Frequently Asked Questions
Did you always want to be an artist?
I loved coloring books, paper, paint, looking at objects and drawing them over and over. So, yes, from an early age I had discovered that I could look at something and draw that object with clear distinction.
I knew that I had something inside me that wanted to draw. I went to a parochial school and I remember my third-grade nun, Sister Hilda. The class was learning about countries around the world, and our teacher had the students draw houses, or symbols from a country that we had discussed. Our class was dismissed for recess. Sister Hilda noticed me still busy. I was diligently working on a
pagoda as seen in our Japanese study. She looked at my picture and immediately ran to pull another nun into the room to look at my drawing. I wish I still had that picture. It's in my DNA.
After I retired my artwork is watercolor; my true love. My home art studio is my happy haven.
What is your background?
By middle school, if there was an art class to take, I took every class that I could and found that this was my "thing". Math? Not so much.
By college, I knew what my major would be. There was a community college that had a Graphic Arts program and I completed that two-year degree then decided to go on to a four-year insitution with a major in Fine Arts and a minor in education.
The natural course led me to a job as an elementary art teacher in my hometown. I taught there for four years. Later, after several summers as a crafts school instructor in Maine, I was hired as an elementary teacher in that state. With another colleague, hired at the same time, we were responsible for writing the curriculum for the art program. This was an exciting time in my background, as I taught in three schools: grades K through 6, and averaged about one thousand students in a two week rotation. I loved it!
What inspires you?
Any quick look around anniespalette web page and you can see that I love painting flowers, birds, insects, animals...anything from nature. I see what I see, and my heart usually says: "I want to paint that!" I discuss this in one of my blog posts: There is inspiration everywhere.
Who are some artists that influence you?
My primary medium is watercolor. Since my subjects are flowers, birds; anything nature, I am strongly attracted to the artists of the Impressionist era: Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
I also love botanical works, like those of
See my watercolor rendition of Redoute's Roses below
DAY TO DAY
What's the favorite part of your job?
The best part is that it is not "work". The most amazing thing is that I have never thought of it as work. There are some images that I might spend more time on but the blank paper has never scared me. I do use reference photographs. After all, if I am painting a sea turtle I want to make sure I know what a sea turtle looks like I try as much as possible to work from photographs that I have taken myself. This way I feel that the image is from my eyes, to my brain, to my hand. A post with more on this: Pen in hand, Picture in mind,
What do you like most about being an artist?
The absolute best thing about being an artist is that it opens up a whole world of connections and friendships. Even though I work alone in my studio I think about the painting that I am working on and know that someone is going to "connect" to the colors, or the subject, or a memory that makes them happy, like this reproduction of this vintage McCall's pattern. A buyer was so excited to see this on a greeting card because her mother was a seamstress.
Art is emotional. I find that I connect with a person who tells me that they really like a painting.
My artwork is relatively small: 5 x 7 inches or 8 x 10 inches. Easily scanned and formatted to greeting cards or matted to 11 x 14 frames.
What do I love most? Sharing my vision of the world with others.
What is your work-day like?
Since my studio is in my home I go to "work" whenever I want to. For a tour of my present studio read about My Happy Haven.
Like any at-home job, you plan your time around your household activities. The third-floor room isolates me from the rest of the house. I can come and go as I please. All my supplies are in the area, I have a holder for my tea, or water. Paint, paint, paint. Repeat.
I do, however, have to be careful of which cup I put my paintbrush:
Why did you choose watercolor painting as your favorite?
A detailed blog tells the story of "Why do I use watercolor as my medium?" I have always loved the look of this transclucent and watery paint. For details I add pen or watercolor pencil. They give me more control for outlining.
When you are creating art, do you do it in silence, or to a background of music?
I have a TV in my home studio but most of the time I'm so immersed in what I am doing that I'm not watching. Yes. I prefer to have music on when I paint.
I do have to be careful if I video my work in progress because if I have music in the background I won't be able to upload it to
YouTube because it would be against copyright policy and background music needs to be royalty-free.
Movie scores are dramatic and I tend to like those playing in the background. Ennio Morricone (who passed in July 2020) was an amazing composer / conductor. His piece called,
Gabriel's Oboe (from the movie The Mission) gets me teary every time. I painted this while listening to the music:
SALES & COMMISSIONS
Where do you sell your work?
The first place that I sold my artwork was on Society6. This platform was created to help "starving" artists get their work noticed. My daughter had given me a phone case from their website. It had a bird painted by another artist. I loved it and she said, "Mom, you could do this!" So, I did.
Later I had a local printer make greeting cards from my scanned artwork. I opened an ETSY shop. It was a lot of work because you have to take good pictures, buy envelopes for the cards, buy sleeves to make them shop worthy, then mail them to buyers. The fees added up and I closed the shop. About that time I found a perfect match.
Heather a Boutique
My artwork on greeting cards, framed prints, and some original art is selling amazingly well at Heather's shop. It's nice to have a shop that is suited to my style and a relationship with a local brick and mortar store that caters to loyal customers. If you visit Fredericksburg Virginia visit her
shop. My artwork on her website is here:
heatherboutique (greeting cards only)
Do you do commissions?
I have always been a bit nervous about commissions. My confidence goes down when I think about whether the artwork will be satisfactory to the buyer. Lately, however, I have done a few commissions and it is rewarding when the buyer is thrilled with the final work.
If there is any thing, however, that artists tell horror stories about, it's commissions. Buyer's remorse doesn't pay the artist the time, materials, and skill that a disgruntled person might demand in terms of a refund or payment.
I am careful in evaluating whether the human or pet portrait, the architecture, or floral work is something that I want to take on, or not. For some of my personal thoughts on this visit:
Commissions, Sales, and Gifts,...oh my.
I am more apt to do gifts if I am excited about drawing/painting a subject. My most recent, painted for a friend, featuring her new puppy:
FAVORITES & FINISHED
What is one of your favorite paintings?
I hate to say it but it is also one of my best sellers. Who doesn't like penguins? I drew a sweet pyramid of holiday penguins and called it "Oh Penguin Tree".
When is an artist finished?
That's a big question. I have gotten out of bed and gone up to the studio to stare at a painting (I do that a lot). Is it finished? Maybe darken this corner? There is no right answer. Rembrandt is reported to have said: "An artwork is finished when the artist says it is finished." If I have signed it, I usually don't touch it again.