Spotlight Friday- Annie Reiser
Spring is in the air and we at Two Hands Paperie couldn’t be happier. One of the many ways we are celebrating the arrival of spring is with a FREE Botanic Art event with the talented artist Annie Reiser on Friday, April 10th from 2:00-5:00 pm at Two Hands Paperie.
Annie is a certified Zentangle® instructor as well as a certified Botanical illustrator. She combined those two interest with her creation of her company Botangle©- a way of drawing that uses Zentangle® techniques in flower form. What is a Zentangle® you say? It is a style of drawing that use repetition of line and rudimentary shapes to create patterns. Often people use this style of drawing as a type of meditation because the idea of “one stroke at a time” makes it a comforting and peaceful way to create. With Botangle, Annie explained that she teaches “basic Zentangle method and expands its application to botanical subjects” and uses “traditional botanical training in terms of color layering and shading”. The results are lovely!
Before the Botanic Art event, we asked Annie some questions to get to know her a little better.
Two Hands Paperie: What are you working on now?
Annie Reiser: I’m now experimenting with encaustic painting (a technique I learned through Two Hands) and use prints that I design on the computer as a base of my encaustic. I make collages of my existing botanical drawings, photographs, Botangles, natural objects such as grasses, in the panels that I coat with that wonderful, dreamy wax-resin medium. Besides the encaustic painting that I’ve embraced, I am working on making a room in my home studio into a teaching space. I’m currently painting a wall mural in Zentangles that I call my “Zentangle Teaching Tree” that includes lots of birds perching on the tree’s branches. The contour will all be filled in with the patterns I teach in Botangle classes. You can follow the process in my blog. Always in my mind, and on the back burner is the development of a Botangle book. I want to share my ideas and templates that I use in classes with anyone who would find them inspirational.
THP: What advice were you given?
AR: The one piece of advice that my NOAA colleague gave me (that changed my life) when she saw one of my botanical drawings was, “You could teach art at the Denver Botanic Gardens!” At the time I didn’t even know there was an illustrator program there. So I enrolled in the program, and years later, was actually invited to become a teacher in the program. What I’m saying with this example is that everything is possible taken one step at a time. And this happens to be a Zentangle mantra. How appropriate!
THP: What advice would you give to budding artists?
AR: Everyone is an artist. You can learn any technique and perfect it with hours of practice. But self-expression is what breaths life into your work and makes it art. Learn techniques and then make them your own by giving yourself to the process. Also, “follow your internal drive and direction.” Sometimes you take paths that don’t seem to jive with what you want to do consciously, but if you keep on “doing” you end up where you feel best.
THP: What’s your creative process look like?
AR: For me anything I do artistically is 100% about the process. In fact, though I often end up with artwork that is pleasing to me and others, it’s kind of a let down once I’ve finished it; let go of it emotionally. I often think the unfinished piece is more beautiful than the final as it shows the process. I guess that’s why I just keep going. I have to be doing something all the time. I’m driven that way.
THP: What do you like about teaching?
AR: I am a teacher by trade, taught German at the University of Colorado for years and after that English as a Second Language for international company employees when I lived in Germany (about 12 years). I love to witness the growth of my students who go from knowing nothing about the subject I’m teaching to achieving their goals, be it being able to communicate with someone in a foreign language to finding confidence in their drawing abilities. I am elated and inspired by my students; teaching is so rewarding in that respect.
You can follow Annie’s artistic pursuits at her blog. Also, learn more about Botangle on the website. Keep your eyes peeled for Annie’s classes at Two Hands Paperie, but don’t forget to sign up early because they usually go like hot cakes! We’ll see you on April 10th for the Free Botanic Art Event!