Ann Kissane Engelhart talks about finding the perfect blueberries on the North Fork, her process and more.
What was the inspiration for this piece?
While blueberry picking at a farm in Orient, I was intrigued by the stunning variety of color in the developing berries which ranged from the palest greens, to pinks, lavenders and finally the customary dusty blue of the ripened fruit. When the harvested berries were placed in the iconic turquoise paper cartons, I thought the subject would make a striking still-life painting.
Talk about your art style.
I am fascinated by the medium of watercolor because it has an immediacy that engages the artist in a constant struggle to balance spontaneity and control. It lends itself to delicate layering of washes as well as aggressive texturing of dry brush. I enjoy the challenge of realistically describing the effect of light and shadow. Painting themes range from studies of simple forms found in nature, to highly detailed still-life paintings of worn antiques, to complex renderings of architecture and figurative portraits.
Tell us about your artistic process.
I begin with a detailed pencil drawing from life. I sometimes take reference photos of the subject since the paintings often take several days or occasionally weeks to complete depending on the topic. Watercolor requires a process of layering pigment from the lightest to darkest values, and from the most general forms ending with specific details.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?
If I was not a painter and illustrator, I would probably be a jewelry designer or a floral artist. I would absolutely need to do a job in a creative field.
What inspires you the most?
I seem to find inspiration in every beautiful thing and place, as is evidenced by the wide range of topics that I paint. I am inspired by travel and by observing the art and craft of others. I am also inspired by teaching classes in drawing and painting. When explaining a technique, it makes me more mindful of the process. Ultimately, I learn a great deal from my students.
Ann Kissane Engelhart’s work has been seen throughout New York and Pennsylvania, as well as private collections throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. See more of Engelhart’s work on Instagram @ann.engelhart and at annkissaneengelhart.com.