Artist Showcase: Interview with Annie Koelle

Hello everyone!  I am so excited to show off the work of Annie Koelle today!   She is so blessed with talent and has so much love for the arts.  I love the warmth and expressiveness in her work.  It is so unique and bold, yet holds many of the qualities of a classic painting by an old master.   Annie and I went to art school together (not that long ago……) and I have admired her work ever since.

Enjoy this interview!  Annie is very real and transparent and I’m willing to bet by the end you will be itching to doodle something (maybe a rustic tree or picture perfect field?)

PS. If you’re interested in getting one of these amazing paintings for your home, contact Teresa Roach at Art & Light Gallery

When did you decide you wanted to be an artist?   I don’t think I have ever actually decided to be an artist. . . I think like most artists, I’ve been making things since I could pick up crayons and I’ve never known anything else. Sometimes I feel like I must have an extra organ in my body that gives me the drive to constantly create things. . . Besides, I don’t know how to do much else!

You paint a lot of landscape paintings, how do you get inspiration to make each one so unique and expressive?   I have always loved those old landscape paintings in ornate gold frames that you see at estate sales and are too expensive to buy. I like how they make you long to go to the beautiful peaceful place in a field or under a tree. I think I started painting them first because I wanted them on my walls then I discovered that I really enjoyed the lines in the trees and how impulsively I could draw them.  Also, I grew up in a beautiful rural place, I usually think of it when I’m painting. Sometimes I pull the scenes out of my head and other times I start with a photo, but it usually becomes a place all its own either way.

Can you describe your creative process?   Well, I used to be an oil painter, formally trained since I was thirteen by a wonderful lady. She ran a gallery and used to be a painting instructor at a university and in retirement taught private lessons. Then I went on to oil paint in college and only started acrylic when I had no where to make a mess after graduation when I lived in a little apartment. So needless to say I’ve been indoctrinated with oil painting and it took a while to transition into acrylic. I’m sure that background has influenced my process but actually I think motherhood has affected it the most. I can only make art in quick little spurts so my process has evolved according to that. First I prepare the frames and cut boards to fit, prime them with a high quality matte latex paint (perfect drawing surface) and get to drawing. I use charcoal to make the drawing, spray it with a fixative and start painting. First transparent glazes and then thicker sections of opaque color are quickly added, my favorite part. Now mind you, I usually only get one step done a day while my son is at preschool in the mornings or in-between loads of laundry and dinner cooking.  Often the stop and go can get really frustrating, but I think it actually lends a lot to the expressiveness and impulsiveness of each piece. I read somewhere that style is a product of your limitations and I’m choosing to embrace that right now.

How do you balance being a mom, a wife to an artist, and an artist yourself?   Honestly its been very difficult, I still have not found balance. All I know is that I love my family, I love taking care of them, I love to make art and I can’t stop doing any of those things. I just do what I have to and figure it all out along the way, knowing that it will not always be this way so I try to enjoy the ride until I get to those long concentrated art times when the kids will be off at school someday or all grown up. So sad to think of that! I love experiencing my children in these little years, but I know that there wonderful parts and frustrating parts in each stage of life. As my husband can attest, I do have mini brake downs when the artist and the mother are fighting inside me, I seriously could paint all day if I could, its very hard to stop for laundry. But also I have a very wonderful family so I don’t mind stopping for them, if only I could hire a maid, a chauffeur and a cook! Ha, no, I’m sure like all things in life it will get better with time and experience.

What advice would you give to young artists starting a career in art?    Its good to be hard on yourself and have very high expectations of your work. Look at a lot of great art, know why it is great and aim for those qualities in your own work. Learn to recognize your strengths, don’t try to force yourself into a style of art that doesn’t fit your skills or style even if its work you admire. Just create a lot and be patient with yourself. Eventually you will come into yourself as an artist and it will be fun to trace back life events (like motherhood) to see how life effects the charcoal you just danced all over a page.  In the mean time, network and become friends with supportive, wise people who also want you to succeed. I am very thankful I have a lot of them in my life.

Photos courtesy of Art & Light Gallery and Annie’s iPhone (and Instagram feed)

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