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Why Do I Paint What I Paint?

When I first started oil painting, I painted what other people were painting. Tea cups, fruit, avocados (I think every painter has painted some avocados).  Artichokes, brussels sprouts, apples, asparagus, lettuce. I couldn't walk through a produce section without inspection, always looking for my next muse. 



Eventually, everything started to look like a potential still-life. Paper bags, toys, jars. I also didn't have a lot of space, so these small items were perfect for my set up, not to mention affordable. 


And that's the boring, anti-climatic answer to 'why do you paint what you paint.' It was all convenient. 



But then I came across a perfect bag of jelly beans. It called to me. Its colorful beans perfectly arranged in a shiny plastic bag with a gold twisty tie. I had to paint it. 



The attention I got from this piece changed everything. It was loved. People loved it as much as I loved it and that felt amazing! It was even discovered on Instagram by a local gallery owner and she inquired about having my work in her gallery!


Candy. Candy was fun, eye catching, and unifying. I found myself visiting all the candy stores in Minnesota, including The World's Largest Candy Store in the town of Jordan. Razzels, Bubble Tape, Tootsie Rolls, Pez dispensers. 



I realized that I was tugging on heart strings, capturing shared feelings of nostalgia, joy, and happiness. Sitting in my art booth, I'd overhear ohhs and ahhs, and friends sharing memories evoked by my paintings. 


I can see that over the years a more genuine answer has formed to the question 'why do I paint what I paint'. I have a mission to sift through and identify things that collectively draw us in. Candy, flowers, toys, everyday objects of a shared culture. Why do so many people love mason jars? Why do so many people feel inspired by lilies? Why do so many people hate Furbies? I want to capture these shared feelings and preserve them in my paintings. I want to hear the stories behind these shared artifacts and that's why I paint what I paint. 




Sincerely,

Anna

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