We had the good fortune of connecting with Anne Ward and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anne, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Risk is the lifeblood of a creative person. I think of risk as being a series of calculated challenges from which one can never ‘fail’. With enough time, the challenges become valuable experiences that inform the next series of risks…and on and on. I’ve been painting for twenty five years and there is still a sense of jeopardy for me when I begin a painting. I’ve had plenty of ‘flops’ but those have paved the way for better paintings. I try to create risk relative to the materials and size in which I am working. If it were easy it wouldn’t be fun!! I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy painting plein air where the light is changing quickly and there is a pressure to synthesize information and organize pictorial space. I think risk pays off over time in unexpected ways. Paintings will sell on their own timetable, acclaim may or may not show up, but if you find a sense of risk and reward in the joy of the work itself, that will always pay dividends on a personal level. It sounds odd but following my heart into growing a garden and painting there seemed risky when I began. It can be so complicated and complex but that’s also what’s been the the most rewarding challenge. The ‘risk’ was in listening to my intuition and trusting what was in my heart. Taking that risk has opened doors for me in terms of art shows, but also the doors of people’s hearts. I never imagined a lovely collector so moved to tears by my garden paintings that he wanted to buy them all for his wife. And I never imagined people all over the world would download my mindfulness app based on the garden.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am obsessed with color and shape and the joy I find in the garden! My art practice has been shifting between large paintings done outdoors and capturing the small moments of small things in a garden. I got to this place by painting every day. I love to paint outdoors with an easel but when my kids were small that became almost impossible relative to the time I had available. So I began to set up my easel in the kitchen after they went to sleep and paint whatever was in the fridge. It was so rewarding. When the kids got older I began waking up at 5am to paint or draw on the iPad. I would use the time to sketch out possibilities for oil paintings. Last year I compiled these drawings into a book called “If Paintings Could Talk, an IPad Journal” which is available on Amazon. I really believe that art can do important work helping people to remember to look for beauty that might be overlooked normally. I also believe art, for me, is about being of service. I made a free mindfulness app that pairs one of my paintings with an intention for the day and it has been downloaded by thousands of people around the world. That makes me really happy.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I would definitely take them to the Annenburg Beach facility and then have a nice walk south from there. If we walked far enough then Cora’s would be a fun place to sit at the counter and have a coffee. From there we could hop on the metro and stop at Bergamot Station to look at art. I always love visiting Craig Krull’s gallery. If we had more time then for sure The Huntington Gardens would be a stop. So beautiful to see the roses in bloom there. If there were still time, I am always a sucker for Michael Levine fabrics downtown…I love sewing clothes for myself even though I don’t technically know how to make button holes or sleeves yet!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My parents and my Aunt Peg. My Mom and Dad always dated my early drawings and sketches which made me feel the work was important. What a beautiful gift that was. My Aunt Peg was a family friend and she gave me my first set of oil paints. I was thrilled and gave her my first oil painting of a tennis shoe which she kept on her wall proudly! I have been so very lucky.
All photos taken by Anne Ward. Profile picture taken by her husband amazing artist Ian Roberts. 🙂