Anna's interest in art began from the moment she could pick up a pencil. Born in Mauston, WI in 1985, Anna had a natural talent and left her mark on everything from paper to unfinished walls in the house. "I have fond memories," she says, "of our house while my dad was still fixing it up, and my twin sister and I shared a converted attic for a room. Before we got carpet or wallpaper, we were surrounded by enticing surfaces of plywood and drywall, all begging to be decorated. So I happily left my mark everywhere I went; it was usually in crayon and ended up being a stretched-out Minnie Mouse, or a disproportionate horse."
Inspired by her grandfather, who started painting at the age of 70, Anna spent her free time as a child sketching from nature and poring over art books. Although she drew horses and other animals from a very young age, she began to draw people at the age of 10, when a childhood friend asked her to illustrate one of her story books. From there, her desire to capture likenesses expanded from portraits of celebrities to images of family and friends, always with a goal of making a portrait look exactly like the person conveyed. She sold her first portrait at the age of 12.
Anna was homeschooled all through high school, giving her the opportunity to focus on art. Her primary medium was colored pencil until she began classes at Hillsdale College, majoring in Art. There, she fell in love with oils and decided to focus her studies on painting. Her strong background in drawing helped her to launch forward in advanced classes such as figure painting and sculpture.
Under classical instruction and rigorous technical training, Anna excelled in the Hillsdale art department, sweeping juried art awards every semester. She received a full scholarship for her senior year, allowing her to attend summer painting classes at the Florence Academy of Art in 2006. She was the first student in Hillsdale College's history to have a solo senior exhibit, and she graduated in 2007 with departmental honors.
Anna now resides in Garland, TX with her husband, Steve. She paints full-time as a commissioned portrait artist, teaches private painting lessons, and is actively involved in the local arts communities. Having had so many inspiring teachers and role models in her own life, she firmly believes in sharing her passion and knowledge of classical art with other aspiring artists, as well as showing practical ways to stay up to date in today's changing art market. Anna attends regular life drawing and painting sessions with the Society of Figurative Arts in Carrolton, TX, and is a member of the Oil Painters of America. She also serves as Texas co-ambassador for the Portrait Society of America.
My work covers a wide variety of subjects, but what remains consistent throughout is a deep love for beauty, especially as revealed by the human face. I am still young, and know little of human experience or tragedy… but when I paint, I feel my brightest hopes and deepest fears all at once. I feel connected to my subjects at a level that can only be obtained through the series of silent questions that take place during the creative process.
I believe that human beings are created in the image of God. When I remember this principle, I'm reminded that a portrait is not really about me, but about the subject and its inherent connection to God's likeness. Thus, my goal for every portrait is to draw out that facet which most reflects the Divine. In some small way, each portrait then becomes a picture of Him.
My paintings are an expression of gratitude. They often depict men, women, or children in peaceful settings or places that evoke happiness. My art focuses on the enjoyment of life, and is permeated with a love for nature, music, and all things good. My style might be considered classical realism, which attempts to idealize the subject while preserving its true essence. I hope that whoever views my work finds their senses awakened as they respond to the use of color, light, and tangible subject matter. I am captivated by those things that go beyond the surface, and I hope to convey this deep and abiding interest to everyone who sees my work.
My story about finding artistic inspiration at my husband's family cabin is featured in Cabin Life Magazine. You can read the article online here, and you can also see some other pictures of paintings I've completed at the cabin and the inspiration behind them here.
As a two-time winner of the portraits competition on MyArtContest.com, I was interviewed for for their online publication, Artist Portfolio Magazine. While some of it includes old news (from spring 2011), you may still enjoy reading the interview. Click the image to open the PDF.
The December/January 2011 issue of International Artist Magazine included my painting "Twin Arts" as a finalist in the "Portrait and Figure" competition. Click the image to read about it!