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.
Little Rock native Vonda Rainey loves to paint scenes of the city as well as her travels. Today, she’s sharing some of the inspiration and stories behind her oil on canvas works. Read on to learn more about four of her recent pieces available through Art Group Gallery.
This is a downtown piece that I painted because I love the vibe and energy that a downtown scenery provides. I love the fact that it was a little rainy that day but the yellow trolley just gave it a pop of color to brightens everything. This piece was done in oil paints and sold a few years ago but is on the advertisement for our gallery in the lobby of the Statehouse Marriott.
This painting was done from a picture that I took on my iPhone two or three years ago after jumping out of a cab to meet my girlfriends downtown. It was close to Christmas, and I saw the trolley was green and all the Christmas lights on it were touched with drizzles of rain. I thought, “Oh my gosh … this is a moment in time and the perfect storm. I have to take this picture and paint it!” And I did. I cannot explain it except to say that the water droplets in the air and all the lights from the cars made the sky a yellowish green and everything was just beautiful and perfect, and I had to paint it! I completed this piece in oil on a 4′ x 4′ canvas, and it has since sold.
“Bamboo Forest” was done from a picture I took with while traveling in Maui. My family and I were traversing through the bamboo forest on the road to Hana. I usually try to paint from the images I take with my iPhone and the experiences I have in my life. Not to say that I don’t paint from copyrighted images (with permission, of course!) and pictures sent to me by friends and followers, but I do love to paint nature, architecture, local sites and scenery.
The inspiration for this painting came from another trip to downtown Little Rock. I was doing a show at Community Bakery on Main Street. After the show was over I wanted to go to Midtown Billiards to eat what I think is one of the best burgers in town. When I walked in at 8 o’clock, the place was empty but a little smoky, and I saw this couple sitting at the bar sharing a drink, a smile, a cigarette, and a moment in time. I asked to to take a picture and painted it. Again, I thought what a perfect storm. This really tells a story about an iconic place in the SOMA district and a relationship budding over a drink in a somewhat seedy yet cool Little Rock hangout.
See more of Vonda’s work and learn how you can shop Art Group Gallery at artgrouparkansas.com.