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Anne-Louise Ewen

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Anne-Louise Ewen

In the summer between second and third grade, I met one of my first art mentors in a chance encounter and spent that summer learning the fundamentals of drawing with charcoal, a formative experience which established visual art as a core element of my life. As a teen, I attended the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (a magnet boarding school) and concentrated on a curriculum of fine art, followed up by spending two years abroad studying figure drawing, printmaking and painting in Paris, France. During my college years, I studied philosophy and founded The Donaldsonville Art Colony—a collective of painters, writers, musicians and filmmakers. I relocated from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. Since that time, I’ve opened an art gallery (now online only), led groups of adults who want to be more creative in what I call “My Anti- Authoritarian Motivational Watercolor Workshop,” published a series of art books and I continue to enjoy a thriving studio practice.

Anne-Louise Ewen

Creating is a powerful antidote to many of the world’s ills. It reminds me of humanity’s better nature. When I’m creating, I feel like I belong more on this planet than at any other time. Another word for creativity is resourcefulness. It’s having the ability to find an elegant solution, to make something meaningful out of what you have at hand. Part of what drives us to create is the desire for a deeper connection. We know at heart that mere consumption and survival are not enough for anyone, but I think that artists feel it in a way that drives us to invent the kind of meaningful world we need.

As essential as creativity is to my life, I don’t identify as or with the term of being a “creative”. For me, that expression always implies creative work that was born out of a commercial endeavor for the main purpose of making money. I like making money, but it’s important to me to remember that there is a difference between art and commerce. And when you’re making art, you can start from a place that is not about marketing and selling and making a buck, but rather aim to create beautiful things that transcend oppression, violence, hate, ignorance and existential ennui.

Anne-Louise Ewen

I know this goes against a lot of contemporary art career advice, but I don’t think it’s helpful, as an artist, to concern yourself with finding a style. Style is something that develops out of a playful sense of experimentation, following a thread to something that you love. I never know exactly how a painting is going to develop, and I never want to stop being curious to see. I just try to make things that are beautiful to me and that I want to have around. I guess I’ve been painting for long enough that there are a lot of partially conscious, subtle figurings going on inside, but there’s always some aspect of leaping into the unknown. The key for me is to find a balance between bold spontaneity and calm skillfulness. My husband said recently that I paint like a jazz musician plays music.

I believe that art’s highest good is as an outpost of freedom and a trigger of joy. I’m interested in art that makes me feel in love with the world, and I believe that artists have the ability and, moreover, the responsibility to restore humanity through what we do. Some have said that looking at my work makes them feel more free and alive, and I’d consider that my biggest accomplishment and the highest compliment.

I grew up in a dynamic where the people I came in contact with were either utterly indifferent to the creative work I was doing, or they were actively antagonistic (with many exceptions, of course!). Over the years, I, therefore, developed in a way that preferred working in isolation— the bulk of my creative community was made up of the dead artists that I loved, like Matisse and Picasso and of the classical music or jazz on the radio, beaming in from Baton Rouge or New Orleans.

Anne-Louise Ewen

It’s a hard habit for me to break, but over the last decade, I’ve been working on expanding my comfort zone to include more living artists in my creative community. I used to think that I didn’t have anything to say about my work, but now when someone visits my studio, I really enjoy the surprising dialogues that come out of their questions and observations. I love it when someone experiences a connection with something I’ve made, and they say it makes them feel more free, happy and alive. That’s a fantastic part of the equation that was missing from my creative pursuits for a long time.

Anne-Louise Ewen

My community of artists these days is greatly skewed toward musicians (the most significant being my husband, Tyler Sabbag, who is a part of a team of composers best known for their Emmy-nominated work on the Netflix series, Street Food and Chef’s Table.). I love the way they think, and I suspect it comes from their ability to believe, value and understand things that can’t be seen—ideas and phenomena that have to be experienced to be known. It’s a never-ending source of fascination for me to discuss the similarities in our work processes. In both of our worlds, we must proceed by a kind of faith and hope to enter a state of grace where the composition evolves into something profoundly wonderful.

