Storyteller of Fine Art – Lucy Dickens
Join artist, Lucy Dickens, as she takes you along in her journeys on canvas and in word to some of the most magical settings in the world. Award winning Arizona artist, Lucy has created a unique, story-like approach to landscape painting. She discovers the landscape, and then transforms it into a narrative pictorial on canvas. Her landscape paintings convey an emotional reaction that transports the viewer into scenes of beautiful tranquility; an authentic place and time.
Lucy resides in the majestic state of Arizona where she feels it’s a privilege to be surrounded by all the diverse beauty of the Southwest. “There are few places on Earth where you can enjoy the morning on a lake cut by glaciers and rising red rocks, have lunch watching a gentle snowfall in a quiet forest, then end the day watching a sunset standing on the rim of the largest canyon in the world! Arizona is an artist’s paradise and as an artist, I’m dedicated to capturing this God given beauty on canvas.”
Growing up as the daughter of both a photographer and a watercolorist, Lucy developed a keen eye and passion for the outdoors. “I always loved watching my mom paint; she first encouraged and inspired me to create.” Her family was also avid outdoor explorers, backpacking and camping their way through some of the most pristine wilderness many never see.
Lucy developed such an appreciation for nature and as a budding artist began to study everything, the way the sunlight struck the mountain ridges and sparkled across the water, the way the clouds formed and the setting sun bathed everything in warm light. “Being accused of having my head in the clouds may have some validity as I am always watching the sky change before me!” laughed Lucy. These experiences left her with a passion for exploring the world around her and desire to capture its beauty.
Lucy did not start out to be an oil painter. Upon entering high school, art was naturally her favorite subject; concentrating most on pencil and charcoal drawings. At age 19, she married her high school sweetheart, Richard; they began a family and birthed a business all while she worked full time. “My sketching was still very important to me, soothing to my soul. At that time I really didn’t have aspirations of making a career of it, it was just something I enjoyed for me and shared with others. Maybe in part because art was never the primary professions of my talented parents.” said Lucy. She worked in banking, then investments, and while her kids were young, Lucy and her husband started a demolition company. “I had little ones and worked fulltime coming home to handle the accounting by night. This was such a crazy time and needless to say creative expressions were sidelined for a time. Before long we grew to be the largest demolition company in the state, by then I was the Controller full time. “Sometimes I wonder how we made it through those challenging days!” Lucy reflects.
In 2004 after moving into a new home Lucy wanted to paint a mural in their bathroom. “I suppose I need to see if I can paint first!” She asked Richard to bring a scrap piece of drywall home to give it a try. Using simple bottles of craft paint Lucy jumped right in. “Little by little this tropical oasis emerged, my heart opened more and more as I painted. I began to feel such an excitement and could see I had a talent for this, even though there was no comparison to what I am painting now.” Richard, always so supportive, bought her a real artist acrylic paint set and easel and she was on her way. “From the first time I put brush to canvas I knew, this is what I was supposed to be doing. This is who I am. I had no idea where it would take me, I still don’t but I know this, I must paint! The more I painted, a deep passion began to well up inside me and filled me with a sense of purpose, this is my calling.”
When her daughters reached high school, Lucy made the decision to step out of the company and focus on her family and her art. Her first “studio” was her kitchen table with her Mom and a wonderful friend, both talented painters. It became a challenge to pack up each time for dinner. Lucy began taking workshops and absorbing every book and video on painting she could find. Before she knew it she was showing in a gallery on Main Street in Scottsdale, her passion had now become her profession. All the years in growing their business had laid the groundwork for creating a successful art business. She knew what accounting and tracking processes to set in place along with the importance of relationship building, client service, marketing, planning and so much more.
The best gift her husband surprised her with was a built-out dedicated studio. He and Lucy’s mother designed the space in what was a large room off their RV garage. The family was to leave on a vacation and as soon as they left the contractor’s got to work. She returned for her birthday to find the most amazing studio!
Dickens continued taking classes and workshops, first in acrylics, and then eventually transitioned to oils. She was attracted to the luminosity and depth created with oils and this challenged her, so one day she switched cold turkey. She had no training in oils yet and there was quite a learning curve, much more than she expected. Just as in acrylics she strived to learn anything and everything she could via workshops, (often through the Scottsdale Artist School) painting with other respected artists, trips to museums and galleries studying great works of art and more. Lucy describes her education as self-directed study, outdoors exploring, and countless hours in the studio striving to push the envelope. “I try to be the sponge and learn anything and everything I can. I think you never stop learning and growing as an artist, if you do you’ll stifle.” stated Lucy. From an early age she has been drawn to the work of the great masters, especially the Hudson River Valley painters, such as Thomas Cole and Fredrick Church. I love their handling of oil paints, mastery of atmosphere and light, and capturing a sense of the divine that influences her work today. Current artist, Daniel Gerhartz, also influences her “While our styles and subject matter differ I am entranced by his mastery of light, the female form, and the ethereal and romantic feel to his paintings.” The more Lucy painted she discovered a talent for seeing, capturing, and painting moments that stir one’s emotions. Lucy describes her style as an expressive or painterly realism.
