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18”x18” Gretchen Howard “The Kite”
  • 18”x18” Gretchen Howard “The Kite”


    Artist: Gretchen Howard

    Size: 18”x18””

    Materials: Oil Pastel Sticks, Graphite, Gesso, Acrylic,

    The Kite refers to being one with the air and freedom but also being tethered and secure. Free spirits are their best when they have a safe person or space to offer security that still allows them to fly. This is also an ode to the Sagittarius with the herons always stretching their necks out searching the horizon for new opportunities and adventures. They are often seen doing this while standing gracefully, calmly and self assuredly. Under the boat are pearls of wisdom collected over time. Boats can’t hold anything heavy you have to let the heavy stuff go. Boast always move forward not backwards and these boats hold your treasured people or memories. The bird secured itself to the boat connected to all these things while securing its beautiful and free kite. One bird is also holding a quiver and arrow to be able to shoot for its dreams. The gold is for luck and the orange is for passion. Raindrops are a cleansing and rainbows are a renewal. The Peony is Gretchen’s favorite flower. The parrots are a gathering of friends or family for a good time. The peacock feathers mean you should show yourself and not hide who you are. Angel wings are a guardian angel and the party hats represent New Orleans where there is always a party.

    Description: Gretchen Weller Howard was born and raised in New Orleans, LA. A self-described colorist, she employs both symbols and color to communicate the deeply personal meaning of each work. Her early focus included graphic design and decorative painting and even now, twenty years later, elements of both disciplines can still be seen in her mixed media abstracts. Over the years, she has developed a distinct vocabulary of images to describe the emotional threads that tie her work together.The vessels, or boats of sorts, “appeared” first, and initially held within them the shredded remains of paintings she had lost during Katrina. After the storm, when Gretchen and her husband returned to their home in Pass Christian, MS, all that remained standing was a huge oak on the beach. Surrounding it were the remnants of an extensive collection of paintings that neighbors had collected and placed beneath the tree. Unable to throw them away, she tore them into long strips and later incorporated them into her work. These boats held safe the memory of the past and yet celebrated the rebitrth of the entire region. Soon after, bridges appeared as Gretchen returned to her birthplace and committed to laying down her family roots in New Orleans once again. And finally, the bird. Like the others, these symbols appeared suddenly and stood upon the bridges as sentinels of possibility and a bright future, never in flight, but poised for the great leap.Today Gretchen’s work still primarily revolves around birds and boats, but the meanings have shifted and grown to take on a new, rich, and ever evolving language. They have both become vessels through which an idea is conveyed, and together with a supporting cast of symbolic characters, a story is told and a mystery unfolds.

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