Local Artist Check-in: Anna Bryant

Posted on January 29, 2014 by

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There is nothing Cville loves more than food, and that is why local artist Anna Bryant, through her impressionist-like still life paintings of food and drink, has already captured our hearts. Inspired by the simplicity of nature and the everyday, Bryant breaths life and light into ordinary objects through her alla prima technique. With a rich creative background inspired by a rich family life in the Shenandoah Valley, Anna recently brought her own growing family to Cville to pursue her passions and share her work in an intimate, thriving local art scene.

Be sure to catch her upcoming First Fridays installation “Across the Table” presented  by New City Arts on February 7th.

Anna Bryant

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Photo credit: Barrie Humphries

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not Cville, when did you come here?

I grew up in Staunton and went to college at JMU. There I met my husband who is from Richmond, so during summers we would always meet midway in Charlottesville. We both really fell in love with all the great restaurants and natural beauty here. We finally moved to Cville in 2010 and love calling it home.

When and why did you start making art? What mediums have you worked with, or particularly enjoy?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t make art. I started using oils in college and find nothing else compares. The color is rich and intense and can take on whatever texture you need. I also love using a material that artists have been using for centuries. Not many things I come  in contact with have remained unchanged for that long.

Most influential artist as a child? Teen? Adult?

While I don’t remember being influenced by any particular artist as a child, my parents always pointed out art that was really expressive. As a teen I started becoming interested in Asian art. I still love the simple, graceful compositions of Japanese block prints.

Now, my favorites are Sargent, Sorolla, and I really admire Richard Schmidt who is still working. I am amazed at how those artists perfectly combine technical aptitude with expression.

What aspects of life excite you, stir your affections, fuel your passions, inspire your art? What influences your art?

Catching glimpses of beauty in everyday life. I think our daily lives are busy but important, and I like capturing moments that are easily overlooked.

What message(s) do you convey through your art? What do you want people to take from seeing your art?

I want people to be a little happier when they look at my work. I hope to transport them to a place of simplicity, order, and community.

What does a day in the life of an artist look like from your perspective?

In the morning, I stay at home with my 3 year old daughter. We go to the park, cook, and do art projects. I have taught art to children in the past, and love doing so with my own child. Then in the afternoons, I work in my studio for a few hours before dinner. We have a great rhythm and being home gives me an opportunity to paint everyday.

What makes Cville special for artists of all forms?

I think Cville is accessible. It’s small enough that you can find your way, but big enough that you can reap the influence of having other creatives in the community. There are so many artists here doing good work. I also think that people here are particularly interested in all forms of art and so they provide a lot of support.

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“Grapes and Wine,” Oil on Linen, 2013

What pieces should we look forward to at your upcoming February First Fridays installation with New City Arts?

“Across the Table” is a collection of still lifes showing a series of table scenes such as a night out, or a morning cup of coffee at home. These are works that I hope will feel familiar and welcoming to the viewer.

What does the not-so-distant future hold for you and your art?

I like to paint what’s around me seasonally, so I’m excited to begin a series of florals this spring.

Favorite place in Cville to… be creative?

I like to hide away in my studio to paint, but coming to the downtown mall is a great place to get energized and become inspired. I paint food, so I have a great excuse to go out to restaurants in the name of inspiration.

Favorite place in Cville to… see art?

Warm Springs Gallery

Favorite place in Cville to… grab a bite?

Zocalo

Favorite place in Cville to… get a drink?

Whiskey Jar

Any other Cville favorites?

Shenandoah Joe’s coffee is pretty wonderful.

Lastly… Describe yourself in 10 words.

Hopeful, (too) thoughtful, observer, listener, idealist, empathetic, transparent, easy-going, blessed.

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