Artist Statement

Hi! My name is Anne Gaal (rhymes with “smile”). I am an exploratory mixed-media artist, photographer, and mentor. I love to create; discover new people, places, and things; and to share what I learn with others.

Download a printable version of my Artist Statement here.

Mixed media and happy accidents

I don’t always follow the rules. I like to play and experiment with artistic products and use them in new and different ways and to try new techniques. I think that’s part of what being a mixed media artist is
about – we have a little bit of a “mad scientist” inside that likes to mix things up and see if we can create something beautiful from the combination.

Of course, sometimes the combinations don’t work out. That’s part of the risk. But, when a new experiment or technique does work, it’s thrilling! And sometimes the most beautiful, exciting results come from happy accidents. Unplanned events that occur in the process of making art that come together to make something marvelous.

Patterned Vase - 11" x 14" acrylic painting on Ampersand Gessobord

The trick is to write down what happened to lead to that unplanned but spectacular result, so that you can “recreate” that happy accident in the future. Scientists will tell you that an experiment is not successful unless you can repeat it. That is part of the reason why I blog – to help me keep a record of what steps I took to get a particular result, so that I can do it again if I want to.

Making the complex seem simple

The other reason I blog is to share what I’ve learned with other artists. I have been given the gift of being able to make complex things seem simple. I can explain a process using basic words in a way that is easy to understand. So I feel like blogging is a great way for me to use my natural talent for making the complex seem simple to “give back” and contribute to the artistic community.

I used to use this talent in the business world as a technical writer, software tester, and web developer. But I am finding it much more fun and more meaningful to use this gift in a way that is creative and that serves other artists.

Handmade paper bead bracelets

Looking toward the future

In the future, I hope to offer online workshops of interest to artists, where I can use this gift of making the complex seem simple to help others learn to make their own original art – rather than copying someone else’s project or formula. I am also very intrigued with digital and hybrid artwork, and am working to increase my Photoshop and Illustrator skills and I am beginning to make more hybrid projects which combine both digital and traditional art making techniques.

I also hope to increase the number of product reviews that I do – because I love experimenting and trying new things. And I hope – someday very
soon! – to figure out a way to combine my natural talents and gifts with my love of all things creative as a way to earn a living – doing work I love.

Digital photos / scrapbook layouts framed and hybrid bottle cap necklace

What I love

I am one of those people who can’t decide what their favorite color is, or what their favorite animal is – because I love them all! I’ve had someone look at one of my photographs of a great horned owl and say, “I don’t like birds.” How can a person write off an entire species? I don’t understand this.

I’ve had others who look at my work and say, “I don’t like cool colors,” or “I don’t like green.” I don’t get that either. I see so much beauty in the natural world, the colors, and the animals around us and it fills me with such joy. I love our differences and diversity – I think that’s what makes us interesting. I love animals, being outdoors, and discovering new people, places, and things – and I try to reflect this in my artwork and photography.

I am also a very spiritual person. Spiritual but not religious. I think the process of making art – of creating something – is very primal, personal, and spiritual. It is a journey, that requires us as artists to invest time and effort, but it gives us so much back in return.

My studio and creative process

My husband once described my studio as looking like an art store had exploded in it. Which is true! I usually have more than one project going at a time and love to surround myself with products, tools, and supplies that inspire me. Even when I work digitally, I still drag all the products and elements into a single folder, so I can surround myself
virtually with my inspiration.

My crafty space

The creative process is not very linear for me. Sometimes I see a product, tool, or even a color and get so inspired that I create something from start to finish in one sitting. More often, I find something I love – an art supply product or tool, a digital element or kit, or a photo or phrase – and then I have to let it marinate.

It may take a while for my vision to percolate – for that creative spark to emerge. But it always happens and then I can use that vision to create something. Often I get totally inspired by what emerges, which energizes me for the next project.

I love being “in the zone,” totally lost in my creative play! For me, creating is as necessary as breathing. It’s what relaxes and calms me. It’s where I can let the to-do lists and internal voices go and just “be.” Art-making is essential.

In a nutshell

So, that’s me. A mixed-media, artistic, creative experimenter who doesn’t always color within the lines and who has lots of fun making a big mess while making something beautiful. I love to create, I love animals and being outdoors, and I love discovering new people, places, and things. I love sunny days, blue skies, and a breeze whispering through the trees. I love “happy accidents” and the fact that what emerges from our creative process isn’t always exactly how we imagined it – yet is still true to our original vision. I believe life and the process of making art is a spiritual journey. And I love sharing what I’ve learned from my adventures with others.

As a mixed media artist, I have many interests and produce many different kinds of work, including stamping, making artist trading cards and greeting cards, photography, digital scrapbooking, hybrids, acrylics and watercolor painting, and other creative pursuits.

My work has been sold in four countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Ireland) and in 23 states (AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IN, KY, MD, MI, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, & TX). I am represented by The Stagecoach Gallery in Platte, SD, and am interested in finding a second gallery closer to home in NC.

Handstamped candle and matching greeting card