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Never still

Five Cities artist Lena Rushing talks emus and more in a sneak preview of her Open Studios exhibit

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GO AHEAD, TOUCH IT :  Formerly from Southern California, Lena Rushing has been on the Central Coast for 12 years, and painting for more than 15. She works with many different media, her favorites including oils, acrylics, and decoupaged paper. Rushing, who paints for several hours each day, will also have necklaces featuring her art, gourds, and other wares for sale during Open Studios. Her working studio in her home will be transformed into a streamlined gallery space, filled with more than 20 pieces, some with handmade frames built by Rushing and her husband Travis. This is one Open Studios not to be missed. Rushing will also exhibit in February at Coffee Bean in Pismo. The 11th Annual Open Studios tour featuring paintings by Lena Rushing happens Oct. 10-11 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 1634 Trouville Avenue in Grover Beach. General Info: 544-9251 or artsobispo.org. Artist Leemer is pictured, as is the unfinished work of the Emu and Ursula. Info: lenarushingart.blogspot.com, lenarushing.etsy.com or thatrav3@aol.com. - IMAGES COURTESY OF LENA RUSHING
  • IMAGES COURTESY OF LENA RUSHING
  • GO AHEAD, TOUCH IT : Formerly from Southern California, Lena Rushing has been on the Central Coast for 12 years, and painting for more than 15. She works with many different media, her favorites including oils, acrylics, and decoupaged paper. Rushing, who paints for several hours each day, will also have necklaces featuring her art, gourds, and other wares for sale during Open Studios. Her working studio in her home will be transformed into a streamlined gallery space, filled with more than 20 pieces, some with handmade frames built by Rushing and her husband Travis. This is one Open Studios not to be missed. Rushing will also exhibit in February at Coffee Bean in Pismo. The 11th Annual Open Studios tour featuring paintings by Lena Rushing happens Oct. 10-11 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 1634 Trouville Avenue in Grover Beach. General Info: 544-9251 or artsobispo.org. Artist Leemer is pictured, as is the unfinished work of the Emu and Ursula. Info: lenarushingart.blogspot.com, lenarushing.etsy.com or thatrav3@aol.com.
New Times Tell me about 2009, artistically for you.

Rushing My new pieces are totally different and better. I will probably have at least 30 pieces during my Open Studios. And I saw the Dalai Lama in person.

 

New Times Why do you like them more?

Rushing I am more confident. Technically they are better. The older stuff was flat, bright colors and there wasn’t a lot of technical difficulty to them. I painted what I felt–it was what I wanted to paint at the time but now I realize there’s not much going on with them.

 

New Times This kind of ties in to what you were saying that other artists have told you to pick a genre and stick with it. Don’t evolve so often. Or so much.

Rushing I was told to choose a style or it looks like I’m experimenting all of the time, instead of being myself. But I’m scattered by nature.

 

New Times You love women and words. Tell me about this new piece.

Rushing Typically I stick with women. I recently went to the Avila Barn and they have two emus and they are nuts! They are huge, their feet are like giant stalks and they make a crazy sound [A mix of a motor and scary laugh. What resulted was a massive new painting with an emu and Rushing’s friend Ursula that will be unveiled at Open Studios]. I wanted to put poetry or something also in this piece. I love to write text on paintings because I love the way the words look and sometimes I do a painting because of the text. I’ve incorporated a Pearl Jam song into one, and a Charles Bukowksi poem into another. In this case I even looked up famous emu poems or famous literature on emus but nothing fit and you can’t force it.

 

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New Times Tell me about the different media you use for your works.

Rushing With Leemer, I used varnish, and then sanded it over it and scratched it up. In other works, I also use printed scrapings, like scrapbook paper, decoupage, and acrylic paint. In Leemer, I am visiting certain themes: women taking flight, dreaming, going somewhere with their ideas, and thinking outside the box. I like strong women.

 

New Times With Leemer, it seemed to be a huge turning point in your art. I was blown away when I first saw it. You had evolved in a good way.

Rushing This was definitely part of when I changed. But it didn’t start out this way. I played around with different sketches of inventions. But I knew I wanted to do something with taking flight. She is dressed like an intelligent woman from that era.

 

New Times What can visitors expect at your Open Studios?

Rushing I will have two canopies on the grass so the open studio will include my actual studio and the yard, and there will be wine and refreshments. ∆

  

Christy Heron can be reached at cheron@newtimesslo.com.

 

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