The body of my work is very diverse. I work in several media, both 2D and 3D — sometimes representational, sometimes abstract, not wanting to limit myself. What medium I work in — watercolor, acrylic, mixed-media, or clay — depends upon whether a work is commissioned, such as murals I have produced for private collections or designed, then produced with collaborators, or if it is purely an expression of my thoughts and feelings at a given time.
Ideally, I like to work in series, as that shows continuity of thought and expression. This work is from my “Hallelujah” series begun last year, following participation as an alto singer in the choir of “Too Hot to Handel” performed at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. This was a gospel version of Georg Friedrich Handel’s “Messiah.” The watercolors in this series are each the same size and were painted at the beginning of each day for 10 consecutive days. They were essentially ‘road maps’ of my emotions, and are meant to express positivity and joy for life itself.
This is a time in history when many places in the world, mostly Ukraine and the Middle East, are filled with unspeakable angst and destruction. I view my role as a woman artist ideally as ‘healer,’ and that is from my background as a Christian Scientist. On a daily basis, I like to spend time in the early morning being ‘quiet’ with my thoughts. This abstract watercolor was the result of my quiet, unhampered ‘streaming’ with paintbrush in hand.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
In 1980, I moved to Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood after receiving an MFA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and have lived there ever since. I grew up in South Haven, MI in the countryside. Chicago was the ideal city to launch my art career. My husband, sculptor Geoffrey Novelli, and I live in a Victorian home on 19th Street near an area where there are several murals. Thus, I had a burning desire to produce murals early on, although my production includes watercolors, acrylic paintings, mixed-media, and ceramics. My most ambitious murals so far have been 1) a commissioned mixed-media mural for Palos Heights, IL in 2011 in paint, ceramic, and mosaic, 2) a 72-ft. x 26-ft. mural for San Jose Obrero Mission in Little Village for which I received a Neighborhood Arts Program Grant in 2012, 3) a sectioned mural titled “Abundance” in paint and mosaic in Alton, IL produced with Principia College students in 2014 when I taught Public Art as a Visiting Professor, 4) a 30-ft x 15ft mural including mosaic and ceramic plaques for Wichita Falls, TX that involved 500 participants, and 5) 3 murals on cement barriers produced with students for the Maxwell Street Community Garden in Chicago with funds from three granting sources, including a 2021 Individual Artists Program Grant from DCASE. I also love the challenge of painting landscapes on location and curating exhibitions. The last show I curated was “All in the Same Boat — or Are We? Artists Respond to 2020.”
© Anne Farley Gaines