I had to give them a try and found that this totally addicting genre is surprisingly challenging: It can take as many hours to complete a tough little 3×4 painting as it does a 30×40 one!
I might use a dozen reference photos for one painting and usually the lighting I depict is different than it was in the photographs. After I decide what I’m painting I figure out “when” (the direction of the light). I will always change any subject I’ve photographed at noon, for instance, because it’s crucial to me to include the drama of highlights/shadows/bounce light that’s only found with morning/evening low-angled light.
The little Snowy Egret (which is life sized) in Places To Go was actually moving when I photographed him, hence the title. Painted while still new to birds, I’d never attempted surf before. I made myself just start painting the colors, shapes and values I saw rather than “waves” and, surprisingly, after my initial trepidation, this is one of those that just ‘fell off the brush’. That doesn’t happen often and it sure is cool when it does.
I would urge beginning painters to list the dozen or so tried-and-true art ‘rules’ and check your paintings – and others you like – against them. Seek critiques from experienced artists. And online competitions are a good way to monitor your progress (my first “Honorable Mention” was The Artist’s Magazine’s Competition ten years ago!).
My hope is to continue doing exactly what I’m doing – painting for a living and learning something every day – until my forehead hits the palette.