Little Rock’s Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center is home to a unique local treasure: Art Group Gallery. Founded and operated by area artists, it is a true working gallery where area artists have a studio to paint and can display their works to sell in the front of the shop. Follow along as we feature different artists each month who will each share the inspiration and stories behind a few of his or her pieces.
At Home: Tell us a bit about your work. How did you get into painting? What type of mediums do you use? Do you have a formal process you follow or particular venue where you paint?
Sean LeCrone: I’m mainly a self-taught artist who has been painting for about 15 years. I prefer to paint in oils, but I work in acrylic as well when the mood strikes. I don’t have a strict process or recipe that I follow to create a painting. I like to be thoughtful at the beginning of the process and try to imagine what the finished piece will look like before I make my first mark on the canvas. I enjoy painting on location, but most of my work happens in the studio. I take a layered approach to developing the painting over two or more sessions in the studio.
AH: We’d love to hear the story behind some of your pieces. Do you have a favorite subject matter?
SL: Cows and barnyard animals are some of my favorite subject matters. Maybe I was a farmer in another life. I like taking drives out into the rural areas of Arkansas to get inspiration, and there is never a shortage of cows to see. This painting is a bit of a departure from my usual approach to composition. I usually keep my horizon line much higher when I compose a picture, leaving only a small bit of sky showing. Here, I wanted to accentuate the sunset mood so I let the sky dominate more than I usually would.
AH: That piece beautifully captures the sunset. Do you typically paint scenes at this time of day?
SL: I do not usually paint pictures where the light is high in the sky. I like to work with lots of shadow shapes and this painting doesn’t have much shadow in it due to the time of day. This barn was found out in Kellogg Valley, and I knew I probably wouldn’t be back to this location anytime soon. So, I had to work with the light and try to capture this regal old barn. It was a quite a warm day in midwinter so I tried to express that warmth by exaggerating the the reds a bit.
AT: Tell us about composition. Do you have a favorite way to frame a scene?
SL: I find myself painting square compositions more and more. I think this is due to the prevalence of this shape in all of our social media. This picture is from somewhere out near Scott, Arkansas. I wanted this painting to evoke the mood of a passing storm. The light breaking through the cloud and cutting just under the horizon line suggests a gap in the clouds. The puddles are a nice element to accentuate the mood. I hope the viewer can feel that mood when they look at this painting.
AH: Farm scenes aren’t the only outdoor subject matters you like to paint. Can you tell us about any other places you’ve found inspiration?
SL: I’m always on the lookout for painting inspiration and found this scene at Pinnacle Mountain Boat Launch on the Maumelle River. The way the abstract foreground contrasts with the the placid middle and background are what drove me to chose the painting’s dimensions and composition. The variety of greens was a challenge for me in terms of color but I think it captures the Arkansas morning light. I think the brushwork and the use of green makes this unique. This was a fun one to paint. I enjoyed the process from start to finish.
See more of Sean’s work and learn how you can shop Art Group Gallery at artgrouparkansas.com.