This month we’re featuring Anne Shields for the Capitol Hill Art League’s Mind of the Artist feature. Read their story and check out their beautiful artwork below.
Drawing and painting have been lifelong interests for me but until I retired in 2001, I did not have the time to pursue my interest. I searched around for a compatible school/class for several years, beginning to take classes at the Smithsonian Institution, then at the Corcoran School. At both of these venues, I worked primarily in oil and acrylic but no class ever seemed exactly “right.” Either they were filled with retirees like me, who were just dabbling, or they were oriented toward the MFA students in class.
I had always wanted to try watercolor so when my friend Martha Pope recommended her watercolor class at CHAW, taught by Gina Clapp, I jumped at the chance to join. I found an artistic home at CHAW, and when Gina took a workshop with Wolf Kahn in pastels and encouraged her erstwhile watercolor students to try it, I found an artistic medium that suited my personality. I had always been disappointed in the pale watercolors I produced, which lacked both verve and style. Pastels were a different story. I love the vibrancy of the chalk; I love the ability to correct my mistakes; and I love getting positively filthy.
Many of my paintings reflect my interest in the environment, having practiced environmental law for most of my career. The landscapes I have encountered as a member of an 8-woman hiking group, have inspired me. I also enjoy political themes and have taken out my unhappiness with present-day politics in a number of paintings. Portraiture has also been an interest, since one of my earlier pre-CHAW classes was taught by Annette Polan, a prominent portrait artist in DC. Ellen Cornett, who took over Gina’s class, has been a great guide and counsellor for the last 10 years.
I’m happy to share some of my paintings. My grandson is working on putting together a website for me at AnneShieldsArt. I have also produced two children’s books, Missing Pumpkin and Shoo!, which I wrote and illustrated. They are available on Amazon but they are in watercolor, so don’t expect much!