One of the perks of working in a gallery is the opportunity to meet artists. I accompanied Education Director, Suzi Guardia, and Exhibition Director, Joanne Bauer, to visit landscape artist Freya Grand in her DC studio a few weeks ago. Until this point, my only experience in an art studio was in the drawing and painting rooms at George Mason University. The academic art environment varies greatly from a working artist studio; the key difference being emotional attachment and ownership of the space.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss her upcoming fall exhibition, but I was focusing on the completed works she had on display and those in progress throughout the studio space. Her canvases are large and the immensity of these works enhance the viewer experience through the use of warm colors to depict the arid scenery of Africa, and the crisp cool colors of the Scottish and Irish landscapes. Each of her works is well thought out based on a photo reference and a grid technique used to ensure proper proportion and spatial relationships within the compositions. There were also wonderful miniature studies around the studio that are as grand as the larger works, despite their comparative scale.
Ms. Grand is content in her space and this is obvious by the way she moves in and out of the rooms discussing her work. Being in her presence I could tell that she is excited by her paintings and that attitude informs her creativity. The simple elegance of her posture and the caring look she gives each of her works is an example of her dedication to the art of oil painting.
I am honored to have shared this experience with other members of the GRACE staff and hope that I will have continued interactions with artists during my time here at the gallery. In talking with Ms. Grand and being surrounded by the artwork currently on view, my desire to continue my own creative explorations has been piqued, and I have them to thank for it.