Anna Horsnell Wade is an accomplished Nova Scotia visual artist whose paintings hang in many private and public collections. Recently she completed a series of paintings and authored a book called “The Sarah Diaries,” inspired by time spent on the oil tanker Sarah Desgagnes. The creations represent a true labour of love.
On Saturday, June 25, at 1 p.m., she will offer a special reading and book signing at NovelTea Bookstore Café on 622 Prince St. in Truro while her paintings are on display. There will also be time to converse with the artist/author and everyone is welcome to this event.
How did you start making art?
I have always felt fortunate that I was born into a very creative and artistic family. My mother is a painter and, as a young girl, I spent hours watching her work in her studio. I think I started drawing from the moment I could hold a pencil and painting soon followed. Making art has always been a natural way for me to express myself, to communicate, and to understand.
How do you work?
For me, making art is about contrasts. I prefer to work alone in my studio where I can avoid distractions and totally immerse myself in the process. I often listen to music but also enjoy absolute quiet while I paint. I may begin with an idea or theme in mind, but more often the work leads me through a process of discovery.
Creating my art contrasts with the business of art which includes record keeping, promotion and marketing. This is often a much more social exercise, presenting and discussing my artwork with others. At times I prefer the solitude, but inevitably, art is about sharing.
How has your practice changed over time?
As a young artist, I simply wanted to learn and grow, to improve my skills and explore different styles and subjects. Eventually, as a professional artist, my focus became exhibit opportunities in both group and solo shows establishing my art in the commercial marketplace. It was also important to me that I contribute to the art community as a whole. We age and our priorities and goals evolve. Today I seek something much more personal; a more relaxed approach to what inspires me.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
Just over two years ago, I was given the opportunity to take two voyages on board the oil tanker, Sarah Desgagnes. My husband spends half of the year at sea as chief engineer and this was an opportunity to travel with him for a short period. Within hours I was inspired not only by the overpowering seascape, but by the ship itself, and all those who lived and worked on board. The resulting project involved a series of 10 paintings and a book about my experience.
What role does the artist have in society?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is the necessity to slow down in life. I believe artists take time by the very nature of the work, as they consider the details and the very essence of things. Artists also think outside the ordinary and in sharing their work, they communicate what they have learned or realized. Society often needs that mirror.
Anna Horsnell SCA
Canadian painter of contemporary abstract art