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18”x18” Gretchen Howard “Child’s Play”
  • 18”x18” Gretchen Howard “Child’s Play”


    Artist: Gretchen Howard

    Size: 18”x18””

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

    Child’s Play is making sure to play of not only your children to remember your own sense of joy and child like wonder. The birds symbolize freedom and community. They are always seeking out adventures or pearls of wisdom. They never move backwards always forwards. The peacock feathers are to show who you really are. Don’t hide your true self. The peonies are the soul of the painter (her vibrant and unique self) the raindrops are a cleansing and the rainbows or rainbow colors are a renewal. The X’s in the works are the treasured people or memories you take with you everywhere you go. The bridges or ladders going from bird or bird connect you from your past memories to your future self. Angel wings are the guardian angel sent to watch over you. The party hats are a nod to New Orleans culture. The little paper boats that are sometimes in the works are a realization that even though we seem fragile when facing a storm we can float above it all. All the paintings have orange and gold around the edge of the works to send luck and passion to each of her collectors. Yours has pieces of works that needed a new life, changing a perspective or looking at something in a new way can become a thing of beauty. The parrots were made after the reopening after the pandemic which is the desire to seek friendship and family always.

    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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