HOMAGE TO LOWELL HERRERO
The first Lowell Herrero painting I saw was in form of a cow calendar at a friends house in Canada.
I was immediately drawn not only to the cow, but how it was painted: big, oversized but enormously friendly and calm. So I began to look out for Lowell Herreros paintings, especially for the cows of course, that just lies in my nature..., but also for his other work.
Trying to explain what fascinates me about his paintings is not an easy task. For one, in our ever so hectic and bustling world his art emanates a comforting calmness. His oversized figures, human or animal, have a certain soothing effect to me. They are so down-to-earth, pure, contained within themselves, joyous and content. There is no stress, running and disharmony. Everything is as it is supposed to be, natural!
Then the colors! I am a color person, you will hardly find any black&white photography in my work. Looking at Lowells colorful paintings opens my heart. Just look at the luscious lavender or even better the cadmium orange, my absolute favorite.
Now my good fortune had it, that my dear friend and fellow photographer Cherie made it possible for me to actually meet Lowell Herrero in person.
On a recent trip to the Napa Valley we drove to Calistoga and the home of the Herreros.
Even standing at the gate I realized, everything here is breathing and living art. Then the gate opens and and one feels transported right into an Italian estate. Nestled in a lush olive grove lies a beautiful Tuscan farm house solely designed by Lowell Herrero. And again, art is everywhere, iron and copper statues of typical Herrero women stand on ladders and seem to harvest olives of the trees, and other smaller sculptures line the way.
I was beginning to feel a bit nervous, I was about to meet an artist whose art I'm admiring since over a decade. But Cherie left me no time to ponder by jumping out of the car and walking right into the outstretched arms of Janet, Lowell Herrero's wife. After a short introduction and a warm welcome extended to me, we entered Lowells' studio.
Lowell, who was in the process of designing and painting Halloween costumes for his wife and himself, greeted us with glee and welcomed us in his realm.
My eyes darted between the artist and all the wonderful original painting. I had a hard time concentrating at first because it was such a visual overload. The Herreros, obviously used to the overwhelming effect the studio has on visitors, began to debate teasingly about the design of their costumes and gave me time to look at all the paintings. What an experience to suddenly see the originals of artwork one has only seen in books or on the computer. Not only that, but also to see some work in progress, to see how much thought and work goes in it.
For the moment I was speechless.
But it got even better, Janet showed us through their house with many more originals and shared the stories of various paintings with us. What a treat. And again, everything breathed art. The Herreros not only are artists, they collect the art of other artists, too. To walk through their home is like a stroll through a personal museum, just better.
Back at the studio I had the chance to chat more with Lowell, this time with all my attention, about his travel to Europe and about how his art evolved over the years. Originally we had only planned to stay a few minutes, and suddenly we realized it was getting dark and we had spent hours!
We left with a bottle of original Herrero Olive Oil, a warm hug and unforgettable memories.
Thank you Janet and Lowell for this memorable afternoon!
Please check out Lowell Herreros' website at : http://www.lowellherrero.com