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Gretchen Wood

hidden in Plain Sight“This is who I was picked to be. I think I knew since I was a kid,” says Appleton artist Gretchen Wood.

After an extended hiatus from art, Wood is bringing her self-described bohemian style of painting to the Fox Valley. Wood’s paintings depict nature, particularly animals and flowers, and are filled with bright, bold colors. What draws Wood to these motifs is her passions for travel and nature which, like her love for art, have only grown over time.

gretchen_woodWood, who is also a mother of four, has been passionate about art since childhood. After high school she pursued other creative interests, which included opening her own sewing company. In 2013, she decided to make art a priority and came bursting into the art scene.

“Everything else seemed to be in place, and I took the leap. It was the right time,” Wood says.

As an avid traveler, Wood’s paintings are influenced by backpacking adventures and other trips she has taken, one of her more recent trips being to the Carolinas. A dream of Wood’s is to travel the world and see all the animals it has to offer. Wood’s artwork is often inspired by an animal’s emotion, expression and body language, and she carries that theme throughout the painting.

“I use animals as a vessel to compare my observations about people’s various personalities, moods or even just a visual representation for poetry or music,” she says.

natural beautyWood’s artistic process is mostly intuitive, and it begins with an image that appears in her head. She uses reference photos from her travels to visualize her paintings beforehand.

“While planning each piece out is helpful, I like to mostly feel my way through it and see where the art takes me,” she says.

After recommitting herself to art, Wood says she is “pretty content with life right now.” Currently she is working on landscapes in a similar style to her animal portraits and, of course, planning her future travels.

Find Wood’s art on her website, on Instagram @gretchenwoodart and at Avenue Art in downtown Appleton.

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