Realize a talent and believeIt is amazing what people can do when they realize their own talents. After years of doubt in her abilities, Tracy Anderson of Alexandria realized her talent and pursued it. Anderson’s uncle is an artist and retired art professor. She remembered, as an enthused young girl, watching him draw and asking, “Can you draw me a horse?”
By: Stacie Kimball, Alexandria Echo Press
Realize a talent and believe...woman pursues art despite feelings of self doubt.
It is amazing what people can do when they realize their own talents. After years of doubt in her abilities, Tracy Anderson of Alexandria realized her talent and pursued it.
Anderson’s uncle is an artist and retired art professor. She remembered, as an enthused young girl, watching him draw and asking, “Can you draw me a horse?”
That exposure to art may have been her inspiration. Later, with her parents’ permission, Anderson drew a life-size horse on her bedroom wall. Her parents were supportive of her interest in art and allowed her to create another painting on the wall by the family’s pool table.
Anderson, however, lacked confidence in her own abilities.
“I never thought I was any good,” she said.
In school, art class was one place she felt comfortable – where she fit in.
As a young adult she attended Alexandria Technical College for interior design. Her strong connection to art attracted her to the program.
“I didn’t think I was any good, but interior design had the artistic and design elements,” remarked Anderson.
She was successful in the design field and worked for a tile and marble showroom and later in a design center in Minneapolis.
She moved back to Alexandria with her husband and began raising and homeschooling her two children, Chase and Mariah.
The young mother’s attraction to art never diminished. She created three-dimensional framed art, did some freelance interior design work and was a partner in a retail store that marketed rubber stamps and supplies.
At age 39, she decided to further her abilities and said to herself, “I’m going to finally take a painting class.”
She enrolled in an adult watercolor class through Community Education in Alexandria.
“All those things that are available to the public are great tools,” she noted of the class.
Anderson admitted she has a love/hate relationship with watercolors. She explained that watercolor painting takes a lot of planning and the artist must paint from light to dark with that medium.
Despite the “hate” part of that relationship, the artist in her had fully awakened and she enjoyed the class so much she took it three times.
Myron Sahlberg, instructor of the communication art and design program at Alexandria Technical and Community College, asked Anderson to model for his third year art students.
She found herself unable to leave after modeling, so the aspiring painter joined the students in learning for the remainder of class time.
Her unyielding urge to pursue art prompted her to take two classes at the college. She jumped right into the third-year portrait painting classes and revealed, “I didn’t even know how to use the brushes.”
Anderson found inspiration in oil painting – a medium she truly loved.
“With oils there is more working time, more layers, and you paint from dark to light,” described the artist. “Painting in oils has been a way to find myself and lose myself at the same time.”
She is drawn to strong contrast and shadows and strives to bring emotion and mood into all of her paintings. Working from photos, the artist prefers to create from a single light source, which adds depth and emotion to her pieces.
She also enjoys expressing new ideas with oils by creating drips and runs that are typically found in watercolor.
Many people recognize the emotion in Anderson’s art and describe it as “emotionally vulnerable, moving, moody” and “heartfelt.”
“I enjoy capturing a mood and a not-so-common expression of one’s thoughts,” she shared. “Interestingly enough, as a kid and adult, I wondered why I saw things differently than other people. My belief and talent lay dormant for years.”
Anderson starts each day with her art. “I know I am painting every morning,” said the dedicated artist. She admitted that distractions are tough, but after spending days planning a piece she will paint two to three hours each day.
Depending on size and detail, one of her complete works can take 10 to 40 hours of work time.
In a short time, Anderson has gone from not knowing how to use the brushes to an award-winning artist.
“Now, I celebrate that I see things differently. It’s all perspective,” she said.
In three years, Anderson has racked up several awards and honors for her paintings. Her art can be seen in several galleries, including a solo show at Lake Region Arts Council in Fergus Falls through January.
Her most recent accomplishment was receiving best of show, first place, member’s choice and people’s choice at the Artists of Minnesota show in 2011. Anderson is the first person to take all four awards on a single painting – Into the Shadows.
As if realizing a talent and earning awards were not enough, Anderson has even bigger dreams.
Currently, she is working on creating some bridal pieces that she intends to display in bridal boutiques. She hopes to work with the shops or individuals who want to capture a moment from their wedding or anniversary or even just a vulnerable instant in time as a gift to someone special.
Anderson commented that the economy sparked this latest idea that she is developing with her daughter, Mariah, who is also an artist.
“People buy artwork because it means something to them – a place, a dream, a feeling,” she noted. “Art is a hard business to be in, but if you eliminated it, everyone would notice.”
Anderson is a strong advocate of art being included in today’s education, since she was a student who didn’t feel like she fit in and art was a place she felt comfortable.
“It is sad to me that art and music are the first to go,” she said. “So many kids are hurting and don’t fit in anywhere.”
Maybe that is why Anderson’s ambitions soar high as she dreams of someday being part of an art gallery/teaching studio. She shared her visions of how it could be so much more than just a gallery for visual art, but all the arts.
“What fun! What a wonderful place to learn and grow!” said the bright-eyed artist.
She continued, “The future…well, in a perfect world, I’d love to be able to do commissions and paint what moves me, teach some and continue to grow myself.”
In Anderson’s world of emotional oil paintings that showcase strong shadows and contrast, her future and career certainly do look bright.
SOLO ART SHOW
Tracy Anderson’s art will be on display at the Lake Region Arts Council, 133 S. Mill Street, Fergus Falls, December 1-January 31.
The artist’s reception is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. This will be an opportunity for the public to meet Anderson, view her art and ask questions.
CONTACT THE ARTIST
For more information about Tracy Anderson or her art, call (320) 808-5446 or visit her website at www.tracyandersonfineart.com.
(Listed by painting name, award(s),
show name, year won.)
• Into the Shadows; best of show, first place, member’s choice, people choice awards; Artists of Minnesota Show; 2011.
• Into the Shadows; best of the crawl, St. Cloud; Art a la Carte; 2011.
• Into the Shadows; third place; Light and Shadow, St. Cloud; 2011.
• Maxx-i-nista; juried into Arts in Harmony, national show – Elk River; 2011.
• The Emerald Dress; third place, high school student choice awards; Hawley Art Show; 2011.
• Into the Shadows; top 15 percent in the February 2011 online Bold Brush Painting competition.
• Girl in Purple; third place in the portrait division, (student division); The Artists Magazine online competition - Jan./Feb 2011. issue; 2010.
• Maxx-i-nista; second place, Art a la Carte, St. Cloud; 2010.
• Preparations; art committee award, people’s choice award, merit award; Hawley Art Show; 2010.
• Maxx-i-nista; best of show, first place, people’s choice awards; Red Hen House Art Show, Brooten; 2010.
•Mary Did You Know; best of show; Red Hen House Art Show, Brooten; 2009.
• Mariah in Oil; Gold Addy award, American Advertising Federation, Central Minnesota; 2008.
• Delightful Dahlia (Anderson’s first watercolor); juried into Red River National Watercolor show; 2008.
• Underbrush Gallery in Fargo, North Dakota.
• Art of the Lakes Gallery in Battle Lake.
• Three Havens Gallery, Alexandria.