Alla Prima Annalyse!


Annelyse lives in Hopkinton where she works in her third floor studio. Weekly, she enjoys the mentorship and community of her class at the Danforth.

When I knew I loved art

I asked Annelyse when she remembers first feeling that she loved art. She did not have to take a second to think about it!  She started with “this is how I knew I was going to be an artist…”  She was in kindergarten; there were wet murals in the hallway outside their classroom when the kids were in line to go somewhere. “I accidentally slipped on a mural and was covered in wet paint. All the other kids were freaked out and I thought ‘oh, I am not afraid to get messy’ ”  By second grade her parents were taking Annelyse to classes at what is now the Hopkinton Art Center. She remembers her first set of Prismacolor pencils and her first set of Graphite Pencils (2H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B) — the way some kids remember their very first bike.

Fast forward to high school — Annelyse was interested in pen and ink drawings and watercolor. She has fond memories of hanging out in the art room after school to finish projects. Her teachers really encouraged her to push boundaries; one teacher in particular was instrumental in her pursuit of going to art school. When I asked her how she felt when the teacher told her she should consider majoring in art, Annelyse said “I lit up like a light bulb; art was the only thing I wanted to learn.”

Working at Weston Nurseries during high school, Annelyse also really enjoyed learning about plants, flowers and trees.

These pictures “Little Secrets” and “Heartwork” are from her portfolio in high school. You can see more of the portfolio here.


Mass College of Art days

When Annelyse applied to college, she applied early decision to Mass College of Art. Thankfully, she knew by December that she got in because, as she said, “I had put all my eggs in one basket.” After learning to paint with oils in sophomore year, Annelyse happily declared herself a painting major! Inspired by working at Weston Nurseries, Annelyse began painting nature still lifes and she said to herself “this is what I was born for. It just felt right!”  In her second semester of sophomore year, she sold her first painting — the botanical still life of cut flowers to the right — at an art show at Mass College of Art. Talk about affirming her passion.

College is where Annelyse learned to paint in Alla Prima style. She described how she begins with an underpainting of raw umber or raw sienna thinned with mineral spirits. While the paint is wet, she carves out the design or sketch of her composition. Second layer is titanium buff (a warm grey) where she continues to work out the design. As she continues painting by adding color and definition, she waits for some areas to dry (never completely) while she works on another area of the painting. All the while, she is thinking and planning quickly and moving quickly with her brush, trusting her intuition and impulses alongside of planning and thinking. I asked her how the paintings do not end up muddy with wet paint on top of wet paint. She said that she knows how dry it needs to be before applying fresh paint, also that it helps to use a palette knife (think about icing a cake) with a little more paint on it. If she is not seen with a palette knife in her hand, it will likely be a filbert style brush — her favorite.


Pastries Galore!

Annelsye and I discovered we have in common a love for California artist Wayne Thiebaud. The NY Times article after his death in 2021 was titled Wayne Thiebaud, Playful Painter of the Everyday, Dies at 101. Annelyse, also with a playful style, has studied a lot about Thiebaud and his art — particularly his paintings of sweets. Painting to the right: Thiebaud’s Cakes No. 1, 1967.

Whether pastries, botanicals, portraits or technical drawings (landscape architecture type), Annelyse is creating what she loves! And, at least for the time being, Annelyse will be Alla Prima Annelyse. She is happy with doing one painting in a “sitting” though I think she stands when she paints! She told me she can never “get it right” if she leaves a painting unfinished and comes back in a different mood and headspace. If a painting was not finished in a one time period, she will start a new one — either by painting over the unfinished one or starting over on a new surface.

And coming full circle from when Annelyse was in kindergarten and discovered she was happy to be covered with paint, Noelle, the Art School Director reported to me that after her 3-hour session painting in the art school, she often sees Annelyse covered in paint!

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