Carlene Reeves

creative city // Fine Arts // Paint // Carlene Reeves

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    “Painting is about seeing light, color harmonies, and visual relationships. Whether I’m depicting a landscape, portrait, or bouquet of flowers, I focus on the qualities that both distinguish and unify the objects in front of me. That dichotomy sets a mood which I hope to convey to others. If I’ve done my job successfully, I know that viewers will take away their own experience of seeing the beauty and perfection of what is often considered commonplace.” Carlene Reeves has been a student of nature and art all of her life. Drawing, painting, and exploring art history were her pursuits at San Jacinto College and the University of Houston, Texas. When she moved to Taos, New Mexico, in the mid-1990s, she became a student of light and color. “When you paint from life, light and color are never the same. Every day is a learning experience,” she says. Today, Reeves lives an hour north of San Antonio, Texas. “The Hill Country has a gentle beauty,” she says of the nearby shoreline of Canyon Lake, embracing live-oak forests, and her roses soaking in the summer sun. Her studio, which is upstairs from that of her husband/artist Ron Rencher, harbors her collection of art books, an easel, portrait stand, and still-life staging area. Flowers in various phases of blossom grab the eye, as do shelves of props: porcelain pitchers with luscious glazes, hand-painted teacups, crystal vases, silver and brass bowls patinaed by time, and hand-stitched linens.

    “All of the props have meaning to me,” she relates. “However, when I set up a still life, I’m telling a story about the relationships of the objects to one another. Each bloom, onion, or apple has its own character, like a face. I create an arrangement that has both a ‘star’ and subordinate players which give the star context and enhance its natural splendor.” Reeves’ painterly canvases have found audiences locally and internationally. Collectors appreciate not only her orchestration of color and values, but also her expressionistic brushwork, which creates a three-dimensional experience on the canvas. When asked about her influences, Reeves says she strives to achieve the luminosity of impressionist Frank Vincent DuMond and the colorist qualities of California impressionist Franz Bischoff. To achieve their technical mastery, Reeves has pursued classes at the Scottsdale Artists School, Arizona, and the Nicolai Fechin School of Art, Taos, and independent studies with alla prima painters, including Lajos Markos, Kevin Macpherson, Greg Kreutz, Huihan Liu, Marlin Linville, Dan Gerhartz, Sherrie McGraw, Robert Johnson, and William Henry Earle, who was a student of DuMond . For the past years, Reeves herself has become a sought-after instructor. Although she does not assign symbolic meanings to her floral paintings, Reeves confesses to combining the visual science of color and light practiced by the French Impressionists with the 19th century Romantic tradition of allowing the emotions to dominate the intellect. Using the basic tools and principles of fine art, she tells her students to find their own style and spiritual truth. “Paint what your heart is drawn to,” she says. “A painting that captures a meaningful moment in your life will live on in the memory of each person who sees it.”