aart statement and bio

Lynn Priestley


A timeless goal of art is to portray beauty and relieve the grinding physicality of life through a larger and truer vision. For me painting the beauty of our environment approaches that vision. Painting with expressionistic color my southern locale; the coast lines, swamps and woodlands, and still life's of organic images of vegetables or flowers from our garden. Expressionistic color is another way of seeing people, things or animals: a way of seeing souls, so to speak.
As I travel I paint. Painting is my avenue to understanding, feeling and knowing a locale. While standing for three or four hours painting, I experience heat, cold, wind, humidity, bugs, snakes and people. When painting in other regions of the country I grapple with the difference in light, color and texture. Intuitive use of paint happens in my home area, and that flies out the window elsewhere.

The visual world is a dialogue created by complementary, reflected and absorbed colors. If you look very closely at color you will see how color works, the vibration and tension that exists, how it absorbs or reflects surfaces. You see green leaves because every color is absorbed except green . . . green is reflected. So if I paint red, the compliment of green, under the leaf, I am mimicking nature.

In painting, there is also a dialogue with myself. Painting is sometimes cathartic. It can express and put in order my emotional life, the anguish, happiness or joie de vivre. Of late, the dialogue has been about the war and violence in our world, a series of paintings has been evolving as "Peace Paintings", as an evolution of compassion rather than the evolution of hate and dismemberment that is taking place. Nietzsche wrote, "Art is the desire to be different, the desire to be elsewhere." That is true for me. There is also simply a deep and inexplicable drive to just paint.

Artists who I admire deeply and learn from regularly are Henri Matisse, primarily for his ability to capture the essence and knowing when to quit applying paint. Richard Diebenkorn, for his multiple layers of paint in a pentamento fashion, his ability to define area with shapes, enhancing the abstract. And Charles Burchfield, Ernest Blumenschein and Emily Carr for being regionalists in love with their area of the world. And for their skill, ability and nobility to portray beauty- though it is a different beauty.




In the third grade I started art lessons at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Two years later, I started private art lessons with Mrs. Balberni in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, which I continued through high school. Through my adolescence, I also attended Moore College of Art in Philadelphia during the summer and weekends.

With a BFA diploma in Painting from the University of Oklahoma in hand, I moved to south Florida where my first job was as a custom van painter for a van conversion company. Then I tried commercial art, for which I had no flair, following it as a social work with United Cerebral Palsy of Broward County. The beauty of Tallahassee wooed me away but offered little employment to replace the excellent job left in Fort Lauderdale, especially since OU had just beat FSU in the Orange Bowl (1980) the week before and the only item of interest on my resume was my degree from the "football powerhouse" that beat the local Seminoles.

I found employment building stain glass windows; what a dream come true; light, color and a paycheck combined! Thereafter, I spent a decade as a self-employed entrepreneuse with my own sign company. Then, having decided to return to school in paralegal studies (in pursuit of a paycheck with fringe benefits), I worked part-time for the Palm Beach Post, a great experience with talented people. After completing my studies, I began a seven-year stint working for the Leon County Supervisor of Elections as Outreach Program Coordinator. Today, I return to that arena during election periods while following my painting muse as my full-time occupation.

In addition to painting, I teach several classes of yoga a week and am certified by the Yoga Alliance as a hatha yoga instructor. My yoga practice further enriches me and my painting , as does my husband, dog, cats and wooded homestead off an old, dirt road.


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