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Linda Stanley

Artist's Biography And Statement

As a native of California, Linda has spent her life exploring both Northern California, where she currently lives, and Southern California, where she was born and grew up. It was her love, respect and deep appreciation for the incredible beauty and diversity of her surroundings that led to her many volunteer activities promoting responsible stewardship of Nature’s gifts. From her docent work in the State Park System leading nature walks for visitors to her environmental activities with elementary school children at the Baylands, her understanding of the fragile interconnectedness of plant and animal life in the many ecological niches California possesses encouraged her to find new ways to communicate her passionate interest in Nature’s sacred esthetic. First poetry, then painting were added to her repertoire.

She has found her earlier investigations of California to be of great value to both her landscape sketching and painting. Primarily an oil painter, en plein aire, she frequently uses water color sketches in order to quickly catch a momentary mood. Although small
a la prima studies may be used to create larger canvases, most of her landscape work is done on site. Whether studying cloud play at the coast, sunsets at the baylands, light and color in the oak woodlands and golden hills, painting takes her up and down the coast of California and into the many interior microclimates, where she loves to experiment with a variety of limited palettes. Both a still life and landscape artist, she uses nature’s legacy of light and color to inform and create lyrical still life pieces.

The influences on Linda’s painting career come from several sources. She finds a special kinship with the late 19th and early 20th century Russian Itinerant painters, as well as the American Impressionists, California School, including those contemporary artists who carry on the soul-filling expressiveness of their predecessors. She has studied with some of the finest teachers in the Bay Area and attended workshops all over California from the rocky landscape of Pt. Lobos to the fiery hills of Livermore to the forested coast of Mendocino.


I paint for the same reason that I write poetry, play the piano, and dance—to express some mood that has strongly impressed itself on me. Although I have come to painting later than the other arts, I find in all of them an opportunity to capture a momentary play of a rhythm, pattern, or beat and to transform this into a sense of movement in space that through a wonderful yet mysterious alchemy of words on paper or paint on canvas passes through me to another in sacred communication. Whether it is the lines of a poem moving roughly and quickly then slowly and tenderly toward its conclusion or the slow then rapidly shifting colors of early sunset moving playfully, dramatically but inevitably toward night, catching and then expressing this movement is what draws me to each of these creative endeavors. Both are alone processes that can capture a moment of glory in the shifting mood of nature and then transform it into something that can be shared with others. For me, it is a way to capture an inspiring moment for timeless beauty. As a child, I would stare at the clouds playing above me or the stars expanding across the night sky and wonder who was sharing this moment with me.

While Wordsworth found inspiration in a rainbow, “My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky,” I have found that beholding a sunset or stormy sky motivates both my painting and poetry, which in turn strongly influence my music and dancing. Word play, like “Sun Sets” below, often stimulates longer poems and frequently enlarges its influence to inspire “poetry” on the canvas. I experience a tremendous sense of freedom when I am able to collect the various impressions we label light, movement, and rhythm in space within my heart and express them variously in an esthetic way. Perhaps, in this lifetime, this is as close as I will come to touching eternity.


Sun sets,
Clouds play
Soft or loudly, bright and shade
Belly glowing, heart enfolding.

Sun sets,
Shapes change
Slow or quickly, old and strange
Mind enticing, glory holding.

Sun sets,
Values trick
Thick or lightly, slight or strong
Mood enhancing, nature dancing.

Sun sets,
Colors mix
Scarlets tease, grays bewitch
Night awakes
There’s no withholding.



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