Finding Inspiration: Interview with Annie Koelle

Tips & TricksElizabeth Ramos

We want the Indie Craft Parade Blog to be a helpful resource for everyone in the arts and craft community. So we've decided to include a series of posts that will help both developing and seasoned artists with a variety of topics. We want to discuss things like creating a winning booth, effectively selling goods in person, establishing an online presence and the like. To share this information effectively, we're going to the people who do these things the best. We'll be interviewing (mostly) local artists to get their tips for making your products, branding, or general presence in the art world even better. Today, we're starting with Annie Koelle. She's a painter who presents gorgeous scenes from the natural world. In the 7 years or so I've known Annie, her work has never ceased to amaze me. Everything about her work is inspiring, so I asked her to share some thoughts on the topic of finding inspiration. Sometimes artists burn out or get discouraged when trying to develop new ideas or styles. Annie is continually producing new pieces, and she has graciously shared with us her approach for keeping her work fresh.

To see more pictures of her work, check out this post from 17 Dove Street that features one of Annie's recent shows, hosted in a garden.


Indie Craft Parade:

Frequently artists and crafters are at a loss for new inspiration--either new artists don't know how to branch out or seasoned crafters get burned out. You're always working on show material, how do you keep your work new and fresh?


I'm always viewing the world as an artist, always on the look out for inspiring things--which is why my work is a reflection of everyday things I appreciate. I'm constantly searching for ideas to run with. I look in decorating magazines, the living breathing growing world, fashion catalogs and magazines (I have several binders of clippings), blogs, artists past and present, poetry, music, and antique stores. And a million other things I'm sure. I also make little composition sketches to remember a painting layout. Usually I will come back to them and decide they are silly. Most of the time I don't use them, but it ends up leading on to other great ideas. I have no regrets ever in recording fleeting ideas. Take an idea and run with it in all possible directions. Don't worry about playing it safe. Always be harvesting ideas!


PIndie CraftParade: Although you do a wide variety art/craft genres and styles, every piece you do is decidedly "Annie." Can you share any tips for artists trying to show their personality or put consistency in their work?


I think that's something that develops over time, so have patience. I had a little bit of a head start, having been given art lessons as a youth, long before college. I can't say that a few years ago I was as consistent, but now I am confident in the mediums I'm working with, so I know how to successfully experiment with them. Also, it may be the subject matter, everything I work into a painting has a very personal connection to my life, past and present. Little things I appreciate such as the birds in my yard, the fig tree I pick from, or perhaps something associated with my childhood.  Here is a good tip: whatever sort of art it is, it must be an absolute overflow of yourself, that you present in a skillful, creative way. It has to be what you truly like, and it has to be good enough that you would hand over money for it --as if someone else had made it. Any sort of handmade thing, it had better be something you'd buy yourself and put in your house, wear out to a party, or hang on your wall. Strive for that! Think about it while you are planning and creating. I think that's the key, I'm finally sure (after years of trying) of what I really like, and I am beginning to figure out how to make art I would actually love to hang on my wall. But not always--can't knock it outta the park all the time. Sometimes its just about getting something out of your brain and into your hands.

Indie Craft Parade:

 Can you suggest any resources for artists looking for new inspiration?

Annie: Like I said, I find resources in a million places, but here are a few of my favorites.

Decorator magazines: I don't really read art magazines. The decor ones actually show you what people hang on their walls.

Pinterest: Follow my art inspiration board.

Poppytalk Blog

Dear Ada: I love the book list she has on the side.

FFFFound Image Bookmarking

Simply Lovely Blog

Where the Lovely Things Are: New Fave!