Q: What style of art do you use most?
A: I refer to myself as a 3D Sculptural Painter. I have innovated my own medium. In 2008 the greeting card company Pierre Belvedere selected me as Canadian Artist for their Canadian Collection. This is how they described my artwork on the greeting cards that were marketed: Anne Klar's Vibrant Imagination Coupled With The Ingenuity Of Her Two Hands Come Together To Create 3D Works Of Art That Reach Out Off The Canvas And Touch The Heart. Working Primarily In Clay, Anne Klar Magically Breathes Life Into Her Creations. Creating Texture Upon Texture, Her Innovative Medium Creates a Fine Art Print That Is Truly Unique. I think that describes my style quite well.
Q: Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist?
A: Yes my style has certainly evolved. Every time I begin a new piece I am always striving to do something different from the piece before. The determination to try new things is what helps an artistís style to evolve.
That is one of the wonderful things about being involved in an artistic process, you never stand still. You also never know where It will take you.
Q: What medium do you use?
A: I work primarily in Clay. My artwork is a combination of clay & painting which I refer to as 3D Sculptural Painting. I find the medium very exciting and I very much want to share that feeling with the viewer. People often remark on how they feel the 3D aspect draws them in and allows them to get lost. I often hear, ďI feel as though I am thereĒ, or ďI feel as though I am in the printĒ. As an artist it is very satisfying to hear that because I then know Iíve accomplished what Iíve set out to do.
Clay allows me to give the illusion of so many different textures. It is a very forgiving medium. I like its flexibility and the sheer wonder of seeing a ball of clay turn into something that feels almost alive. With every new piece, I continue to discover more about what I can do with clay.
Many of my pieces have laundry hanging on clothes lines. I very much enjoy creating the illusion of cloth and the sensation of wind blowing. In ďLaundryĒ I have embossed on top of the clay to create different patterns and add another layer of texture.
Clay allows you to create something from nothing. It all rests on oneís imagination and the ingenuity of your two hands. I will study a ball of clay and often will see the form before Iíve created it, as though it is talking to me. Iím still dazzled by the wonder of it all.
Q: What made you choose this medium?
A: I think it chose me. When my daughter Lyn was eight years-old I would work with her on various art projects. We soon began exploring plasticine and it was then that I realized I could sculpt. That was a big surprise to me as I had never known that before, or had ever considered that medium. I was actively involved in Photography from the age of sixteen and that was my passion.
At the time we were experimenting in plasticine, I was exploring papier mache on my own. I was constructing these large bowls; my template was a beach ball. Instead of just painting them, I decided to try and sculpt around the bowl as though it was a circular canvas. As the bowl would rotate, the story I was telling would unfold. I ultimately changed to the format you see now, and this is a perfect example how an artistís work evolves.
Q: Do your ideas come from life or imagination?
A: My ideas come from how I often imagine I would like life to be. My artwork reflects a world less frenetic and more innocent then the one I find myself living in. I try and evoke
My imagination is constantly working on how to transfer the visual images that catch my attention into my 3D medium. Ideas originate from all aspects of life. Ideas often can dance around in my head for months before I even attempt to execute them. The mystery of it all is infinite.
Q: How do you choose your images and colors?
A: My mind is constantly filled with images. I donít think that is uncommon for a visual artist. Many of the images are places Iíve traveled to in my mind. Iím always looking for new concepts to explore artistically. I may see an ad in a magazine or on TV, and perhaps just a small part of that image will foment a completely different image. I then work on how that image would transfer to my medium. I spend a lot of time with images in front of me just studying them from hours to months. Color has always felt very natural to me, almost like a seventh sense. It is part of the creative process that comes to me the easiest. I want my pieces to have a sense of harmony and that often dictates what colors Iíll use.
Q: Do you work in a Studio?
A: After many years of working in the furnace room in the basement of our home, then graduating to the kitchen and then the laundry room, six years ago I made a dramatic change. I decided to convert our detached two-car garage which sits at the back of our house into a working studio.
It is a wonderful space with lots of skylights and a big bay window which looks into the garden. I designed it myself and spent quite a bit of time envisioning what it would look like. I wanted to have the feeling of working outside and the many windows create that exact effect. I love to see the four seasons pass as Iím working in my studio. During a winter storm I feel as though Iím inside a huge snowball. In fall I watch the trees over time lose their leaves, many landing on the skylights. Itís truly a magical feeling.
Russian painter Marie Bashkirtseff said about the studio: ďIn the studio all distinctions disappear. One has neither name nor family; one is no longer the daughter of oneís mother, one is oneself and individual, and one is before oneís art, and nothing else. One feels happy, so free, so proud!Ē
Q: Who are some of your your favorite artists?
