Oil painting of a girl feeding pigeons in a plaza in Spain.

A Small Offering
36 x 48 in.
Oil on cradled wood
Available through the artist

Heather Arenas: On a trip to Spain, I visited one of the many plazas where pigeons gathered to take advantage of the generous tourists. There are ‘pigeon food’ vendors in the plaza. This little girl didn’t mind that she was swarmed by hungry visitors. She was enjoying the connection with each little beak and presenting them with her small offering. My intention with this piece was to capture the movement of the feeding frenzy. I remember thinking how calm the girl was with so much chaos going on around her.

I’m what I would call a contemporary impressionist. I use broken color and strong brushwork, but I say contemporary because of the combination of graphic contrast and grays. I try to build a composition that can draw people from across a room. For my recent work, I’m embracing my inner contemporary artist and applying more techniques that I have only flirted with in the past. In particular, I am emphasizing line and pattern in more direct ways.

I paint from photos that I personally shot because I don’t want to just copy an image. I start with an idea that inspired me to take the picture in the first place. How do I feel in this place? Happiness, excitement, chaos, a somber feeling? Whatever it was, I want to get THAT on to the surface. I don’t worry about whether my subjects match the photo. I often use multiple photos to combine gestures of people to recreate the feeling. Instead of limiting the focus to a recognizable place or person, I’m really trying to create a recognizable feeling with paint. I get the most joy when a collector tells me how my painting makes them feel! That means I have connected with them on a personal level.

I am currently represented by:
Reinert Fine Art, Charleston, SC
Mary Williams Fine Arts, Boulder, CO

See more of Heather’s work at www.heatherarenas.com