Bev Doolittle's phenomenal success has been a by-product of her desire to work hard at what she loves to do most, create art with meaning. In 1979, The Greenwich Workshop produced her first limited edition print, "Pintos", which sold out at the publisher within weeks. "I am not a prolific painter," Bev explains. "My art style prevents that. Reproducing my painting in print was the perfect answer. I was able to concentrate on my most important ideas while still having my work represented in galleries around North America as well as abroad. My relationship with the Workshop and its extended family of artists, galleries and their customers has been a joy for me for more than twenty-five years." Nearly all of Bev's prints have been sell-outs and five books of her art have been released. Her first, "The Art of Bev Doolittle", is truly a phenomenon, having sold over half-million copies of its hardback edition. Her second book, "New Magic", continues the story of her painting career. She has since released three children's books. "The Forest Has Eyes" was a hit with readers, both young and old. It was followed by "Reading the Wild". Her illustrated novel for young readers, "The Earth is My Mother", includes dozens of drawings and paintings, four of which were released in print. Her desire to try new mediums as well as her fascination with sculpture, led to the creation of five limited edition porcelain boxes, each featuring one of her most popular paintings. In 2004, after a five year hiatus, Bev returned to the print art in the form of original, hand-pulled, stone lithographs. With some editions set at fewer than 20 pieces, these original prints are already rare. Bev's work reflects her love of horses, passion for the natural world and her affinity for the Native American's spiritual relationship to the land. Her work can also be found on calendars, journals and note cards.Bev and her husband, Jay, both graduates of the Art Center College of Design, began married life as art directors for an advertising agency in Los Angeles. Five year of living in the city made them more aware of what they were missing: the outdoors and creating their own art. "We hoarded our savings and struck out on our own, living out of our camper for a year. Calling ourselves, 'Traveling Artists', we painted our way through the western United States, western Canada and Baja, California. It was a tremendous growing period for me. I not only developed my painting skills, but I discovered that I possessed enough self-discipline to paint every day." Afterward, they displayed their work in malls and outdoor art venues. "Yes, we were 'starving artists' for a while!" admits Bev with a grin, "but, we were so happy doing what we loved." Life is full of hard choices and the path of the artist is no different. "My advice to aspiring artists is simple: paint what you know, paint what you love and always paint for yourself! For me, success followed my passion. Passion is what drives me."
A PHENOMENON GOES PAPERBACK
The Art of Bev Doolittle
Defines the Career of One of the Most Astonishing Artists of Our Time
A master of the art of hidden imagery, Bev Doolittle’s paintings are crowded with detail and rich with layered presences, seen and unseen. A fine-art phenomenon in the limited edition print world, Bev Doolittle’s edition sell-out rates are unsurpassed in the industry. Originally packaged by Greenwich Workshop Press for Bantam Books, The Art of Bev Doolittle hardcover has sold over 400,000 copies since it release in 1990. This definitive collection of the artist’s published prints and paintings as well as sketches, color studies and photographs is available for the first time in an affordable paperback edition. (Greenwich Workshop Press, April 2002, $29.95, ISBN 0-86713-080-6)
More than 100 full color images challenge both the eye and the mind, and encourage the viewer to look beyond what is seen at first glance. Doolittle’s unique vision and talent combine to create images that invite the viewer to enter her world. Her subject matter is primarily wilderness, wildlife and the spirit of the Native American Indians. Her medium is a technically difficult, dry watercolor technique. Doolittle changes the experience of seeing through her use of hidden imagery, using camouflage as a technique to slow down the viewing process. It is impossible to view a Doolittle painting passively. Filled with visual surprises, the artist’s messages are never hidden, they are merely elusive. One is drawn in to speculate, to wonder and to explore the power of the myth and the meaning behind the beauty and composition of her painting.
There´s no need for the subtlety of camouflage to enhance the storyline of this painting, the meaning is clear: the time for talking is over. "Beyond Negotiations is one of a few action pieces that I´ve created," says the artist. "I had a lot of fun with gestures, facial expressions and creating a sense of depth and dust. Containing the charging Indians within a long horizontal border was not an option. This image sums up the results of all the negotiations leading up to the present moment (whatever they may have been!) The fact that the image is bursting at the seams helps to emphasize the immediacy of the warriors´ obvious negative response to the last proposal." The original artwork for Beyond Negotiations is not only Bev´s first acrylic painting in over thirty years, but her largest ever. The piece began its life as a stone lithograph, but when Bev saw her sketch enlarged, she knew these warriors were destined to become a big painting.
Doolittle fans and collectors couldn´t be happier that Bev made the decision that she has, and that her instincts about the image have proved correct. Already, demand for these editions appears to be greater than the edition sizes that have been set. Not since 1984 has a fine art edition of Bev´s been sized below 8,500 pieces, so make sure you get yours before it becomes an issue Beyond Negotiations!