The first time I saw Savanna Redman’s large oil canvases, I was amazed. Rich in luminous colors and edging on Surrealism, they show a deep respect for sea life. “My talent is a combination of the environment I grew up in and genes. Born to an artist mother and a builder/designer father, an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, I must have been drawing in the womb – nine months of solitude – perfecting my techniques. I grew up surrounded by creative people – with crayons, brushes and art supplies in my hands. Everyone around me was into nature. It was just natural. I wasn’t taught art – it was just a given – like breathing. The basic foundation of my work is the natural world, regardless of the style or medium I select.”
Savanna spent her formative years in the art community of San Francisco where she owned and managed an art gallery, marketing her own work as well as other artists. “I was encouraged to study business – the difference between a starving artist and a successful one is understanding the business.” In 1990, she moved to Belize to paint and study archeology where she climbed Maya Temples and studied Mayan hieroglyphs. She accepted international offers to exhibit about twice a year – Key West, Guatemala City, Tegucigalpa, Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras, Cairns Australia, and throughout Belize, just to name a few.
Savanna’s large oil paintings of rainforests and marine life make a room. Private collectors of her work include resort owners, casinos, interior designers, architects, and villa owners. A hotel in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, has purchased 18 of her originals – another resort in Belize isn’t far behind. “My client list is a very special group of people that connect to my work; they appreciate and respect the wildlife and sea that I capture in paint.”
In 1996 she went to Port Douglas, Australia, for a show and stayed 8 months to dive the Great Barrier Reef. In 2000 she moved to Giza, Egypt, where she lived in the shadow of the Great Pyramid and spent most of her time in the Cairo Museum or at the zoo drawing animals. “ Egypt was a place to shift directions. I had been so focused on diving and reef life that I found I wanted to study more ancient history – everything affects my work although not always in a direct way.” There is a feeling of peace in Savanna’s style. Her paintings are like going for a nature walk, removing the stresses of the day, a place to focus and meditate.
In 2001 she moved to Thailand to experience yet another culture highly influenced by Buddhism. She traveled throughout exploring temples, doing sketches and writing. “I paint in my sleep. I know the finished painting before I stretch the canvas. I consider this my gift, not having the battles some artists do with subject, composition or the light – it’s all done subconsciously, a cumulative effect of a lifetime of observing and drawing.”
In 2003 she came to the BVI to sail. “I love it. I am starting new oils with a Caribbean twist. My work has migrated toward murals which I am having recreated on kiln-fired ceramic & marble tiles.” A company in Italy, with a combination of the oldest knowledge and newest equipment for manufacturing tile, can reproduce Savanna’s designs onto marble, glass or ceramic – for any size mural or swimming pool floor. An exhibit of her newest work is being scheduled for late July in the BVI, check the ‘events’ link in Savanna’s website for the exact time and date.
I know that I join other BVI artists and sea lovers by welcoming Savanna to our island. For more information please go to – www.savannasgallery.com