WALNUT CREEK -- Lynn Glenn knows that to create art, you have to have more than just inspiration. You've got to show some determination.
The native New Yorker remembers the time her husband's career necessitated a move to Switzerland in the 1970s and she wanted to take art classes at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Lausanne. She had taken painting classes in Southern California before their move to Switzerland and wanted to continue what she started -- a passionate love affair with color. But to be able to take classes at the famed school, Glenn had to learn French.
"Color is just delicious -- it is my world, it starts everything going," she said. "I spread it on my palette and I feel my creative juices flowing, it lights my life."
Glenn got her wish -- she learned French and got into the school where she refined her skills which grew from an impressionist style to abstract.
Her abstract acrylic, mixed media paintings now grace the walls of the first floor hall leading to the council chambers at the Walnut Creek City Hall through Oct. 23. One of Glenn's art teachers, Walnut Creek artist Mira M. White, said Glenn is blossoming as an artist, with her work on exhibit at UC San Francisco and Blackhawk Gallery. It also will soon be shown at the county administration building in Martinez.
"She's a wonderful artist, very investigative and experimental and very receptive to new ideas," said White, who teaches through Walnut Creek Civic Arts Education.
While Glenn also does figurative paintings, the Danville artist gravitates toward abstract art and has most recently included mixed media in her work.
"In my figurative paintings it is much the same. I use those same elements of color, texture, line and shape to express the feelings evoked by the model's presence," said Glenn, who facilitates a figure drawing and painting session Thursday afternoons at Lafayette Studio.
Her show at Walnut Creek City Hall includes two paintings she completed after her recent trip to Israel. Glenn was determined to soak up the culture by staying in the moment; she was inspired by "walking though the old city, smelling the spices and viewing incredible art in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem."
"The colors I saw, the formations I saw -- I was trying hard not to think of anything but color, focusing on color, shape, design, form and line," she said.
Glenn likes to peruse hardware stores for tools to use in her paintings, but still uses paint brushes to create abstract figures. "I do a lot of scraping and scratching. I love marks."
She also has an obsession with circles.
"I don't think I have a painting without a round form," she said. "I'm a big shape person."
Despite her love of color, Glenn's Walnut Creek City Hall show includes black and white paintings she did after she was encouraged to go on a "color diet." It was an experiment and a challenge, and she was curious to see where it would lead.
"I decided I was just going to use black and white because I wanted to just have a different way of looking at things," she said. "It was more like, 'Let me see what I could do with just black and white.' "
Glenn said she's happy to hang her paintings at City Hall during Walnut Creek's centennial year celebration, but she's especially proud of her participation in "Serenity," an art show at the UCSF Women's Health Center that features Bay Area artists who present work that elicits calmness, relaxation and well-being.
Glenn said she's learned a lot in White's mixed media class and the abstract art classes of Tesia Blackburn, a noted San Francisco-based artist and mentor to many local painters.
"It seems to me, no matter what I do, I'm determined to find inspiration in the colors and shapes I see."
ABSTRACT PAINTINGS SHOW