Q&A with Annalisa Fink & Annie Koelle

It’s almost time to celebrate the opening of our 13th Anniversary Show and we couldn’t be more excited! We’ve been having fun this month helping you get to know our artists better with Q&A’s. Annalisa Fink and Annie Koelle are another pair of artists who have been with Art & Light since the very beginning, and we have loved watching their work evolve over the years.

These talents have explored an array of subject matter with their media, and they never fail to blow us away! With a deft hand, Annalisa Fink captures flora and fauna in stunning displays of gesture and color. From milk cartons to an array of fruits, Annie Koelle celebrates the beauty found in the everyday with each stroke of her paintbrush.

Get to know Annalisa and Annie below…

Q&A with Annalisa Fink

Annalisa Fink in her studio

Annalisa Fink in her studio

Q: You've been with Art & Light since the very beginning! How has your work evolved over the years?

A: My first show at A&L was a series of fish done in oil paint with bright solid color backgrounds that had tons of texture. The biggest change is that I love to paint things I have a connection with now, mostly places I’ve been in SC. I want to draw you into the picture like Alice in “through the looking glass” I want the viewer to be able to step through that mirror into their own memories or something beautiful that’s calling them out of themselves.

Q: What do you enjoy most about the gallery/artist relationship?

A: I enjoy the random texts and phone calls from the gallery about whatever. Sitting in the same spot painting can get boring and it’s great to remember there are real people out there that I’m working with. It makes it much more fun and helps motivate me to keep things moving.

Q: What's inspiring you right now? Can you tell us a little about the work you've created for the anniversary show?

A: My family took a little camping trip down to Edisto island...it was such a mess and so hot we slept in hammocks outside, but I could hear the ocean all night. The next morning early my daughter and I walked out to the beach...It was amazing...the light had become ribbons covering the surface of the waves. This set of paintings is from that moment. I think I’ll be painting the ocean until the weather cools down haha.

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Q: The creative process isn't always easy - What do you do when you feel stuck or a piece isn't working?

A:
If I’m stuck in a subject I just keep painting it till I figure it out. If I’m stuck in a particular painting I completely start over. I’m pretty ruthless about it.

Q: From beautiful botanicals to fabulous flamingos, we've seen a range of subject matter in your work. What dictates your transition from subject matter to subject matter?

A: It’s a combination of experiencing something and wanting to explore how to paint it. Mostly I want to paint SC, the flamingos snuck their way in because my kids and I spent a lot of time at the Columbia zoo and I snapped a few pictures of them...they are too wonderful and bizarre to be true as a creature so I needed to paint them.

Q: What do you hope the viewer/collector takes away from your work?

A: I hope it’s like fresh air to sort of wake them up to see life fresh. Everything I paint is “ordinary” you can see it anywhere...but nothing is ordinary, the whole world is dripping with beauty and meaning.

Q: What's your go-to studio beverage?

A: Black Coffee. 100%.

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Q&A with Annie Koelle

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Q: You've been with Art & Light since the very beginning! How has your work evolved over the years?

A: Oh wow, that’s a loaded question! My style is very connected to my limitations- I consider myself primarily an oil painter but due to having toddlers when I started out with Art & Light Gallery I was creating small abstract landscapes in acrylic paint and charcoal because that’s what my time and energy would allow. Now that my kids are older and in school (Marshall 12, Pearl 7) I’m back to oil painting and I’ve been primarily focused on still life paintings.

Q: What do enjoy most about the gallery/artist relationship?

A: I love seeing my work in that bright, cozy house and it’s nice to develop relationships with dear clients that I would otherwise never have met.

Q: What's inspiring you right now? Can you tell us a little about the work you've created for the anniversary show?

A: Summer is a painting dry season for me because of not having much free time to paint due to kids being home from school but if I could I would become a hermit and paint piles of melons and tomatoes, I truly would, there is so much magic and beauty in a peach or an heirloom tomato who needs Harry Potter or a fairy godmother?! Just kidding, no offense Harry Potter fans. I am so inspired by the legacy of painters through history who valued the wealth of produce the soil gives us, we so easily take the generous earth for granted.

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“There is so much magic and beauty in a peach…”

Q: The creative process isn't always easy - What do you do when you feel stuck or a piece isn't working?
A:
I usually set something aside if it’s not working but honestly, my problem is usually too many ideas and not enough time.

Q: We've seen a range of subject matter in your work, and you capture the everyday in a stunning manner - from milk cartons to parakeets, and of course, we're big fans of your bananas. What dictates your transition from subject matter to subject matter?

A: I honestly can’t even put that into words! Generally it’s finding the universal in the particular, be that cartons or parakeets. Most images are usually connected to complex metaphors for thoughts on life and situations I’m working out in my head while I paint or honestly I just am truly fascinated with the shape or color or idea of something, hence the banana.

Q: We heard you might have a funny story about you daughter Pearl painting on one of your pieces - Can you tell us about it?

A: Oh my, I think I remember that! She’s our other constant artist in the family, I think she took a pencil or something when she was a toddler and contributed to one of my paintings. I do like the idea of collaborating with her someday.

Q: What do you hope the viewer/collector takes away from your work?

A: First I hope the viewer feels my intention behind the paint to honor the glory of the medium, to make holy its molecules in every 3D brush stroke that takes up space. Second I hope they find a dear significance in how our objects and environments tell stories, teach us like parables and are the substance behind the words we speak.

Q: What's your favorite local spot to grab coffee?

A: Well Methodical because they have my designs on their bags and products and everything is so dang delicious, the Village Grind has my favorite flavor Orange Vanilla Cinnamon latte (and I don’t usually like flavored lattes), but also Swamp Rabbit because it’s on my way to everything. Actually I really like the coffee I make, I’m a cheap introvert so I don’t really get out that much...

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Be sure to come celebrate the work of Annalisa, Annie, and all of the incredible talents that make up Art & Light Galley for our birthday celebration this Friday, August 23rd! Join us for the opening of our group exhibition “13 CANDLES” from 6pm - 8pm.