ANN HUSTON, Artist
“Ann Huston’s work is her form of meditation, a way of stepping out of time and into timelessness. Ann Huston is recognized for her unique response to the land and culture of Northern New Mexico, her home, and her muse. Her inspirations include the ‘high altitude light and the mysteries surrounding the old places.”
I work with artists’ sandpaper mounted on archival boards. That becomes my canvas, all ready to go, to sketch on location. I do my pencil sketches, including detail on site. Sometimes my boards as I call them, get messy with written words and notes to make sure I remember the essence of what I am sensing. That lies beneath the painting. I’m not a plein-air painter but sketching on location is an important part of my process. I take the sketch home to my easel and work from there.
My next step is taking out most of the detail when painting. Having just gotten the sketch, I allow myself to take out the detail in the painting process and just go for the ‘feeling’ of the place. I feel the sketch beneath substantiates the more minimal composition above even though hidden. I choose to keep the pastel fresh in its natural state without using a fixative. The pastel pigments settle nicely into the grit of the sandpaper, and the sandpaper allows for building up layers, mixing a depth of color.
Having grown up in an artist’s family, I never really gave a thought of anything other than being an artist starting from a young age. It led me to many places to study and in showing my paintings. When I was young, I remember my father going to art school. A young father of two, my brother and me.
He would tell us the story of one of his first art classes. The students went to class and the professor asked his students to go buy the most expensive quality sheet of art paper they could find, alluding to, they were going to do a special project to start the year. My father on a budget, went out and found his sheet of paper. The next art class the students brought their precious sheets of art paper into class.
The professor said to the students, “Okay, I want you all to lift your paper up. Now, tear it in half.” And he asked them to tear it in half again.
The professor said this is your first lesson: To be an artist you must be free and willing to let go of anything that can block you in the creative process, down to, including, the expense of art materials.
I’m not sure why I always remember that story, but it stuck with me. I suppose my process of telling my story beneath the painting in the sketching process, sensing the place and its history, is the journey I take as my creative process. The more minimal composition seen above, is my hope for the viewer to feel drawn into the painting and write their own story, filing in the blanks. Its not deleting the story beneath but adding a depth to the painting becoming a collaboration with the viewer.
By letting my story go is like tearing up that nice sheet of art paper and detaching. And that can be freeing...
My work is shown at Wilder Nightingale Fine Art on Kit Carson Road, Taos, New Mexico and Chimayo Trading del Norte, Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico.
Website is annhustonstudio.com for viewing paintings and more info. -Ann Huston
High Road Adobe