[caption id="attachment_1605" align="alignnone" width="430" caption=""Lush Path" Ann Rea, 16" x 20", oil on canvas"][/caption] When I create an Experience of Art for patrons at one point in the process they get to preview several oil painting studies that I created in oil, in and of the landscape of their choosing. In this case, it is my patron’s homestead located in the rolling hills of Marin, California. There are several very different beautiful vistas, including many of San Francisco in the distance and the mountains to the West. There is so much inspiration to choose from. Yesterday I spoke to my patron Kelly who commissioned this an Experience of Art for his lovely wife Shirley to celebrate their seventh year wedding anniversary. I uploaded the studies to annrea.com for them to preview. “What do you think?” I always hold my breath a bit waiting for the answer. Kelly’s reply. “The paintings are awesome!” I just love it when they love it. Now the next step is for Kelly and Shirley to choose one study to serve as the basis for a large-scale custom sized painting that will hang over their fireplace mantel. With twelve studies to choose from this can be a bit overwhelming, even with my guidance and recommendations. Kelly asked if I could somehow take one element from one painting study, the distant San Francisco skyline, and integrate it into another painting that has a view eclipsing the San Francisco skyline. While I’d love to say yes, the composition of the painting would just not work because the study itself serves as the foundational framework for a larger interpretation. It’s the blueprint. It’s a bit like being at a great new restaurant and you are eager to try everything but you must choose one meal. Two meals will not mix well on one plate. So most often patrons will also acquire several of the studies as appetizers. I can appreciate, and I think it's great, that my patron is excited to have several of the elements of his homestead represented but this would be an abstraction and I am actually a representational painter. That means that I represent reality, not necessarily in a literal or exacting way but in its real vistas in nature inspire my canvases. So it will be very interesting to see which study the Neil’s decide upon and they’ll have first dibs on all of the appetizers.