Thursday, March 1, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Anna Hewett

Flower mural painted for NYC Fashion District showroom
Anna Hewett is one of those artists who has been around art her entire life, going through an undergraduate program based on the arts and knowing only painting as a source of income.  She graduated with a degree in theatre design and painting from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and has worked as a scenic artist throughout adulthood, now as the Assistant Scenic Charge for Juilliard in New York.  It's no wonder that Anna's work is influenced by her knowledge of shop materials and scenic techniques, but her scene painting is duly influenced by her ability to bring life and realism to the pieces she paints for shows.  With little free time, Anna is working more on her own portraits and sculptures as well as writing a blog about creating art based on current events.  

"Syrian Child", 48" x 60"
Anna's ability to adapt to her canvas and work sometimes quickly or on a low budget have enabled her to think on the fly with recylced materials including housepaints, textural compounds, adhesives, muslin, opera netting, plywood and masonite scraps.  Her creativity and curiousity have taken these materials to the next level in her own art as well. Because most of Anna's work is large scale and has to be created quickly for shows, Anna works primarily in acrylics or latex with larger tools.  She has taken this knowledge and style to her own portraits, using larger brushes for laying in and smaller, higher quality brushes for the detail work. She explains, too, that the brushes she uses vary in quality and not all of them are "good". Each tool has its place and sometimes and old brush is needed for building texture or preparing a surface.  Since Anna's work tends to be quite large, her detailed brushes are bristle brushes, no small than 1/4" inch to get a fine line.  If she needs something smaller, she leans towards flats and filberts that hold heavy body paint, like the Beau Blanc

"Charles Darwin" 92" x 52"
Anna explains that scenic painting required laying down paint quickly and efficiently and often to look as though its taken weeks to build up layers.  For the larger gradients and blends she creates, Anna uses a scumble technique, known to scenic artists, that applies the paint in a figurative x-shaped motion.  Expressive brushwork is another brush technique Anna uses, varying the amount of pressure on the brush to pull and push the paint, changing the width and shape of the stroke.  Each of these techniques gives the scenic artist an edge in making a mural or backdrop that much more dramatic, and Anna has mastered the practice.

For more information on Anna's work, check out her website:  Anna Hewett's website.

Keep Painting, 
Karyn 

For more brush information, check out the Dynasty Brush website.