Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Francis Livingston

Leaning In, 2005, Oil on Panel, 12x16

Years ago when we lived in Utah, in an attempt to try to get back into art by familiarizing myself with what was going on in the illustration world, I bought a few recent copies of the Illustrator's Annual. When I was in college we could buy them at a good discount through our school so I had a number of the books from the mid to lates 80's. However, after college I didn't get the discount anymore and had to use my poverty level income for such mundane things as food and shelter, so I stopped buying them. I was so excited to finally "catch up" when I received my new books and the very first piece that caught my eye was a painting by Francis Livingston. I couldn't stop looking at this painting and daydreamed about buying it-we had just started to buy art at that point. The thing about the Illustrators Annuals is that since obviously, the illustrators want to be contacted to get more work, their addresses and phone numbers are listed at the back of the book. I worked up the nerve to actually call the artist and ask him about the piece. He lived in Idaho, not to far from us at the time and he answered the phone when I called. Somehow, I thought he'd have "people." Francis was very nice and very chatty. I actually had to end the conversation, which is pretty unusual for me, my real life friends know that I can stay on the phone for hours! Anyway, we talked a lot about how he was working both as an illustrator and as a fine artist showing in galleries, something I was interested in because even though I had always thought I'd be an illustrator, I also had it in the back of my mind that I would someday show in galleries. I asked him about the painting in the book and he told me that he though it had been sold. I was really disappointed but thought I'd still like to see more of his work and he said that Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco represented his fine art. Doug and I hadn't taken a trip together for a long time so this was a good reason to take a weekend in San Francisco to look at some art.

We had friends stay with the kids, but our youngest daughter was less than a year old and I was still breastfeeding her, so she came along. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see much of the city because from the moment the plane landed until we left there were torrential rains. Which made getting around with a stroller really challenging and not very appealing.

We did visit many art galleries though and really enjoyed meeting and talking with Thomas Reynolds of the Thomas Reynolds Gallery. He probably enjoyed it too as we ended up buying several pieces from him (which I will discuss at a later date). I asked him about Francis Livingston and he starting pulling some paintings out of storage, one of them being the one I had seen in the book. So much for Mr. Livingston's organizational skills! Needless to say, we snapped it up and bought another one of his pieces that we also had to have.

This painting is next to my office desk and I look at it everyday. I love the sky and the blue of the windows and the quality of the light on the side of the building. And the building reminds me of the industrial areas that I lived and worked in in Philadelphia, years ago. This painting also represents, to me, an artist who has been able to successfully work in two different fields which I admire even though that is not my particular goal anymore. Mr. Livingston's work is a reminder of my past focus on illustration and of a different life while also creating a bridge to my new life as a fine artist and mother.

I continue to watch Mr. Livingston's work and while I am sure that he doesn't remember our conversation, I certainly do. I still like his work, especially the carnival paintings with the ferris wheels and the city scenes and hope to be able to buy another piece sometime.

So many artists, so much art, so little money.......

This is one of the paintings that I have that is not labeled, so I don't know the title. There is a paper backing so there may be info on the back of the panel but I don't want to remove the paper. Anyway, it's by Francis Livingston, painted sometime before 2000, looks like oil on panel, and is 23 1/2"x17 1/2". See what happens if you don't clearly label your work? Someday the owner won't be able to clearly identify it on her blog.


Jordan said...

Its amazing how you touch other people's live's and don't even know it. One day someone will look at one of your paintings hanging over the desk and have similarly good feelings!

Ed Maskevich said...


"Leaning In" is a GORGEOUS piece!

Tracy said...

Aaahhh, what every artist dreams of...

Thanks Ed, this piece was on a postcard for a show of barn paintings I had last year. In keeping with the old wives tale that the piece on the card always sells, this piece sold at the opening.

Jeff Hayes said...

Thanks for the eye-opener Tracy... it's beautiful work.

Tracy said...

Thanks, Jeff.