Linnie Aikens Arts and Letters • HeART Haven Studios

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"Moonlit Lotus"  First Place in Juried Show, Casa Art Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA


Lotusland, in Montecito, CA, where I lived for over 20 years, is my magical place.  I've visited several dozen times and while I know just about what's around every bend in the garden, I am always enthralled by the prehistoric to fantastical foliage and the creative whimsey interspersed throughout the areas. Walking through the dragon trees and the prehistoric cycads, some of which only grow in Lotusland, transport me to a different world. I've done a number of Lotusland inspired paintings, and each one, while holding a touch of reality, the plants take on a life of their own, often larger than life, they become characters in a world of brightly colored whimsey and dance.


I’ve been entering art shows lately, for exposure yes, but also because they stretch me.  The ones that have a monthly theme force me to create from a theme, which sometimes stretches beyond the boundaries of the style in which I am painting at the time. As an artist I like to be stretched and inspired by new ideas, so art shows create exercizes for me. An idea might beg to be expressed in new ways from that which I am most comfortable.  Each time I learn more, about myself, about a medium, style or communication.  I love that element of mystery and discovery.  It’s like beginning with a problem to solve, and while not knowing exactly how to solve it, I jump in with all feet, heart and mind to tackle it. The journey is always enlightening!


This particular exhibit was a fundraiser for an orphanage school and had a lot of visitors this First Thursday.  As I wandered around and talked to people and enjoyed the art, I discovered that my painting had won first prize in the show!   No one paints for prizes, but as an artist I get so engrossed in my work that I often wonder if it’s really any good or just kidding myself! This small affirmation went a long way to encouraging me to keep painting.  In the end, however, I paint because I can’t NOT paint!  Life and paint, they run out at the same time....


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