Pursue your creativity—Don’t overthink it. Feel your way. Play.

Creativity is renewing. If on a given day I don’t feel like I have it in me to start a new oil painting, I’ll often choose to work in a different medium whether it’s ceramics, candle making or singing along to my rudimentary ukulele. It’s important to me to give myself space and time. Instead of pressuring myself when something isn’t working, it does me a lot more good to just take a break and sit down to a good meal in a pretty setting. In the same way, I like the way that travel gives me a chance to be “the me” that I am without the errands and the to-do list crowding in on me, allowing me to find the space I need to dream again.

Anne-Louise Ewen

Creative inspiration can come from anywhere but I do actively seek out beauty— Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, opera, baseball, my friend Teressa’s beautiful hats. There is so much power in beauty to nourish and soothe us. I want to amplify that and bring it into people’s lives. I’m interested in seeing what happens next.

The best times are when it feels like I just get to show up, set up my materials and ride the ride.

OUR HOUSE IS AN EXTENSION OF MY STUDIO.
I have an area for making ceramics and candles, I make works on paper at the kitchen table, and the living room is my rotating art gallery for studio visitors. It’s a quiet atmosphere, apart from my husband composing next door, and people who visit often remark on its welcoming warmth and creative spirit. In spite of all my studio’s faults, I still find it very inviting, which is essential to my practice and my mental health.

Though it can be incredibly challenging to carve out the space you need, your available space doesn’t have to hold you back from making something. In our last house, I set up a giant tent in the backyard! When I lived in New York City for a year, I had no studio space so I turned to making small hand-bound art books of tiny paintings. If you don’t have a room, you could have a suitcase stocked with art supplies that you bring out to conjure that sacred space, like your secret clubhouse hideout from childhood, where you are free to do whatever you want.

“Creativity takes courage.”

— Henri Matisse

I think it’s an accomplishment to overcome these challenges and not let them hold me back from creating. I have a vision in my head of my ideal studio…big, bright and clean, with plenty of storage for finished work…I’ll get there eventually.

Anne-Louise Ewen

In the summer between second and third grade, I met one of my first art mentors in a chance encounter and spent that summer learning the fundamentals of drawing with charcoal, a formative experience which established visual art as a core element of my life. As a teen, I attended the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (a magnet boarding school) and concentrated on a curriculum of fine art, followed up by spending two years abroad studying figure drawing, printmaking and painting in Paris, France. During my college years, I studied philosophy and founded The Donaldsonville Art Colony—a collective of painters, writers, musicians and filmmakers. I relocated from New Orleans to Los Angeles in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina. Since that time, I’ve opened an art gallery (now online only), led groups of adults who want to be more creative in what I call “My Anti- Authoritarian Motivational Watercolor Workshop,” published a series of art books and I continue to enjoy a thriving studio practice.

Anne-Louise Ewen

Creating is a powerful antidote to many of the world’s ills. It reminds me of humanity’s better nature. When I’m creating, I feel like I belong more on this planet than at any other time. Another word for creativity is resourcefulness. It’s having the ability to find an elegant solution, to make something meaningful out of what you have at hand. Part of what drives us to create is the desire for a deeper connection. We know at heart that mere consumption and survival are not enough for anyone, but I think that artists feel it in a way that drives us to invent the kind of meaningful world we need.

As essential as creativity is to my life, I don’t identify as or with the term of being a “creative”. For me, that expression always implies creative work that was born out of a commercial endeavor for the main purpose of making money. I like making money, but it’s important to me to remember that there is a difference between art and commerce. And when you’re making art, you can start from a place that is not about marketing and selling and making a buck, but rather aim to create beautiful things that transcend oppression, violence, hate, ignorance and existential ennui.

Anne-Louise Ewen

I know this goes against a lot of contemporary art career advice, but I don’t think it’s helpful, as an artist, to concern yourself with finding a style. Style is something that develops out of a playful sense of experimentation, following a thread to something that you love. I never know exactly how a painting is going to develop, and I never want to stop being curious to see. I just try to make things that are beautiful to me and that I want to have around. I guess I’ve been painting for long enough that there are a lot of partially conscious, subtle figurings going on inside, but there’s always some aspect of leaping into the unknown. The key for me is to find a balance between bold spontaneity and calm skillfulness. My husband said recently that I paint like a jazz musician plays music.