A: Canadian icon Alex Colville is certainly one of my favorite artists. I became extremely interested in art when I was first introduced to his work. His has a unique vision. His artwork concentrates on the ďordinaryĒ in life. His work taught me about the beauty, elegance and importance in the ordinary. I greatly admire Christopher Pratt, Mary Pratt, Ken Danby, Robert Batemen, Monet, Norman Rockwell, Sargeant Ö oh there are just so many.
Q: What is one of your favorite pieces?
A: I would have to say ďSubway Ė Lonely TravelersĒ. The concept took many many months to execute. It is my only multi-media piece. It was also technically quite challenging. But fore most it is the feeling that this piece evokes. It seems to resonate strongly with people. The piece speaks to a certain alienation we all experience living in an urban environment. I think everyone sees themselves in this piece, at least that is what Iíve been told. I feel my objectives were met with this piece and it has generated the reaction I had hoped for.
Q: How much time does it take to complete a work?
A: Oh that is something I often donít like to think about. This medium is very slow as it is so detailed and layered. Two hands can only work so fast, there is no wiggle room for short-cuts. Depending on the piece it can run from three months to nine months. I try and work on a minimum of three pieces at a time.
Q: How well do you take criticism?
A: I think one has to be open to criticism in order to improve. The work is so solitary that it is vital to have feedback. I will usually turn to my husband and children for constructive criticism. They have seen the progression of the work which is helpful in regard to criticism.
Q: Many of your pieces have a floral wall decor theme. Could you elaborate a bit more about your use of flowers.
It is not uncommon for artists to also be gardeners. I've been an avid gardener and my love and passion for flowers and plants is insatiable. It is undeniably a love affair. So as a result many of my 3D Sculpted Paintings have: tulips, wild flowers, poppies, roses and flowers of the imagination. Many of my subjects find themselves lost in a sea of flowers. "Shades of All" is a rainbow of colour that almost jumps off the canvas. The subjects in "Road to Maple" and "A Moment" are immersed in flowers. "Quiet Light" is a place of respite for Mother and child. The garden's stillness is a place to escape to.
Q: What do you do to overcome a ďblockĒ?
A: Blocks used to terrify me, but then overtime I learnt that they are inevitable. I try and mentally relax. I put faith in the creative process and understand this is part of the territory. It is not uncommon for me to put a piece aside when I may have a ďblockĒ and return to it several months later. I may start something new, or it may just mean washing brushes and cleaning my studio. It could as well be a time to look at other artistís work or visit galleries. Itís important to stay involved and not flee.
Trust in yourself. Exercise patience. Knowing that the ďblockĒ will ultimately cease is important. I know now after many years, that when I do come out of the ďblockĒ, there is something really wonderful waiting for me on the other side. Iíve learnt that inspiration will come to those who work even when not inspired. That is the great challenge. Time is the best teacher.
Q: How do you know something is finished? Is it easy to walk away?
A: I start off with an initial concept so I have a strong idea of where I am going. Having said that, one can be surprised and land up in a completely different direction as well. It is very important to be flexible and to be able to change tracks. But I generally have a strong sense of what I want to see in my finished piece. Iíve often been referred to as a ďstory tellerĒ, so when my story is told, then my piece is completed. Many authors say that the book writes itself, to a certain extent I can say the same for a painting. Iím so eager to try my hand at a new concept that it is not hard to walk away.
Q: Why do you not sell your original artwork?
A: My original artwork is made primarily out of clay and as a result is not archival, or permanent. Overtime due to various elements there will be inevitable deterioration of some kind. Selling Fine Art Prints makes my artwork affordable to the general public.
Q: Why do you refer to your Fine Art Prints as ďone of a kindĒ?
A: That is because they are Unique. Iíve innovated this medium to produce a Fine Art Print that has a 3D illusion. I donít work less then several months on each piece, consequently the product is detailed, layered, textured and is filled with a passion that is undoubtedly transmitted to the viewer when viewed in Print form. This is a response I hear over and over.
People often touch the print to check for ďreliefĒ on the 2D Print.
The Fine Art Print has the magical quality of pulling you in and allowing you to get lost. This is what art is all about.
Q: You say you have an online Print Gallery. What does that entail?
A: Iím with FAA (Fine Art America) and they are a full-service on-line print Gallery. You can order a print in numerous sizes. There is a selection of over seven high-quality paper finishes. Canvas and Acrylic finishes are available as well. You can select from over 200 high-end frames and hundreds of mats. And if you wish to buy just one 5x7 Greeting Card, that is possible. The printing, production, assembly & shipping are all of the highest quality. Iím sure there are many other features that Iíve left out. And most importantly, there is a 30-day full money return policy if you are not satisfied. We ship world-wide.
Q: Can you talk a bit about "Finally Home" and what that piece means to you.
