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Meet Anne Ward of Art by Anne Ward in West Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Anne Ward.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Westchester and always dreamed of becoming an artist. After I graduated from UCLA I spent a number of years working for a movie writer/director in film production. It was such a valuable experience to see the dedication that was required for creative endeavors. Eventually, I pursued my dream of taking time off to learn to paint.

My parents had given me an outdoor easel and I took it for an inaugural spin in the countryside of France. I had no idea what I was doing but by the end of the weekend, a large number of people in the town where I was painting had generously offered me food and encouragement! The experience made me realize that painting outdoors has an incredible ability to connect an artist to nature and people. I came home from France and within two weeks had met some generous painters in Palos Verdes who had dedicated their lives to painting outdoors. I threw myself into understanding light and color.

I began showing my work and was blessed to have many collectors. When my kids were small, I didn’t have time to travel long distances to paint outdoors so I began to set my easel up at night in the kitchen. I would paint small studies to observe color with whatever fruit or vegetables were on hand. On days that I had more time, I would set up a still life in the backyard and paint large paintings. I had a solo show or two with these images in Santa Monica.

In 2010 I had a health crisis. I had been meditating for years and in the process of getting better, I explored a lot of alternative healing modalities. I really wanted to bring some of that back to my artwork. My husband and I have a small vegetable garden in the yard and aside from the inspiration it provides me visually, I began to think how wondrous it is that a plant can grow from the tiniest of seeds. I wanted to help people align their thoughts to the highest potential. I created a set of intention cards pairing my paintings with an intention for the day. It was a complete labor of love.

One day I realized that my phone was creating such a false sense of urgency that it would be great to create a digital version of the intention cards so that I could use my phone in a more empowering way. Instead of hearing the pavlovian buzzing of an incoming text, I would hear a heart centering bell to bring me back to my intention and place of calm alignment. This was another labor of love and it makes me so happy that thousands of people have downloaded it around the world. It is free.

I continue to be endlessly inspired by the garden. The beauty of things growing has inspired me to create patterns which I have made into wallpaper and fabric. I also paint nearly every day on the iPad. I’m finalizing a book of sketches and stories and patterns made on my iPad. Beauty and creativity are really important elixirs that keep me hopeful and happy.

Has it been a smooth road?
Painting is really a solitary endeavor. It takes discipline and absurd optimism! I really like to remind myself always about the ‘why’. There often is not a direct corollary between effort and financial remuneration. Sometimes paintings ‘find’ their homes in a different time-space sequence than I imagine…I’ve sometimes had someone buy a painting years after I showed it. I have two images that are reproduced and sold often online at Pottery Barn where the original never sold.

So its often hard to understand in the moment of a show why an image did or didn’t sell and I’ve found it takes a tremendous amount of trust in the long view of things. Which brings me back the ‘why’. I have to remember that painting for me is about sharing how much extraordinary there is to see in the ‘ordinary’…. so hopefully, someone sees and feels differently after encountering one of my images.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I make patterns and paintings inspired by our garden. I live for color! I specialize in plein air still life. That usually involves setting an easel up in my yard on my back porch to capture light as best I can. I love using the iPad as a supplement to my painting practice. It’s fun to share the replay process of how I approach painting which is possible through the playback feature. When I’ve taught others to use the iPad its not about making something technically proficient, it’s about helping people connect to the power of staying creative every day. It’s so important.

I’m most proud of when my art has been of service in the world helping people feel a sense of calm or respite from the chaos of so much transition. It makes me so happy to imagine people using my app in far away places. I’m so grateful to be able to make art and share my journey.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I love our city! There are so many creative people in Los Angeles. People really appreciate art and new ideas. There is an openness to the energy of Los Angeles and I’ve found a sense of community in every part of the city that I’ve lived in over the years.

To someone starting out, I would say that we are having severe challenges relative to the affordable housing. The advice I’d have is to create every day, pool resources and find community. Relative to painting, I think one has to put in the mileage at the easel… it will pay off in surprising ways and take you places over time that you didn’t realize you were going. Keep creating… the world needs your art more than ever.

Pricing:

  • Original paintings sell for around $1,000 on upwards
  • Patterned bags and totes from $20.00

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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