Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A New Day... A New Breeze

My FACE OF VENTURA PROJECT continues, our third sitter hitting the newstands today. I am finding this portrait series painted from life in conjunction with The Ventura Breeze so incredibly rewarding.

Click here to read the current Ventura Breeze. Page Seven features the two year project so far:

A total of 52 people from the town will be painted, chosen by Breeze publisher Sheldon Brown, myself and the readership of this much loved town newspaper to reflect the modern face of this very old Californian historic mission town.

I wish to thank Sheldon for making this series a reality, his time and his support for it; and also each of my sitters, extraordinary folk who have a story to tell and honor me by letting me paint them - and sharing their life story with me. Our fifth sitter was painted today so I think we are official now!

Rachel, a dedicated environmentalist, and I had a lovely time together. She is a super smart lady and has much to teach people like me, my head usually buried in art. I learned from her. There was just so much to discuss as I am finding with EACH of my sitters. Gosh, and then I have to paint as well. Can't we just talk? NO, because the point of this project is the direct interaction between the sitter and myself. We get what we get around painting a portrait while we chat. The portrait becomes almost secondary to that interaction and bond. It is very powerful and rewarding.

Rachel Morris

Portrait by Johanna Spinks

Rachel Morris believes talking is fine, as long it leads to action. She’s worked on issues that range from af- fordable health care, to fair elections. From freedom of radio airwaves, to Native American rights. From gro- cery strikes to international peace. From natural childbirth, to natural building. Her passion now is climate change. She is the executive director and cofounder of VCCool, a non- profit organization that takes on global warming by promoting green living and green business in Ventura. Some friends think that she lives at #350 because of the big, sunny mural painted across her garage. Smil- ing she says – “Ac- tually it’s a re- minder of the safe upper limit of CO2 in our atmo- sphere, measured by parts per mil- lion. But you can find me by that. ”

Rachel is also a musician and song-writer. She is a retired dancer, farmer, and software designer. She has lived on the Avenue for six years. She has two daughters and two granddaughters. Rachel grows much of her own food, bicycles, and uses an African designed non- electric “refrigerator” to keep her food cool. She is also learning to take a day off now and then. One day she hopes to help start, and live in, an intention- al eco-community within Ventura. What do you like most about living in Ventura?

of potential. The people are involved and passionate. The City seems en- gaged and available. We have fantas- tic surf, with a freeway cutting us off. The Avenue Neighborhood is full of culture and history and great food, yet it doesn’t even have a lighted crosswalk on its busiest street in front of an elementary school. The weather is fantastic, the town is fairly level for the most part, yet streets haven’t been designed for safe bicycling. So much

to do, so much opportunity, and so many fantastic and gifted people working to polish the jewel in their own way.

And how was the ex- perience of having your portrait paint- ed by Johanna?:

I come from a family of artists, so being in a studio un- der an artist’s eye, the quick brush work, the blending of colors; really brought me back to my childhood. Johanna’s idea of a community portrait is such a beautiful one. It gave me a warm feeling be part of that, and to have my essence brought out in tones of orange and turquoise. Being surrounded by her other beautiful works, with the an- tique easel and oil smell, I felt like I had stepped into another world for a moment. It was also nice to see the camaraderie and support be- tween Sheldon and Johanna. I look forward to seeing her emerging cast

of paintings.

...being in a studio under an artist’s eye, the quick brush work, the blend- ing of colors; really brought me back to my childhood.


Shelley Smart said...

This is a lovely portrait! And she sounds like a fabulous woman!

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Wow, Johanna, you really gave your blog a make-over! I love it, so fun and bright.Of course, your portrait is stunning as is expected from you.

David Magallanes said...

Thumbs-up, Johanna! What a rich experience for the sitter, for you, for the community.

Marian Fortunati said...

Wonderful portrait, wonderful person, wonderful story!!
Love it.

Karen Bruson said...

Your portraits are just exquisite.