Thursday, May 3, 2012

Introduction

Having spent quite some time considering what would make a good opening post for this blog, I've finally arrived at the painfully obvious conclusion that my introductory post should be just that: An introduction. Chances are, you haven't met me. You may never have seen my work before, or you may have seen it but know nothing about how and why it came to be. So today I'm going to take a deep breath and dive into this whole blogging thing, starting with an introduction.

Hi! My name's Anna Bronwyn Foley. Most people call me Bronwyn. Nice to meet you!

For a fleeting, lackadaisical moment, I was tempted to close there. But I guess I should press on, and give you something to read that's a little less flippant, and a bit more meaty. I'll start with my own history, to let you know who I am, how I came to be an artist, and the particular kind of artist I am.

I was born and raised in the part of Maine that Mainers refer to as Downeast, which isn't very down, but is very east. It is a part of the state that has long served as logging country, blueberry barrens, and not a whole lot else. That is not to say that I don't feel fondly toward the little corner of wilderness where I grew up. On the contrary; I loved it dearly, and still do. My parents still live there, tucked away in a remote swath of swampy woodland in the stone house they built with their own hands, and in which they raised four daughters.
Growing up, there wasn't a whole lot to do - at least not socially. There was a wonderland of nature and wildlife all around us, though, so my sisters and I spent a great deal of time outdoors, playing in ponds and streams and woods, getting filthy with mud in springtime, frozen in the snow in winter, and bitten to shreds by mosquitoes and black flies in summer... Autumn, for it's part, was just a season of pure, picturesque, New England loveliness (though it was deer season, so we were cautious about going too far into the woods for fear of hunters with poor aim).



"Pussywillows on a Rainy Day"
Gouache on Watercolor Paper
© Anna Bronwyn Foley, 2012


In between sojourns out into the wilds of my own backyard, I spent countless hours sketching and drawing.I had begun drawing pictures as soon as I could hold a crayon, and though other interests came and went, this one never waned, nor did my enjoyment of nature.

Knowing that I have been an outdoorsy sort since earliest childhood, the fact that my artwork is inspired by a passion for nature and the living world should come as no surprise. But we'll get to that. If you're still reading (and since I'm bothering to write this, I sure hope you are), let's move along through the biographical bit, so I can go on to tell you about my paintings.
I went to college in what seemed the balmy South, at the time: Connecticut, where I earned a bachelor's degree in Biology. Following college, I worked for several years in wildlife husbandry at a small natural history museum in Massachusetts. That position gave me the opportunity to see lots of wildlife in a very close, personal way, which no doubt informed a lot of the natural history illustrations I do now. After all, you can only glean so much from photographs - there's no substitute for having seen the real thing up close.

From there, I relocated to North Carolina. A job offer for my husband was what brought us here, but the prospect of a whole new cache of wild species and natural places to explore was particularly exciting for me. There are lizards here! Wild lizards! That was one of many things I found remarkable about my new (significantly warmer) habitat.
Since migrating south, I worked as a veterinary assistant until the fall of 2011, when our daughter was born and I became a stay-at-home mom. With the precious time available to the mother of an infant who has sometimes been an unenthusiastic nap-taker, I have thrown myself into painting as my primary non-diaper-related form of employment (and, perhaps, an inexpensive kind of therapy).

Still reading? Excellent! Let me tell you about my artwork, then, since that's probably what you're here for.

I've painted with watercolors since I was a child, and more recently began working with gouache and acrylics as well. As you know by now, I love natural themes, and they figure prominently in my artwork. A large part of my body of work consists of natural history illustrations, such as this one:

"Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly" - Gouache on Watercolor Paper - © Anna Bronwyn Foley, 2012

And this one:

"Red-winged Blackbird" - Gouache on Watercolor Paper - © Anna Bronwyn Foley, 2012

I love the precision and detail involved in producing an illustration of this kind, and never begrudge the time spent getting it to look "just right," but sometimes I find it very refreshing to take a step away from detail, and capture just the impression of a thing, hence my series of abstracts - all still images from nature, but much less constrained ones. For example:
"Blue Tulip Bouquet" - Watercolor on Watercolor Paper - © Anna Bronwyn Foley, 2012

In a similar vein (that of taking a step back, away from minute detail) I have more recently begun painting landscapes in acrylics, as well, such as this:


"Young Tree in an Old Forest" - Acrylic on Canvas - © Anna Bronwyn Foley, 2012

Since December 2011, I have been displaying my artwork online through Etsy at www.abfoleyartworks.etsy.com, and I am so excited to continue adding more pieces to that gallery, and sharing future posts on this blog with updates, stories, and news. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me through reading along here, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon!

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