Anne Kessler - Pastels
I have been a painter for longer than I can remember. My mother says that I used to come into kindergarten and announce that I was going to paint a rabbit. Then, to the astonishment of my teachers, I would proceed to do just that. But I was blessed with many talents. Raised in Cambridge, MA, I followed family tradition by attending Harvard.
Then, hungry for "real life" and the natural world, I moved to California and threw myself body and soul into the "back to the land" movement. Even in a rural setting I found a way to live art, this time music, which I also excelled in as a child. I spent the next 10 years as a professional musician conducting both choruses and orchestras. Then, still seeking adventure, I moved to London where I studied finance and database engineering.
But my seemingly boundless energy reached its limit when I collapsed and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, an illness that would be with me for the next 20 years. The first 2 years I spent almost entirely in bed trying to assess where my true happiness could be found. One day, a friend came by to wash my dishes and she brought with her a set of watercolors. "While you are just lying here, why don't you paint?" is what she said.
Too weak to get up, day after day, I started constructing paintings in my head once again. As I concentrated on the energy that would make me well, I started seeing the world as a web of light and color. I found that I ached to once again be part of the slow timelessness of the redwoods and feel my connection with the earth. I felt it was essential to both my health and happiness.
I moved my limited life to a small cabin on the Garcia River in Mendocino County. The river became my healer and my teacher as day after day my strength grew. When I first tried pastels, I fell in love with the intensity of the pigments. I found that color could act as a bridge straight to the soul and could take me to a place where there were no words.
Blessedly, over many years, my health is restored, and my healing has shown me my life's work as an impressionist and a colorist. My new studio is still on the banks of the Garcia River. I paint the ancient healing ease of the river and the forests that I love. I believe that people need landscape paintings to remind them of the deep stillness of the earth beneath their feet and to remind them that we are all connected by a web of light and color. My paintings invite you to reflect on the surface of flowing water, spirit in the form of color that emanates from all things, and the fluidity of life in each moment.
© copyright 2010 - all rights to the images are retained by the artist