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ANNELL LIVINGSTON 

I was born in Houston Texas.  I grew up in a small town just outside of Houston.  As a little girl I loved to draw and paint, and when asked, "What do you want to be when you grown up?"  My answer was that I wanted to be an artist.

I began studying art in the early 1960's with Lowell Collins, the former director of the Glassell School, Musuem of Fine Arts,  at the Lowell Collins Art School in Houston.  Then I studied with David Hickman at the University of Houston.  I also studied at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Art in Houston and I studied at Louisiana Tech, with Doug Walton.  I also studied with other wonderful artists and teachers: Arthur Turner, Robert McCoy, Patrick Palmer, Charles Shorre, and Katherine Chang Liu. 

In 1991, I closed the studio door, and alone with myself, I asked, "Who am I, and what do I really want to paint?"  The answer was that my life was a woman's urban experience.  The floor in my studio was concrete, and the sounds that came into my studio were from the freeway were cars, buses, trucks and trains.  I began creating grids based on the square, which seemed to be the perfect symbol for the city.   As I drove to the studio each day, I would observe the light as it was reflected off man-made surfaces, and made notes in my journal.  The notes, or words I chose became the inspiration for the color for the paintings.  This series was called, Urban-Intersections, I wanted to talk about my urban experience, both inside and out.

1994 I moved to Taos, New Mexico, land of high mountain desert.  It was a beautiful place to work without distractions.  It seemed I had just figured out that I was painting about the urban experience, and how I wanted to express that.  

Then I moved to a rural community, and what I had been painting didn't work.  I have always been influenced by "place," and after many false starts (the road for the artist is not straight), I realized that I could continue to use the grid, with the addition of the diagonal line.  This variation allowed me to include in my thoughts the irregularities of the landscape; rivers, mountains, and sky.  I based the colors for my work, on the colors I found in nature.  My work is not so much about the external world,  but finding that place where the external and the internal world meet; heart, mind and deed.  I called this series Fragments.  As I thought about my life, it seemed that my thoughts and memories were like fragments, or bits and pieces.  Nothing seemed really whole, but like the creation of a quilt, these bits and pieces came together to be the experience of my life.      

I have continued to work with the grid in the series, Fragments, which  became a series I called, A Day in the Life...  I returned to the observation of the light.  And realized how a life could be defined by a moment of the day.  Over time, this series became a series I called, The Eternal Cycle; day into night, into day, cycles of the seasons, and the seasons of a life. These works are mono-chrome and the color selections was based on the observations of the day.

My work, then became, Poems of the Desert.  I had come to the end of a series, and thought I had no idea which way to go.  I was depressed and realized that the feeling was like the feeling about the "void, the wasteland, or the desert."  My home was the high mountain desert, and the desert became the inspiration for my work, Poems of the Desert.  I drew shapes, and selected colors from the desert.  These works are not about what the desert looks like, but what it feels like as actual place or metaphor. 

Since, 2002, I have been thinking about and experimenting with images of still life, seeking a contemporary image of still life.  Through deconstruction/reconstruction, I have at last found an image based on still life, that I think is "new."  Gouache is my favorite medium, but graduations are difficult, and I have found a way of creating graduations in these new still lifes. After completing about a hundred images of this new series of still life, I have returned to Fragments.  It seems I work in a series until I have exhausted it, or myself, put it away and then after a time I return to it, and it is "new" again for me.

I am an artist who is in the studio everyday, I love to paint and to draw, and I have been doing it for almost five decades  I have learned  that "to be an artist," is a life-time study.  For me, two of the reasons I keep "at it"  are; the goal is illusive,  and it is always just out of reach.

Some of my favorite artists are; Frederick Hammersley, Agnes Martin, Oli Shivonen, Bridget Riley, Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Wayne Thiebaud, Sam Scott, Katherine Chang Liu, Anne Trueitt  and so many others.

  

 

 

 

 There is only one way you will totally fail that is to quit.  Close the studio door, never to return.  Annell Livingston