A: "Finally Home" is my return to Rockport Mass. - an incredibly special place. Cape Ann has a distinct charm and uniqueness. I first went there as a child at the age of eleven years old. It was initially an artist colony where Motif #1, an old red barn at the end of a wharf was painted for decades by visiting artists. Eventually a massive storm ripped it off its wharf and tore it into the sea. The town has a Norman Rockwell feel; a world gone by. And that is why it remains so important to so many people. Cape Ann is surrounded by beautiful beaches. If you've been there once, you will feel compelled to return. Fortunately I have done that several times throughout my life and when I do I feel as though I am "Finally Home". Over time people have told me that "Finally Home" is their return to: Canada's East Coast - Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island & New Brunswick. To others it is the New England States, Cape Cod, Mass., Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island.
Q: What advice did you get from an artist that was helpful?
A: The best advice I received was being told what can be imagined, can be achieved. I actually now have these words taped to my desk as they hold much meaning for me. It is all about believing that you can make things happen.
I was advised to put doubt aside as it truly inhibits creativity.
There are so many rough patches that it is critical to have this strong foundation of belief to fall back on. I was told to believe in myself and not get distracted by all that can negatively impact on your ability to create. You canít get very far without self-discipline, a vision, determination and will power.
Q: I notice that you have Photographs of Water Lilies on your FAA Gallery. How did you come to photograph Water Lilies?
A: Iím an avid gardener and began growing Water Lilies in our back ponds. (All these photographs are taken in my backyard.) It was just a natural tie-in being a Photographer and a Gardener to photograph these beauties. It ultimately became quite a passion; much more then I would have thought. All these photographs have been turned into Greeting Cards which has allowed me to share the wonder of it all with so many others all around the world. That is one of the most satisfying aspects of this process. All these cards can be seen and purchased at: Fine Art America & Zazzle
Q: Have you done any courses to help you?
A: No Iím completely self-taught.
Q: You appear to be quite fond of boats, where does that come from?
A: As a child I would love to go out onto the lake in a rowboat. It felt very safe and sturdy. The boats were hand-made of beautiful wood and evoked a certain romanticism. Today I live part of the summer on a sailboat and love to sail. Canoeing and kayaking as well capture my interest. Lakes, oceans, rivers, the sea and ponds, all hold a certain majesty and mystery that have proved to be great subject matter for artists.
Q: Are you available for commissioned work?
A: No as that is not the way I work. I canít create according to someone elseís plans.
Q: Have you any hobbies?
A: Iím a passionate gardener and grow water lilies. I fell in love with the camera at the age of sixteen. Iíve worked in the industry prior to becoming a full-time artist and the camera remains an art form that Iím still engaged in. I love to sail, hike and cycle with my husband Jack. I enjoy playing tennis, taking long walks, reading, cooking. I love to snowshoe in the winter and see good theater. Playing the saxophone has been a long time passion.
Q: What advice would you give to a new artist?
A: Push fear aside and replace it with courage. Risk failure as that is really how so many surprisingly wonderful things happen. Trust your intuition, it will guide you. Play as you did when you were a child.
I always remember the quote from Robert Schuller that said, ďBuild a dream and the dream will build youĒ. This is a journey and if you stay the course it will be a magical one. You will grow as a person in ways you could never have imagined. If you love what you do and persist, over time a confidence will grow within you that will not only help your development as an artist, but as a person.
On a more academic level, it is very important to continually look at other artistís work. Go to shows, galleries, or just spend time surfing the net viewing artwork. Donít be afraid to approach an artist whom you admire. Iíve found artists to be very willing to help.
Q: Describe some of your themes.
A: Many of my pieces have Quilts in them; Quilting is an art form in itself. I love how the clay allows me to create the illusion of puffy material. "Quilted Showing", "Quilted Harvest", "Worth", "Before Now" are pieces whose story is centred around the Quilt. I find the history and the infinite design patterns in this age-old craft fascinating. Laundry drying on the line is another theme I do quite often. "Laundry" and "Pink Linen" evoke that freshness and bit of nostalgia that is reminiscent of a world gone by.
Landscapes, bucolic scenes, winter scenes, whimsical villages and homes, seascapes, beaches, families, mother & children all play a major role in my work. I'm originally from Quebec so playing in the snow as a child is very much a rich memory and is the inspiration for many of my snow scenes. "Memories On Ice" is about my times skating on Beaver Lake in Montreal. Much time was spent there. "A Snowy Night" was the thrill felt as a child while watching the twinkling of the snow fall at night.
I'm very passionate about music and I've incorporated musical instruments into my pieces. I've used the cello, the violin and soon will be doing a piece around the saxophone. That is the instrument I play. "Silent Canvas" depicts the connection between musician and the instrument. It also addresses "artistic block". "Drawn Away" is a reminder of how children often want to break from the structure of the music lesson. It is about how music triggers dreaming and allows one to escape into another world. "The Violinist" exemplifies the joy derived from getting lost in music making.
This interview courtesy of: 1STANGEL