About the Artist
In 1991, Ann received her B.A. from Concordia College with majors in Biology, Chemistry and Art. She continued on to studying painting at the University Illinois and Eastern Michigan University. With a micro-studio in Stevens Point Wisconsin, she exhibits in several states and is represented by several Wisconsin galleries. She currently teaches workshops in drawing and painting throughout the Midwest.
I enjoy playing with all the elements of art. Composition, contrast, line, texture, rhythm, repetition, value, form and color contain infinite possibilities and allow me to work on several series simultaneously. Thought different in appearance, each series informs the other. Often a series will start with one of these elements.
The Birches Series (oil on metal) is all about contrast. Contrast in rendering the object and its shadow, but also in the papery, natural texture of birch bark versus the flat machine-made texture of the metal. The oil on metal technique started as a challenge among a small group of graduate students at Eastern Michigan University. We were to paint with our materials in antitheses to our subject. I chose birch bark versus sheet metal.
I love all the fine detail of a few simple blades of grass with their endless shades of green, graceful curves brought up against a homogenous surface like brushed copper. The choice of botanical subject versus industrial substrate is intentional and serves to illustrate the constant push and pull of our natural and man made worlds.
Works on aluminum are durable and can be gently wiped clean with a damp, lint-free cloth, then a dry one. Works on copper are coated with a very thin layer of Rennaisance wax, an archival wax that prevents tarnish and fingerprints. These too can be wiped clean.
The Wandering Series started out of convenience. I began painting watercolors in 1998 because they were portable and, at the time, so was the rest of my life. I fell in love with the medium and it’s flowing quality. After 10 years of practice, I started teaching an annual art class at the University of Michigan Biological Station in the spring and then one at Treehaven in Rhinelander in the fall. This not only gave me the chance to share my enthusiasm for the medium, but taught me to paint quickly in the outdoors as well.
Those weeklong classes also gave me the chance to do a lot of on-site demos that actually made good paintings. This idea of doing small quick paintings transferred well to travel. On each trip, I brought along a small spiral bound notebook of Arches 140lb cold press paper, an old Yarka watercolor pan set, three brushes and a plastic cup. I could fit it all in my purse and set up to paint almost anywhere.
Washington's Mount St. Helens tricky weather gave me a crash course in speed painting. Oregon provided a wide variety of views, forest to ocean, with the added bonus of longer working time due to wet conditions. Sweden had, hands down, the best and most diverse cloud shows I have ever witnessed. Norway provided the unexpected treat of brilliant colors from alpine plants and lichens above the tree line. Arizona brought the best light, with long purple-blue shadows against red rock and Wisconsin is full of the most beautiful lakes and shapely trees. It is always easier to paint in the studio, but there is something about wandering that gives me fresh ideas and the opportunity to paint fast and furious.
The Water Series deals with color and line and reflects my compulsive attraction to all things aquatic. Water itself is ever changing how it filters and reflects light and color. Aquatic plants are often studies in line, rhythm and repetition as is the water’s surface. To render water in a realistic style using watercolor seems only natural.
The Horses Series began as a study of silhouette and portraiture in relation to landscape. Capturing horses means taking a look at many of the aspects that make up a living thing. Not simply how they appear to the eye, but what they can convey by their movement, their relationships to each other, their place in the land, their sprit, their meaning. From my artist’s point of view, horses function as many things. In painting, I use horses
as script or calligraphy
as experiments in abstraction
as structure for light and shadow
as part of the landscape
as an indication of the presence of humans
as a challenge to depict without being trite or cheesey
as a classic exercise in figure drawing and gesture drawing
as an expression of joy