Santa Fe, NM
This story was featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2013 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Renowned artist and teacher David Leffel once said to his students, “If you do not have a north or east window in your studio, you might have to move.” This wasn’t a joke—Leffel was adamant that to properly illuminate a subject, the only source of light in an artist’s studio should be natural north light. Still-life painter Wendy Higgins, who studied with Leffel, agrees wholeheartedly. In fact, when she moved into her current garage-turned-studio, she immediately set about punching a hole through the angled ceiling on the north side of the building, installing a perfectly placed window to channel “that magical light” onto her subjects and into her paintings.
This month, Higgins displays the beauty and complexity of light in a solo show at Greenberg Fine Art, which opens with an artist’s reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, September 13. Higgins says the show’s title, The Light of an Open Heart, is fitting because each of the 16 to 20 new paintings on display comes very much from the heart. “These works are really about the light and love and beauty I see in the world,” she says. While her subject matter is traditional still life, Higgins stresses that her paintings are not really about the objects themselves, but rather how the light falls and reflects on those objects. “The objects aren’t there to tell a story,” she explains, adding, “It’s more about showcasing the beauty of light.” And that is precisely what her paintings do, says gallery owner Mark Greenberg. “This light [in Higgins’ paintings] glides over surfaces, revealing textures and subtle colors that guide the viewer’s attention to the splendor of each object,” he says.
Another important element in Higgins’ work is color—something the artist has been particularly focused on lately. “I’m continuing to look for ways to push the color without making it too loud,” she says, explaining that she tries to use color in ways that don’t take away from the peaceful, quiet mood of the painting. “I paint from a place of inner stillness, peacefulness, and simplicity, and my paintings are about the beauty that blossoms from that silence—but I also love the rich colors that really sing that beauty.” —Lindsay Mitchell
Featured in the September 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art September 2013 print issue or digital download
Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook