Art and Conservation

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of volunteering as a “go-fer” at the 43rd Annual Art Fest at Boston Mills Ski Resort in the Cleveland area. Part of the job is checking in with each vendor to see if we can be of help in any way. This means, of course, that I get to wander the booths, enjoying the wide variety of art–from beautiful handcrafts to kitchy fun items, from tiny pieces of jewelry to paintings large enough to fill an entire wall.

Art Fest 2014 -- beautiful weather and beautiful art

Art Fest 2014 — beautiful weather and beautiful art

I also get to talk with many of the artists. You know me, I can ALWAYS find questions to ask so I can hear the stories of the person I’m talking with! My favorite artist this year–for her paintings and for her stories–is Anne London.

Entrance to Anne's booth

Entrance to Anne’s booth

As you see, Anne paints large evocative images of wild animals, a mix of suggested shapes and intricate details. As I asked about her process, Anne explained that she starts by filling sketchbooks with quick studies done in charcoal while on safari in Africa. She let me flip through a few of her journals. I wish I had asked if I could take a few photos–the movement and the detail she captures, often with just a few strokes, are amazing!

Backside of Anne's Info Card

Backside of Anne’s Info Card

Once she returns to her studio in the USA, she paints the animal portraits. She often uses layers and layers of paint with drips, splatters, and runs included in the final product. From a serendipitous discovery one day when she ran out of water for her sketching, Anne discovered that blending with coffee adds a lovely depth to color when she paints. I’m going to have to try that sometime! (It seems especially appropriate for me since I do much of my artwork at the local coffee shop…)

Front side of info card

Front side of info card

Finally, I greatly enjoyed talking with Anne about the new project she is working on, called “Art for Animals.” On her regular trips to Africa, Anne sets aside time to work with local children. As they learn to draw endangered animals, the children also learn about the importance of conservation–both for the sake of the animals and for the sake of their own cultural preservation. The final artwork they create is sold to safari tourists who visit the local area. You can read more about this program which is “Connecting Creativity with Conservation” HERE.

In listening to Anne’s stories and in pondering her wonderful artwork, I came away with the following personal applications: 1-pursuing my own creative passions can expand to making a difference in the world. 2-I’m going to try using coffee in art some day soon! 3-I want to try intentionally leaving portions of a project “blank,” letting the viewer’s eye fill in detail.

Take a look at Anne London’s art, blog, and videos HERE. I would love to hear your favorite things about her work. And I would enjoy hearing new ideas you want to try after seeing her art…



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