I believe that art’s highest good is as an outpost of freedom and a trigger of joy. I’m interested in art that makes me feel in love with the world, and I believe that artists have the ability and, moreover, the responsibility to restore humanity through what we do. Some have said that looking at my work makes them feel more free and alive, and I’d consider that my biggest accomplishment and the highest compliment.

I grew up in a dynamic where the people I came in contact with were either utterly indifferent to the creative work I was doing, or they were actively antagonistic (with many exceptions, of course!). Over the years, I, therefore, developed in a way that preferred working in isolation— the bulk of my creative community was made up of the dead artists that I loved, like Matisse and Picasso and of the classical music or jazz on the radio, beaming in from Baton Rouge or New Orleans.

Anne-Louise Ewen

It’s a hard habit for me to break, but over the last decade, I’ve been working on expanding my comfort zone to include more living artists in my creative community. I used to think that I didn’t have anything to say about my work, but now when someone visits my studio, I really enjoy the surprising dialogues that come out of their questions and observations. I love it when someone experiences a connection with something I’ve made, and they say it makes them feel more free, happy and alive. That’s a fantastic part of the equation that was missing from my creative pursuits for a long time.

Anne-Louise Ewen

My community of artists these days is greatly skewed toward musicians (the most significant being my husband, Tyler Sabbag, who is a part of a team of composers best known for their Emmy-nominated work on the Netflix series, Street Food and Chef’s Table.). I love the way they think, and I suspect it comes from their ability to believe, value and understand things that can’t be seen—ideas and phenomena that have to be experienced to be known. It’s a never-ending source of fascination for me to discuss the similarities in our work processes. In both of our worlds, we must proceed by a kind of faith and hope to enter a state of grace where the composition evolves into something profoundly wonderful.

Pursue your creativity—Don’t overthink it. Feel your way. Play.

Creativity is renewing. If on a given day I don’t feel like I have it in me to start a new oil painting, I’ll often choose to work in a different medium whether it’s ceramics, candle making or singing along to my rudimentary ukulele. It’s important to me to give myself space and time. Instead of pressuring myself when something isn’t working, it does me a lot more good to just take a break and sit down to a good meal in a pretty setting. In the same way, I like the way that travel gives me a chance to be “the me” that I am without the errands and the to-do list crowding in on me, allowing me to find the space I need to dream again.

Anne-Louise Ewen

Creative inspiration can come from anywhere but I do actively seek out beauty— Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, opera, baseball, my friend Teressa’s beautiful hats. There is so much power in beauty to nourish and soothe us. I want to amplify that and bring it into people’s lives. I’m interested in seeing what happens next.

The best times are when it feels like I just get to show up, set up my materials and ride the ride.

OUR HOUSE IS AN EXTENSION OF MY STUDIO.
I have an area for making ceramics and candles, I make works on paper at the kitchen table, and the living room is my rotating art gallery for studio visitors. It’s a quiet atmosphere, apart from my husband composing next door, and people who visit often remark on its welcoming warmth and creative spirit. In spite of all my studio’s faults, I still find it very inviting, which is essential to my practice and my mental health.

Though it can be incredibly challenging to carve out the space you need, your available space doesn’t have to hold you back from making something. In our last house, I set up a giant tent in the backyard! When I lived in New York City for a year, I had no studio space so I turned to making small hand-bound art books of tiny paintings. If you don’t have a room, you could have a suitcase stocked with art supplies that you bring out to conjure that sacred space, like your secret clubhouse hideout from childhood, where you are free to do whatever you want.

“Creativity takes courage.”

— Henri Matisse

I think it’s an accomplishment to overcome these challenges and not let them hold me back from creating. I have a vision in my head of my ideal studio…big, bright and clean, with plenty of storage for finished work…I’ll get there eventually.