Ann Pember Brings Florals to Life

Ann Pember sees her floral paintings, like Dahlia Duo (watercolor, 21 x 29) as being about shapes of light. To help her concentrate on shapes and patterns, she gets in really close so she can eliminate details. “My objective is to see the flower forms as a puzzle: a network of abstract shapes that assume a realistic form,” Pember says. “In other words, I try not to see the flower petal by petal or leaf by leaf. I may see three petals as one shape. Or I may link one leaf with several others to form a background shape. In general, I simplify by merging small shapes. I think of it as a linking process–linking shapes together.”

“Drawing with a pencil was a constant pastime when I was a child. In art school, I majored in fashion illustration and design. The training in drawing was invaluable,” says Ann Pember. After receiving a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art (Boston) in 1968, Pember worked 12 years as a freelance commercial artist. When she and her husband moved to the Adirondack region of New York state, she started a second career as a full-time painter in watercolor in a studio on the shores of Lake Champlain. Pember’s light-filled paintings have been exhibited in more than 95 nationally juried shows. Of her floral paintings, she says, “There’s so much bad news; so much in life is ugly. I’d rather celebrate what’s beautiful.”

She is the author of Painting Dramatic Flower Close-Ups (2000, North Light Books).

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