New year, new week, new artist, new oil paintings coming to the collection. Join me in welcoming the tremendously talented Cheyenne Trunnell to Well + Wonder!! Cheyenne, a Tennessee native who calls Asheville, NC home, creates paintings that seek to capture the essence of peace found in the stillness of nature. Her focus is on capturing the light found in a forest of trees, reflections upon the water’s surface and the tranquil light found in the morning sky. From a more technical standpoint, each piece is exploring the relationships between light and form. (And no, this is no filter, she’s just THAT good at capturing light in her landscape painting!) For her, this relationship is called the space between. It is the space where the ethereal light of God meets the forms of nature’s intricate design. In her mind's eye, she is capturing the essence of a Holy Presence found in the silence and solitude of the natural world. Read more about Cheyenne in our latest post Pardon Me, Cheyenne Trunnell and then shop her debut collection which is LIVE on Well + Wonder!

What is currently on your nightstand? 

Tattooist of Auschwitz, Sacred Rhythms by Ruth haley Barton, Anatomy of The Soul by Curt Thompson, Reforesting Fatih by Matthew Sleeth, Heart Cries of Every Teen by Jackie Perry.  I am one of those people that read multiple books at a time...I know, I am wired.  

Who is your biggest influence as an artist and why?  

Wolf Khan, For years in undergrad I struggled and pushed against my professors and my classmate's view of what art is.  They did not believe that painting nature and trees equaled valuable art. They wanted me to paint nudes and abstracts oil paintings.  And yet, it was in the woods on hikes that I felt the presence of God. It was searching for waterfalls, hiking through deep woods and crossing creeks from rock to rock that I felt that sense of awe and inspiration stirring in my soul. I wanted to capture that feeling of stillness and peace.  I wanted to capture the beauty of the light. 

Fast forward to the end of Graduate school…. Where I walked out with a degree in art therapy, an art room full of hurting teenagers and my solace once again became sitting in nature, under the trees, painting.  So of course I threw everything I had learned in undergrad out the window and painted trees. Still, I always heard the whispers from the days gone past when my professors told me painting nature wasn’t true art. Yet, one day (now 20 years ago) I came across a book about Wolf Khan’s paintings, I will never forget that day ...sitting in the floor of Barnes and Noble mesmerized by his use of color and the fact that he was painting trees and the art world acknowledged him as a true artist.  

So I went back to the drawing board, back to the canvas, back to the cold, unheated studio in the garage and I painted trees...Tree after Tree after Tree……  

Tell us about your childhood. What is the most memorable moment as a young person? 

Graduating with honors from undergrad and being accepted into George Washington University’s Art Therapy Program.  When I was young, the school was hard for me be honest, it was torture. I was such a daydreamer ...I’m sure my teachers dreaded to see me walk through the door.  On this side of being a mom, I now realize I had ADD and I am a big advocate for helping my boys discover how they learn best.  

If you could only have one supply in your art studio, what would it be and why? 

My journal and my favorite pencil!  Each morning I begin my day with my journal, a cup of coffee and my bible.  It is where I think, where I purge my fears and doubts, where I pray and where my ideas are born.  I would be absolutely lost without my journal.  

What is your favorite room in your house? Describe it. 

The study is my favorite place to sit in the afternoons with a cup of tea and my journal.  If I have to be inside, that is where you will find me. I am like a cat, I seek the chair with the most amount of warm sun in the winter.  We have a beautiful winter view of Mt. Pisgah through the wall of windows facing west and it is a quiet place to watch the sun filter through the trees as it sets.  It has a beautiful oriental rug, a wall of deep charcoal bookshelves filled with treasures from all of our hikes and outdoor adventures. 

What is your biggest score online?

My fuzzy chocolate labradoodle! I found the breeder and shared it with my husband.  2 years later he surprised me with a 12-week old chocolate baby girl for my birthday.  Best birthday present ever!

What is the benefit of buying art through a collective? What do you recommend for those that are new to buying original art? 

I feel that it is a more intimate, curated collection.  As for buying, buy the piece that stops you in your tracks!  The one that speaks to the depths of your soul. I believe it is important to fill your home with things that inspire you, images that make you contemplate a deep level of living intentionally.  For me personally, I love paintings that draw me in, and allow me a moment of respite from this overly scheduled hectic life. I also love to know the story behind the paint and what inspires the artist.  

If you have the entire day to spend in an art museum, which one and why? 

I haven’t had an entire day to myself in almost 15 years due to having 2 teenage boys.  It has been a long time since I have spent the day at a museum. When I went to grad school I loved to visit the Hirshhorn Gallery in Washington D.C., because it represented modern artists of our time and I always enjoyed the sculpture garden.  

What is your favorite hotel and what makes it special?

I can’t really say I have a favorite hotel but I do love the 1940”s black and white beach photos at The Ritz Carlton in Ft. Lauderdale.  I love beautifully framed black and white photography.  

If you were a lipstick color would you be red, pink, or clear and why? 

Clear.  Mostly because red scares me.  Perhaps it is my introverted tendencies...but red draws people's attention and I personally prefer to go unnoticed and simply observe when I am in a crowd.  

I can never get on a plane without…. 

Something to calm my nerves ( I hate flying and I am scared of heights) 

Clorox wipes to clean seat, buckle and armrest before my children touch anything ( don’t you know my teenage boys love it when I do this!!! ) 

Noise-canceling headphones to drown out all the talking and noise from the plane.  

Yes, I know I am children tell me EVERYTIME we fly. 

How did you get into the world of art?

During my tumultuous middle school years, I was always doodling and journaling.  In high school, I began to paint watercolor landscapes and I have simply never stopped painting since 1993.   Initially, it was therapeutic for me to create and eventually that knowledge led me to a degree in art therapy.  Now, I view art as a way to bring peace and inspiration into your life. A way to creatively tell your own life story within the walls of your home. 

What do you do to relax?

A cocktail by the pool in the summer and a book with a cup of tea in the winter. Or if no one is home and I have complete control of the TV (which is rare) I binge watch The Crown.  

When do you get the biggest surge of inspiration?

When I am in nature,  I love to walk through the yard after a long day working in the garden and watch the way the light dapples through the forest.    

Or when I have quiet time to write in my journal and study scripture.

Prediction for the Color of 2021?

Deep Green 

What is your idea of a date night? Dinner and a movie or dancing all night? 

Dinner and a movie at home if I have to choose from just those two. More Specifically, a cocktail while watching the sunset and a deep conversation. 

Tell us about your favorite painting that you have created. 

"Water From the Sanctuary" 48 x 36 Oil 2019  is my most favorite piece I have ever created.  It was one of those days where I was tired of overthinking and over criticizing my work and I simply let loose on a big 4ft x 3ft canvas.  It was as though I was capturing a conversation between soul and spirit from deep within the depths of my soul. Recently, I have been exploring the idea of the language of the soul on a deeper level.  In an attempt to capture this dialogue between soul and spirit I have been exploring how gestural lines, shapes, and colors can be used as a way to express the sacred inner sanctum.    

One piece of advice for buying original art? 

Buy what moves your soul to a place of insight, contemplation, and inspiration.