Enjoy her thoughtful interview.
Tell us about art and your early years. My early artistic efforts were focused in sewing. I completed my first embroidery sampler shortly after my 5th birthday. Later I went on to constructing doll clothes and knitting. My mother felt that St Paul, Minnesota of the 1950's and 60's was culturally lacking compared to her childhood Chicago, so she took her four daughters to museums and films. My father used his doctorate in Chemistry to qwork for 3M and presented us with creative ideas from the laboratory. He drew the plans for the home my parents built, and we all worked on the house and landscape after the major contracted portions were complete.
We had coloring books and paint by number sets, but the major projects were Ukrainian egg painting, making rolled-out embossed and meticulously decorated Christmas cookies, hand coloring curtains and sewing our own clothing. We were not allowed to brainlessly absorb television; so eaxh of us had hand-work projects to ensure productivity while sitting on the couch.
Lake and Land etching
Tell us about your art education. No visual art classes were offered until 8th grade when a woman in the parish volunteered to teach drawing one afternoon a month. During the summers my sisters and I went to summer school. We enrolled in one serious course and one more expressive class each year. During the last two years of high school I had the opportunity of visual art classes, prior to that I learned flower arranging, appreciating opera and interior decorating. At the end of my senior year and throughout the summer before college, I apprenticed with a production potter in the neighborhood, Peter Leach. In exchange for babysitting I used the studio to learn how to make wheel-thrown stoneware.
In college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, I explored all the art techniques offered. At that time I favored working in small metal techniques of lost wax casting and soldering. Following college I went to St Paul Vocational Technical School and graduated with a Mechanical Drafting Certificate. Through employment with 3M I obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
My formal education was instructive; however I believe that family encouraged opportunities have been more important in influencing my artistic direction.
Her Legacy stratograph
What is your style? Labeling my style is difficult. Being able to recognize elements within the composition has always been a concern. I love pattern, color and narrative so these are important components.
Tell us about your process. When I begin a new piece I start with a folder. Here I place sketches, articles and sometimes write a paragraph explaining to myself what I hope to achieve. Next I do a crude sketch in the format of the copper plate I intend to use and decide on an initial technique - line etch, soft ground or aquatint. From this point I develop the plate, etch for different amounts of time to create variations in density, then print, evaluate the process and repeat the steps.
One of the things which I enjoy about etching is the unpredictable results that can occur when an area etches differently than expected and even just the fact that the printed image is the reverse. These minor jolts stimulate image-development which would not occur with the more direct control of drawing or painting. I often try printing on different papers with a range of colors. It is frequently helpful to take a break after printing and review the work a few days later so that over-reaction to minor details is minimized.
Fourteen Ninety Two intaglio
How do you know when a piece is finished? Knowing when the work is complete is a critical question. Since it is possible to print and have a progress record throughout the development process, I am able to retain sample proofs which show me where I made decisions, Somehow, the correct choice is always obvious later. Although I cannot usually return to the earlier state, education from mistaken directions can be applied to future efforts.Sojurn stratograph
What do you want your viewers to take from your work? Exploring critical issues with regard to nature is central to my artistic theme. Inspiration comes from issues raised in newspapers, magazines and National and State Park literature. I hope to draw the viewer into the image by presenting curious or beautiful images. My goal is that people take time to decipher what has attracted them and realize the additional message.
Do you listen to music when you work? Silence is my preferred choice for the time when I am working out concepts and imagery. When I reach points which require routine and redundant effort like sanding, polishing, cleaning off grounds, cutting mats and framing I enjoy listening to NPR, especially the Phil Music Show, The Writers Almanac and Star Date.
Any favorite books, movies or TV you enjoy for relaxation or inspiration? I read the Austin-American Statesman newspaper and art, natural history, and travel literature. My husband tapes a few TV series which I agree to watch - Masterpiece Mystery, Boston Legal and Desperate Housewives. I also do enjoy the Daily Show but remain predominately a radio listener.
Thanks, Anna Marie. She will be at Annarella Home for First Friday, December 5. Please join her, Carol Hayman and Cathie Kayser for a gallery talk at 6 pm. They will talk about printmaking and give a demonstration of the process on a small printer. This exhibit will run through December 31.