We had the opportunity to chat with Angela Anderson last month. Angela is a Fine Art Painter who is passionate about creating original acrylic paintings, murals, fabric, wallpaper design, and custom artwork. She has a popular Youtube channel and an affection for teaching and encouraging others to pick up a paint brush and have fun.
1. What inspires you? I am very deeply inspired by nature. I spent most of my childhood outside enjoying nature, climbing trees, catching lizards and bugs and just quietly studying the world around me. We lived in the desert and flowers were few and far between so they fascinated me. It was like finding a precious, temporary treasure and I have never lost that feeling of joy when I see them. I can get lost for hours in a garden center! Animals, birds and insects really spark my creativity too. I think my love for nature really shows in the choice of subjects for my artwork.
2. What mediums do you work with regularly and why? I work with acrylics. I also do some mixed media work, mostly with papers and pencils used to add dimension to backgrounds and finishing. I use a lot of layering in my artwork and the quick drying properties of acrylics make it easy to achieve the colors and rich values I desire. They also allow for thin watercolor-type effects or thicker impasto applications, when desired. It is the most versatile medium in my opinion.
3. Explain your creative process. My creative process usually starts with an image. I am always taking photos and scanning my surroundings for interesting photos and ideas. We do photo contests on my social media platforms several times a year and that always gives me wonderful subjects to choose from. I look for bold, eye-catching subjects. I prefer isolating the object of my focal point from the background so I can really dig into the details. Once I find the image I want, I will spend time just studying it. Looking for colors and deciding if I want to add or change anything about the composition. I also use a tablet to quickly sketch out my ideas and make color notes. Then, I usually just jump in and do a simple single color undercoat on my canvas before sketching the basic subject in with chalk or watercolor pencil. I make a lot of edits while I am painting instead of drawing it out in detail beforehand. It is part of my process to work through lots of layering using different blending techniques, dry brushing and then finishing with glazes of color to bring out rich depth. Adding just a pop of bright highlights at the end to make the painting glow is my favorite part of the painting process. Those last few brush strokes make the painting come to life.
4. Do you have anything exciting coming up that you would like us to share? I am going to be doing a portrait series for my Patreon supporters coming up this summer. I don’t do a lot of portraits so it should be a really fun challenge. I am also in the planning stages for a workshop and art show in June of next year, 2019. We will be displaying over 300 of my paintings from my YouTube tutorials. It will be exciting to see them all displayed together.
5. How did you begin your career as a professional artist, and how has your career evolved? I was an art major in college. I think the most rewarding thing I learned there was drawing and an appreciation for art history. I was honestly frustrated with my paintings early on. They just were not where I wanted them to be, so when I discovered decorative painting I was excited. There were simple instructions and techniques that made creating easy and fun. In the early 1990’s I began selling woodcrafts and other decorative painting items through local craft fairs and did that for several years before I burned out on the repetitiveness. It became a job not a passion. In 2004, after a trip to France, I was inspired to try painting fine art on canvas. It was a revelation to be able to finally put to canvas all the things I had been wanting to do since the beginning. I felt like my whole art journey just came full circle at that point and I was immediately admitted into several galleries and began selling my paintings online as well. In 2009, one of my paintings was included in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion Association Artist Calendar and the following year one of my paintings was purchased for permanent display at the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute in Little Rock, AR.
I began teaching private art lessons almost as soon as I started selling my artwork. I think my early frustrations with my own art journey have been a major reason why I love teaching. It is so satisfying to get to share my experiences and help others learn to paint. YouTube came about as an outlet to share what I was teaching in my local classes and it became popular beyond my wildest expectations. It has totally taken over my career path. I now do 2 live full-length painting tutorials each week with my husband Mark acting as co-host. It is such a blessing to be able to share my passion for painting with people from all over the world. Our subscribers have become our friends and we just treat our shows as a way to catch up on life and enjoy some art together. It makes for a relaxing and approachable environment for learning and many of my viewers say they feel like I am sitting there painting with them. Seeing their finished paintings and knowing I helped is the best feeling.
6. What are your favorite Princeton Artist Brush products? My favorite Princeton brushes are the 6100 series. They are amazing! I have been painting with them for about 3 years now. They are extremely durable. Well worth the investment. They are firm enough to handle heavy body acrylics but also soft enough to form crisp edges and do fine details. They have a nice flexible snap without being floppy or too rigid. They also hold a ton of paint so I don’t have to reload every other brush stroke. It makes for easier blending and faster painting (which is important when I am painting for an audience). They are awesome for mural work as well. I prefer the Brights, Angle Brights and Filberts in sizes 2 to 12 and Rounds in sizes ranging from a 2/0 to a 6.
For smaller, fine details I enjoy the Velvetouch
and Select Artiste
brushes. The Velvetouch Willow’s Blender is my new favorite. So fun to use for foliage and drybrushing! And the 3/8″ Angle is a must-have brush.
The Select Artiste brushes are amazing quality for the price! Usually beginner brushes are not ones I can recommend because the quality is somewhat lacking. Not so with Select! They are durable and flexible and very well made. The Select Deerfoot Stipplers are the best I have found. I use them for clouds and trees.
I am all about buying the best brush you can afford and taking good care of them. A good quality brush will last years and give you a much more enjoyable and less frustrating painting experience. I have been painting for around 30 years now so I have been through a LOT of brushes! Princeton are the best, most consistent quality brushes I have found.