High 5 – Celebrating Five Texas Women Artists Exhibition

Brenda Armistead
Stephanie Estrin
Shannon “Shan” Fannin
Rhea Pettit
Christy Stallop

Upcoming Exhibition:
High 5 – Celebrating Five Texas Women Artists
Opening Reception: ​Saturday, April 4, 1–3;30 pm
Old Bakery and Emporium

Our 5 Texas women exhibition features: a realist vehicle painter, an abstract impressionist, a landscape artist, a whimsical sculptor, and a figurative realist. Each artist brings a unique history that shapes her world view and informs her work. Through the use of acrylics, oils, and clay, each artist shares her own creative voice to contribute to a harmonious group ensemble. This exhibition is not only about valuing our individual creativity, but sharing how art can bring us closer together.

What are you working on now?
I’m working on my grackle series. A body of work that explores the lighter side of our Austin grackles. -Christy Stallop

I’m juggling two paintings right now, a very large sea plane and a German sports car. I have some very interesting focal pieces coming soon as I’m trying to push myself creatively this year. -Shan Fannin 

Lately I’m making Orchid Pots and functional items for a Spring market.  I have a commission underway, and have just started a new animal sculpture. -Brenda Armistead

I’m currently working on abstracts for the upcoming show in April.  My work is an exploration of my inner landscape of what I’m feeling or thinking at the time of creation.  I like to use bold color, energetic compositions and lots of layers to entice the viewer to take a closer look into the painting. -Stephanie Estrin

I’m currently working on 4 series: Heavenly Bodies: people and animals in nature, Playing card dual portraits, . Animals “photobombing” iconic artworks, and Bird’s eye views of food. -Rhea Pettit

What draws you to your medium?
The buttery consistency and richness of oils is best for figurative and wildlife Works. -Rhea Pettit

I love how quickly acrylics dry. My process is very hands on and immersive. I like that I can continue working at a fast pace and make changes as I go without having to wait for it to dry or cure as I would have to do with oils. -Stephanie Estrin

I have loved clay since I was a little kid.  As an adult I find that I increasingly appreciate the process and time management that is integral to this medium.  The expressive aspect and the science both suit me. – Brenda Armistead

I have experience painting with watercolor and acrylic but oil paint has become my material of choice. The buttery richness of oil almost has a life of its own. I love how the paint cures to transform the painting into a cohesive body. – Christy Stallop

I’m an acrylics girl. When I am in the creating mood, I want to paint for hours on end. Acrylics allow me to do this. Should I make a mistake or not like how something looks, I wait a bit and paint over it again. I’m an impatient painter and acrylics work well for me. -Shan Fannin

How long have you been an artist and how has your practice changed over
Even though I have been painting off and on for decades, it wasn’t until I took a sabbatical from teaching to paint full time did I really even consider myself an artist. My practice has changed considerably.  I have become much more organized and disciplined when it comes to my studio. I work on Monday through Friday, either painting or dealing with the business side of creating art. -Christy Stallop

I started to exhibit and sell my work in 2010.  When I started out, I was doing watercolors and representational work. I worked small and tight. I’ve transitioned to mostly working in acrylics and have taken on a much looser and larger approach to my works. I enjoy the freedom of large canvases and having no real constraints in working Abstractly. -Stephanie Estrin

My first oil painting was at age 13. I studied art at UT, but ultimately switched to graphic design. For the next 20 years, I painted only occasionally and did some freelance illustration professionally. I’ve always been a figurative artist, but only got serious about it 6 years ago. Learning about value, shapes and temperature from Austin artists Jennifer Balkan and Karen Offutt were game changers for me. I learned how to incorporate warm and cool tones in shadows and light in order to breathe life into skin tones. -Rhea Pettit

Before leaving my technical career eight years ago, art was little more than a guilty pleasure pursued when nobody was looking.  But from the beginning, my art business goal was to sell enough pottery that I might attend sculpture workshops. While pottery is still my bread & butter, I don’t pop my tent very often any more, and now I have displayed sculptures at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. -Brenda Armistead

I’ve been a professional artist since February 2015. I have a background in marketing, owned a mural painting business and licenced daycare, and homeschooled for 16yrs. I took a few community college art classes with Life Drawing being my favorite. On a dare, I painted my first vehicle, an orange GMC truck, in October 2014. After that, I was hooked. I’ve been painting vehicles ever since. My style has morphed over these 5yrs into where I am now, a combination of 10% abstract and 90% realism. I love that visual push-pull. -Shan Fannin

