It was over two years ago that I first presented my Earthling series. My mind was very much on the ever-evolving issue of climate change. (That hasn't changed.) At the same time, the idea of placing a stick figure into one of my abstract paintings had been something I'd been imagining for several years. When I was asked to do a solo show, the time seemed right to combine those two ideas in a new series.
The challenge of opening that show during the start of the pandemic was something I've written about before and I give full credit to Cheryl Bell of 14 Bells Fine Art for her determination in making it happen when circumstances were far from ideal.
The response to the Earthlings was over-whelming, encouraging me to continue the series long after the show ended, as I do today. They have evolved somewhat over time, but their impact remains the same. They seem to connect with people and that is what you always hope for as an artist, to create a painting that perhaps says far more than you could express any other way.
I have been asked how long it takes me to create each of these paintings. For all their seeming simplicity, each of the Earthling paintings takes a considerable amount of time and thought. It usually begins with a feeling I want to express about our planet, our humanity, our similarities. Then I must consider how to best communicate that through the child-like innocence of a stick-figure. I do a great many sketches searching for the most expressive pose. One constant I adhere to is the multi-coloured aspect of each figure which represents the fact that no matter where we come from, no matter our culture or background, beliefs or way of life, we are all the beings of a planet called Earth. The painting backgrounds remain purposely abstract, colour and light never quite materializing into something recognizable, but perhaps suggesting some earthly quality. Above all else, these are Earthlings. We are all Earthlings and maybe that's where the connection lies. I hope so.
The Earthlings will continue to evolve, continue to express feelings about our planet, our life and times. I honestly don't know where that will all lead, but I hope they mirror a positive, compassionate, and united future.
Anna Horsnell SCA
Canadian painter of contemporary abstract art