Please help us welcome our September artist of the month, Ann Kraft Walker! She was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine’s 30th Annual Art Competition. Her charming painting, Never Fails, is below. Keep scrolling to see what Walker has to say about art and life.
The Woodlands, Texas ~ www.annkraftwalker.com
I took art in high school and was an art history major in college. Living in Europe for a few years provided many museum visits where I fell in love with art. At the Hermitage Museum in St.Petersburg, I distinctly remember the desire washing over me to learn to paint. However, I was busy raising three children and it wasn’t until years later that I took up a paint brush. I was predominately self taught through trial and error and the first decade was mostly error. I began painting in a folk art manner and gradually shifted into a more realistic style. In 2009, with an empty nest, I had a distinct turning point to devote myself to the serious pursuit of representational work. In 2010 I took my first workshop which was a monumental paradigm shift.
My daughter is a walking inspiration to me! One day, when she was home during a college break, she was sitting on her bed talking with me. Behind her was a blackboard wall where she had written phrases out of 1st Corinthians 13. The scene grabbed my heart and I had to paint it.
I strongly prefer to paint from life. I belong to a painting group that hires models so I am blessed to be able to paint and/or draw from life twice a week. However, for Never Fails I had to work from reference photos because my daughter was back at college when I began the painting. She has posed for me many times and I’ve spent a lot of hours painting her from life which gave me a good foundation to work from the photos.
My basic palette consists of titanium white, cadmium yellow, yellow ocher, raw sienna, cadmium red, translucent red oxide, alizarin crimson, raw umber cool, sap green, indigo and ivory black. I have many others that I add when needed.
I am not a fast painter, so two weeks is a fairly average time for me to finish a medium size painting, but timing can vary greatly. I spent about six days on Never Fails.
I loved painting Sarah’s ivory skin and little upturned nose. Depicting the chalk on the blackboard was the most fun!
I feel I am at the tip of the iceburg. I passionately want to learn to paint with clarity of vision to the best of my ability. Life, in all it’s complexity, is a constant source of inspiration. Some inspiration is visual, and springs from being struck to the core by the sight of something beautiful and the longing to capture it. Other times inspiration evolves from inner thoughts and emotions. I truly love simplicity and beauty. I desire to bring a tiny bit of that into the world.
I began painting in a primitive folk art style and several of my paintings were featured in Early American Life Magazine. In 1999, the First Lady was impressed with the artists in a Traditional Craftsman issue. By Presidential invitation, I was honored to create a small folk art oil painting to decorate the Blue Room for Christmas that year as well as attend a reception for the artists at the White House.
Any shred of talent I possess is a gift from God and a reflection of His grace. What a privilege to be immersed in the never ending pursuit of learning to paint.
Entering competitions is a fun challenge! I never ever ever expect to be accepted and so it’s over the top exciting to be a finalist.