“The interplay of light and shadow draw me deeply into a scene,” she explains of her process. “What does the light touch? What is hiding in the shadows, how do they dance? I love the sound of the wind in the trees or water gently lapping the shore, a bubbling brook and the dance of dragonflies darting to and fro. It’s all entrancing to me, I think of how I can convey these experiences in paint and in word.” Lucy employs her spiritual love of nature to evoke feelings of peace in her artwork. She wants to capture these “God moments” and share them with the world, to bring hope and light to those that view her paintings, to inspire, causing them to pause and see the beauty around them.
“It’s those moments of beauty that cause me to feel, to reflect, and to give thanks; a scene that has a power, placidity and intensity that draws me in. It’s these fleeting illustrations that I strive to capture. There is a story in these segments of time, and therefore, a story in all my paintings. I am a Fine Art Storyteller.” Each painting is an individual window created to take a journey and find serenity.
“Knowing the story behind the creative process makes a piece even more special,” said Don and Linda Kesner, art collectors. “Each artist’s view of the world is unique and it isn’t often that collectors get to know the inspiration and insight behind each piece.”
“Lucy has an incredible ability to transfer scenes of beauty onto canvas. With a sensitive spirit and eye for detail Lucy’s paintings come alive, giving you a feeling of being transported to that very setting. Being a woman of deep spiritual conviction, Lucy has a heart for the purchasers of her artwork even to the point of sending prayer up for each person that obtains one of her masterful creations. Lucy has added true beauty to our home!” says collector, Debbie Blanchard.
Lucy’s faith has had a profound effect on her life and who she is as an artist. This guides her in a desire to share light and hope through her work and stories. Each painting starts and ends with a prayer, for the creation of the artwork itself and for its impact on others.
Lucy continues her love of travel with her family. “My husband and I both love the outdoors and are eager to explore although at different speeds, him warp speed through the pine trees as I prefer to meander, not missing anything. We’ve found middle ground in our exploring, often in our off-road vehicle loaded with a wonderful picnic. We adventure at his speed, while I take it all in studying the surroundings, enjoying the ride. We stop then for a picnic while I poke around turning over rocks and peering into crevices.” Lucy continues. “We have found some of the most incredible places you could imagine, many would never see. THIS is what I want to show people, from Aspen groves and high mountain lakes, canyons and pine forests, prairies, desert monsoon storms rolling in and of course our beautiful Sonoran desert!” Lucy exclaims.
Lucy has also had the opportunity to travel to some of the most beautiful places on Earth. While drawn to landscapes she most enjoys capturing travel journeys. To experience New England in fall, the cobblestone streets of Italy and Spain, to stand among the whitewashed buildings of Greece, to travel the Holy Lands and bring viewers along for the journey with her. When she travels, she not only gathers reference material for paintings but also creates a story to accompany each work, through her journaling, capturing her reflections in words.
“Nature provides us magnificent gifts: majestic scenery that is wide, deep and stunning; close up details only revealed by slanted sunlight; cloud formations full of mystery. Or it might be a colorful petal singular in its vibrancy, a slender branch twisting just so, an exquisitely shaped leaf. Such glimpses appear and disappear in the blink of an eye, but for a split second, time stands still, breathing stops, the beauty and spirit of life intensifies and we feel awe. So it is with the artwork of award-winning oil painter, Lucy Dickens. Her realism is not about reproducing a scene, but rather capturing those special moments with all the accompanying magic. In this regard, she has a gift. She is able to reveal spirit and enable viewers to be part of the experience as she makes a special connection with her subject matter and honors its essence. People respond.” Donna Kublin, Images AZ Magazine
Lucy wants to share her art and stories recognizing it as part of her life’s purpose. “I believe when I create an original painting, it is for one special person. I don’t know who they are, but they know when they see it, making a special connection to my painting. I love when that happens,” Lucy said. “Original artwork is special and yet not everyone can have the original. I want to reach others who are moved by my art and stories and feel strongly that I must, in some quality way, make my art available beyond those who can purchase an original. This is why I offer Giclee prints and gift items.”
Lucy’s work has attracted the attention of press and collector’s alike. She has been featured in publications such as Southwest Art, Images AZ Magazine, the Foothills Focus, Leisure Lifestyle Magazine, and Informed Collector to name a few. Dickens has exhibited with NOAPS, OPA, The Scottsdale Artist School’s Best and the Brightest, and the Glendale Arts Council’s 51st Annual Juried Exhibit where she received 1st place in oil and a purchase award. The City of Glendale added Sonoran Rainbow to their permanent collection. She participates in the Sonoran Art League’s Hidden in the Hills Open Studio Tour each November, (“Joyful” made the program cover). About 180 artists exhibit from 45 studios in Carefree, Cave Creek and N Scottsdale.