THE ARTISTS: Lee Andersen, painter |

THE ARTISTS: Lee Andersen, painter

What is your career and your current job title? I am a career homemaker, so I will never be “retired,” but, in another sense, I am “off duty” from raising four boys and I am using this free time to further my pursuit of art by painting, studying art books, looking at art whenever I can. I am a member of Pioneer Arts, and I am currently their Web master. I guess you could say that my title is “volunteer Web master.”

Describe in a sentence or two your art. At this very moment in time, I am painting in oil, doing still life paintings from artifacts my husband and I have collected. As soon as I finish the current oil painting, it will be back to painting with pastels. (When it comes to media, I am really fickle.) I have worked with oils, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, pencil, ink and print making. People are my favorite subjects. I want the viewer to be able to relate to the subjects as someone they might know or might have known.

Why do you do it? Art is an ongoing pursuit. It is forever challenging with infinite possibilities. I can be alone when I do it. I am my own student and my own teacher at this point. Every time I complete a painting, I think, “The next one will be better.” It is that consuming desire to make the next one better that keeps me painting … for that student in me to please the teacher in me.

What do you hope to accomplish? To be a better artist.

Do you create your art with an exact message you want the viewer to receive and if yes, what is that message? I can answer this question by giving an example. My recent first-place winning painting, “Not Another Birthday!,” in the portrait category of the Pioneer Arts Membership Show in the summer, was of a group of children in party hats. The “birthday boy” in the painting is decidedly not a happy camper.

When I finished the painting, I was worried that no one would “get it,” that is, an unhappy kid at his own birthday party. Norm Brown, the judge who gave me the award, critiqued the painting. He said that I had reached the point where I knew how to use my materials well enough to go on to “telling a story” with my art.

When an artist friend commented on the painting, she said, “I have seen that face before.” That’s it! I want to tell a story in my paintings. And, I want the viewer to get it without my having to explain.

Where do you want to be with your art? I can think of nothing more enjoyable than to paint every day, creating art “stories” and for people to like my art enough to buy some of my paintings.

What kind of special training did you take? I have studied painting at the Houston (Texas) Art League with a former NBC (News) court room artist.

How many hours a day or, if more appropriate, a week do you spend on your work? As much time as I can, probably 3 or 4 days out of the week in actual painting, but hours of every day thinking, planning and dreaming (and cleaning brushes). I spend several hours a month on maintaining the Pioneer Arts Club Web site.

Do you consider it hard work and could anyone do it? It is very hard work, and anyone can do it if he or she is willing to do that work by studying and practicing.

Any other comments you’d like to include? Artists of all kinds have one similarity, and that is their pursuit in their art. Mutual interests can be expressed by seeking out and finding a group of other artists. Pioneer Arts Club is a local group that I belong to. It offers monthly meetings and opportunities to show art. Interested persons can log onto, which can be viewed by going through Microsoft Explorer.

Lee Andersen has an oil painting and a pastel painting in the Northern Mines Open Art Show on display through Nov. 29 at the Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley. Viewing hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays.

“The Artists” appears each Friday. To suggest a person to be profiled, call The Union newsroom at 273-9561.

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