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A representation of real life

Ashland artist Meredith Page says it's important to learn the rules, so you know when to break them. In her studies at the University of North Texas and, later, at Ashland Academy of Art, Page learned the principles of art. At first, her works were textbook, but as her skills and confidence grew, she began to discover when and where she could rebel.

"When I look back at what I used to do at the Academy, it's all very classical," Page says. "I painted exactly what I saw, but as time went on, I started to loosen up a bit and put a little of myself in the painting."

Page calls her style representational because she works from life but doesn't copy it verbatim — "like the impressionists," she says.

Every week, Page participates in about three workshops. On Tuesdays, she paints with Eileen Gienger. On Wednesdays, she and her Super Fun Deadly Serious Artists drink wine and paint live models at her studio. And on Fridays, she takes a class with Gabriel Mark Lipper.

Early in her career, Page primarily painted still lifes, specifically antique toys. But figures are her current concentration. She typically works from a live model, focusing on the shape and form rather than the face.

"The face is too personal, and it's not where I want to go in my studies," she says. "If I were doing a portrait, it would be different. When I'm doing these figure studies, I'm actually trying to capture a mood as opposed to an expression."

When her models are too squirmy, as is the case with her children, 8-year-old Makenna and 12-year-old Ethan, Page paints from a picture. She also does plein air landscapes during the summer.

But whatever the subject, Page always, always paints with oils.

"I can't imagine painting with anything else," she says. "Good oil is the frosting on my cake."

Page's works are on display, by appointment, at Second Floor Studio, 1409 Highway 99 N., Ashland; through June at Plaza Salon & Spa, 60 N. Main St., Ashland; at Etsy.com and her website, www.meredithoverstreetpage.com.

Meredith Page's favorite subjects are her children. 'Flying Free' (oil) is a painting of her son Ethan.