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WV Artist on Display: Creating Beauty from Chaos.

This month’s artist on display is Wendy Reagor. She shares Studio 3 with her husband Craig at Lee Street Studios in Lewisburg. Wendy considers this time in her life to be an ongoing art quest. She enjoys learning new techniques, making a mess, and rising again with a new body of artwork. Wendy specializes in mixed media paintings using acrylic paint, alcohol ink, oil pastels, water colors, and fabric collage. She also loves designing jewelry using beach embroidery and wire wrapping techniques. This Fall, Wendy will be offering an Abstract Silk Painting Workshop in Lewisburg for anyone interested to learn this art on a 16”x16” blank silk scarf for use as a neck or wrist wrap. Learn more about Wendy, her early years as a fashion illustrator, her biggest accomplishment, and more with our Q&A:

How did you get your start?

I trained as a fashion illustrator and graphic designer in the 70’s, my first job was illustrating shoes for an upscale department store in Denver. Each week my art was featured as an ad in the Denver newspapers. Best job ever. But starting a family put an end to those days of leaving the house to work for someone else.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

At my home I began a small business called Riverwoods Art Farm. I designed custom illustrated invitations and personalized gift items for the nation’s party industry. My small studio near Chicago became a busy workplace for me and five other employees. I think my proudest accomplishment is having been able to maintain a well-regarded creative business producing high-quality art for over 20 years. We moved to Florida in 2004 and eventually closed the doors of the Art Farm.

How do you describe your palette?

I never let go of the urge to make art. I’ve fallen in love with bead embroidery and jewelry making, silk painting, alcohol ink dripping and throwing acrylic paints onto canvas. I love the rich intense colors of the Fauve Movement using nature as my muse. I consider this time in my life to be an ongoing art quest where I will learn a new technique, make a beautiful mess and rise once again with a new body of work. I love it all and I am very lucky to be able say I’m never bored. There is always something new to learn.

What obstacles do you need to overcome to find your creative space/muse?

As a side benefit, I have found that creating art reduces my stress levels. After 5 minutes of letting paint flow and colors merge I am able to get out of my head and put worries into perspective.

How do you find your inspiration?

Recently my inspiration has been an online art workshop by Amanda Evanston, called Secret Garden. She showed us how to make beauty out of chaos by spontaneously splattering, dripping and making random marks with paint on the first background layer of a canvas. From there, we use our imagination to see the flowers that emerge and isolate them from the background to eventually uncover a beautiful bouquet. I love this as an art technique and it works well as a way to look at the world. Beauty from chaos. Often I turn my paintings into scarves, blouses, kimonos, and beach cover ups.

Also, my husband is a constant source of inspiration as we paint together almost every day at our studio in Lee Street Studios, Center for the Arts in Lewisburg WV. 232 North Lee Street. We love to have people visit us there to watch us work or just browse around. Call first to assure we will be there, 681-318-3551 or email riverwoodsart@mac.com.

What advice do you have for other artists?

My advice to other artists is to experiment with lots of techniques and materials. You will eventually find what calms your mind and makes your heart sing.

What is the best way for our readers to contact you?

My sister and I are sharing a website, currently under construction. Each of us has our own gallery of paintings with descriptions and pricing. AlwaysLovedyou.com.

– HashtagWV #116. August 2019.

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