In your opinion, what does the Austin arts community need as the city continues to grow?
The city is very good about supporting artists through grants and other artistic opportunities.  Unfortunately, with Austin’s growth and popularity, spaces for creating art have become scarce and too expensive. I believe the city is currently trying to address this issue. – Christy Stallop

I feel that Austin needs to have affordable studio space and exhibiting venues for artists. -Stephanie Estrin

I believe there are several things that would help. Inclusion of greater Austin areas and artists into events, more grant opportunities, business and marketing training, and locations open to working artist studios are definitely needed. I’d love to see Austin become a leader in supporting women creators (artists, writers, dancers, musicians, gallery owners, publications, etc.). The world is just beginning to appreciate women in the arts. Austin could be a prominent influencer by going beyond EAST/WEST by promoting women during SXSW and other annual events. -Shan Fannin

More galleries who represent artists. Also, more collectors! We have an amazing art community with excellent supportive organizations. Honestly, I feel incredibly lucky to have grown my career in only 6 years. EAST and WEST have been instrumental in helping me connect with other artists as well as collectors. -Rhea Pettit. In my opinion the Austin arts community needs affordable studio space. – Brenda Armistead


Stephanie Estrin:
Stephanie Estrin is an abstract artist with a love for bold color.  She grew up in Montreal, Quebec and currently resides in Austin, Texas.  Her work explores the relationship of human nature and emotions. Her art is characterized by vibrant colors, contrasting values, and bold Compositions. Her work has been featured in a television commercial and numerous books and publications. She is collected throughout the USA and internationally.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Stephanie.Estrin.Artist
Instagram: @stephanie_estrin
Twitter: @StephEstrin

Brenda Armistead:

Brenda Armistead is a long-time Austinite and tech-sector veteran.  Her experience in manufacturing, and as a diver-volunteer at The Meadows Spring Lake (formerly Aquarena Springs in San Marcos) inspire the humorous and aquatic themes often found in her work.  Her whimsical sculptures have received favorable reviews in numerous publications including the Austin Chronicle. A variety of her sculptures and carved porcelain works are currently on display at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s North Concourse

Instagram: @grannygoodfish

Christy Stallop:
Christy Stallop is an artist living in Austin, Texas.  Born and raised in El Paso, her work is greatly influenced by the west. She received a degree in Art Education from St. Edwards University.  Christy’s work has been selected for the City of Austin’s Peoples Gallery and the Art in Public Places TEMPO program.

Website: www.christystallop.com
Facebook:  @c.a.stallop
Instagram @cstallop

Rhea Pettit: 

Rhea Pettit majored in fine art at the University of Texas, but ultimately switched to a more “practical” degree in graphic design. For 25 years she was a professional graphic designer, doing a few paintings here and there as time permitted. Since 2013, Pettit has diligently devoted time to practice fine art and grow as a painter. She’s taken numerous workshops, including those with David Shevlino, Jennifer Balkan, and Karen Offutt. She continues her education with at least one workshop a year, because she feels more information is essential to growth.

In June 2016, Pettit transitioned to painting full time as a professional artist. Her preferred medium is oil, and favorite subjects are people and animals. Part of her practice is painting from life regularly, because it improves her skills in observation. She subscribes to the belief that there are no shortcuts to proficiency. Her mantra is 500 paintings; 10,000 hours! She has shown in galleries throughout Texas as well as a solo show in Georgetown. Her work is collected worldwide. 

Website: RGPettit.com
Facebook: RG Pettit Art
Instagram: @rheapettit

Shannon “Shan” Fannin:
Shan Fannin is a realist vehicle painter living in Austin, Texas. Born in California, she received a scholarship to become a special needs art teacher, but took a 25yr hiatus from art for her family business and raising a family.  In 2012 she took a handful of community college art classes, and began painting vehicles two years later. She became a professional realist vehicle artist in February, 2015. Fannin creates her large, vibrant acrylic paintings with a combination of painting with her palms, fingers, and brushes. Although her work is categorized as realism, she incorporates approximately 10% abstraction into each painting.

Fannin’s work has been shown in national galleries, discussed on podcasts, and through television interviews. She has had two solo exhibitions including showing her work during Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2016. Her articles as a guest art writer and paintings have been published in national and international publications. Her paintings are collected worldwide. 

FB: @artbyshanfannin
Instagram: @shanfannin