Little Rock’s Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center is home to a unique local treasure: Art Group Gallery. Founded and operated by area artists, it is a true working gallery where area artists have a studio to paint and can display their works to sell in the front of the shop. Follow along as we feature different artists each month who will each share the inspiration and stories behind a few of his or her pieces.
After retiring from a telecommunications company, Shirley Anderson found her passion for art. She now spends her days creating beautiful representational-style landscapes with pastels. Here, she shares the story behind three of her recent works.
“Los Carneros Shade” was painted almost entirely plein aire or on location. I have painted in this pleasant little park near Santa Barbara, California, for a number of years and have found numerous locations that catch my eye. On this particular day, I noticed that the mountain range visible beyond the park appeared to be glowing with blues, greens and lavenders, and I wanted to capture the darker shadows in the nearer trees. Most of my paintings focus on calmness and serenity. I utilize blues and lavenders to create the aerial perspective and depth. I want others to feel the peace I enjoy when a create paintings outdoors.
This painting is one of a series of paintings from the park but is a little different because it is larger than what I normally paint on location. I usually paint either 9” x 12” or 11” X 14”, but this painting is 12” x 16.” That doesn’t sound like a huge painting until you try to complete the painting in less than a couple of hours! The name was a result of the contrast of the nearer shadows against the glowing of the distant mountains.
This painting was also done on location and I discovered the scene about 8:30 a.m. The sunlight was beginning to peak above the stand of eucalyptus trees, leaving a large area of shade and just a few streams of light. Thus, I named the painting “Streams of Light.” My challenge was to capture the effects of the morning sun before the full sun eliminated the shadows.
I took photos, and as a result, I have painted this scene several times with slight variations. I have painted small versions and one version as a larger 18”x 24” painting. Each time I paint this view, the painting has its own characteristics. When I paint the scene now, I use the previous paintings as my reference rather than the photograph. Thus, each iteration of this painting changes slightly and appeals to different people.
Once again, the palette that I chose makes this painting special and unique to me. When people visit the gallery and view one or two of my paintings, they can immediately find my paintings among other wall hangings.
This painting was completed in my studio from a much smaller painting that was done on location. I did not have a photographic reference in the studio and as a result it was a loose rendition of the scene. I changed my color palette slightly to use a red purple rather than a blue purple.
This painting is a departure for me in several ways. The slightly different palette is a little unusual for me; plus, the technique that I used was different, having no photographic reference. In addition, I reworked the composition several times until I was satisfied that it told the story I wanted. Because I reworked the concept of this painting several times, I ended up with what appeared to me as a reflection at the bottom of the painting—thus the name “Reflections, Too.” That was not part of the original concept.
I wanted this painting to portray a location that many people could recognize. So many of my paintings are very particular to parts of California or the Southwest, but I wanted this painting to appeal to folks from a larger area of the country. This was a painting in which I wanted to create a feeling of familiarity for a larger portion of the population.
See more of Shirley’s work and learn how you can shop Art Group Gallery at artgrouparkansas.com.