22 April 2010

Ginette Callaway- A Modern Day Monet

Today I'm doing something a little bit different. I turn away from me, my life and my work to share with you the life and work of a fine impressionist artist.

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than when I discover an artist that has the "Wow" factor. As anyone familiar with me knows, Monet and his impressionist paintings have been a major inspiration in my life. I'm am openly addicted to color and free spirits. In Ginette's and work I found lots of Monet and plenty of WOW. Since we have become acquainted I have also found a free spirit. Ginette is full of positive energy as are her paintings.

What follows is the story of Ginette's journey so far in her own words.

"I was born in Alsace France to a French Father and A German Mother.
My life throughout has been influenced by the fact that I have a multi-cultural background and am blessed with an inquisitive and adventures personality.

I moved to the US in 1987 (with very limited language skills) after hitting English language books, I found a job working in nutritional counseling for three years, until I got my foot in the door of the music industry in Atlanta Georgia.
I began taking pictures for a local record label and do design work for them as well on a freelance basis. I wrote songs that have been published, some recorded by blue artists like Joey Gilmore.

My desire to become a full time visual artist led me to take classes drawing at the Clayton College and then I was spurred on by my teacher who told me that I had a natural talent and that I should start painting, which I did.

I decided to pour myself in to painting, studying masters, reading, practicing and so on. For income sake I keep my part time graphics design job and do some administrative work as well for a local record label. I also take photos of the artists and do all the airbrushing for CD covers. Sometimes I get paid to be a judge for an art show in the surrounding area.

I call myself an introverted extrovert, because as much as I have fun and can be the live of the party, I prefer to be alone with my animal and lose myself in painting. I can remain in my studio and not go anywhere except my garden, for weeks. Spending decades in the entertainment industry has given me an appreciation for solitude!

From the time I was born till the age of six I lived in France, then we moved to Germany so I could go to school there, it was scary because I mostly spoke French at that time. From the age of 15 to 19 I worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry first as an apprentice for three years and then in sales. During those years I also attended business school. The educations system is a bit different in Germany. If you don’t go to university you can get a good apprentice ship with a good company and graduate with a degree as long as you have good grades in school.

My grand father had worked for this Pharmaceutical company for 28 years so it was a given that I would start there as well from the ground up, but I was unhappy. Sales weren’t really my cup of tea. At that time I wanted to be a photographer. But I did what was expected of me and it wasn’t until two decades later that I freed myself from that and finally followed my dreams.

From the age of 19 to 29 I lived in Frankfurt Germany and worked for CBS records in sales. During that time I also traveled a lot, today I often use those travel destinations as subjects of my paintings.

Today I live in Georgia over the last 20 years I traveled to many places in the US from the Great Lakes to Galveston and many in between and let’s not forget the Bahamas which I visited a few times, but most travel is now in the South East. That gives me much to paint about.

I don’t have much time for traveling right now but I hope that will change some day again and I may do some plain air painting trips. The truth is I can’t bear to give my cats to anyone to take care off. I would worry myself to death. If I can only figure a way to take them with me, but four cats… all rescues, and all attached to me like glue, any suggestions?

Sometimes I paint scenes from the recording studio or artists that I know, but I don’t do many of them. My forte is nature and everything in it and that gives me the most satisfaction. Glitter and nightlights give me a break from it sometimes and remind me just how wonderful nature is. Sometimes I paint botanical and healing plants as I call them. When I became an apprentice in this pharmaceutical wholesale company at the age of 15 in Germany, it awakened my interest in healing plants.
Actually one my first impression was when I learned that the active ingredient in Aspirin is a chemical compound from the Willow Tree Bark.
My training, which was part of the apprenticeship, taught the direct connection about plants the synthetic drugs we use today. Even earlier as a young child, I learned from my grand father during our many walks in the forests of Germany, that the Foxglove (Digitalis) has the potent chemical that was used in heart medicines. He warned me about not touching the plant the same with certain mushrooms. Those impressions never left me and are still in my head and my heart and I paint from that. You could say I am a naturalist.

When I was about 21 I bought a horse as a rescue that was about to be sold to the butchers. There is a long story to that, it belonged to my beloved riding teacher Bruno and when he passed it was a blow to me. The only thing left to do was keep his precious Oberst from being killed. My riding skills weren’t there yet to really manage that horse, or so the “in crowd” said. They snickered behind my back and seemed to be waiting for a disaster. They even set up sprinklers in the arena when I went out there, knowing my horse would be spooked. Oberst and I found us some new accommodations with friendly people and the miracle was that Oberst and I bonded and under me he wasn’t the same “hard to ride” horse that many knew. I used the Tellington Touch method to address some of his fear issues and we had some wonderful years together.

When I left for America I gifted him to a good friend who was a great rider and good person I knew he would take care of him. When I left Germany at the age of 30 I left everything behind, my grand parents, my horse, my brothers, my mother, my friends most of my books, my record collection and everything I knew. Leaving your country and way of live is very hard, I know that from experience. Because of that I feel for anyone who is displaced especially if their lifestyle is bonded to the land and when you lose that that is very painful, but I am a survivor and more than that I don’t believe that there are any coincidences.

So I knew that my new life in America had lots in store for me and I had to take it all in and that there was a reason for me to be here.

Luckily my adventurous personality and can do attitude helped me to weave in the fabric of America. Today I can honestly say I am truly happy here! The country is amazing, the land, nature and everything in is splendid!

Horses are part of my soul. When I am dead, I want my ashes to be scattered among the American Mustangs. I try to paint Horses many times, technically I am good at it, but every time I do I get very melancholy and it’s hard to even write about that. Especially when I get to paint the eyes, my thoughts wonder off and I find myself in a sad place, as if I am lost, as if I belong somewhere else. It is unexplainable, I have always had a strong emotional reaction to horses and anyone who knows how level headed and cool I usually am would be surprised. I think my heart belongs in to the spirit world of the horse."

Below is my favorite Callawy.

Lily Pond Reflections Original Painting by Ginette by Ginette Callaway
Lily Pond Reflections Original Painting by Ginette Callaway

For a little European flair as well as emotion I particularly like this French landscape.

My Country Road Home - Dreams of My Youth by Ginette Callaway
My Country Road Home - Dreams of My Youth by Ginette Callaway

You can view more of Ginette's work at her Etsy store where she where she offers original oil paintings

Or you can view and purchase her collection of beautiful impressionist prints.

If you are a fan of impressionist art you will certainly become a fan of Ginette's. I encourage you to visit her sites and see for yourself. You'll be glad you did!

©Kinsey Barnard Phtography

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks Kinsey. I am very flattered that yo did this write up. I honestly don't know what to say! Thanks so much!