Anne Wylemans: Art and self expression

MORRISBURG – “I have a deep need to express myself through art. But I find artistic expression in many ways. Art means creativity, in everything from decorating to cooking. In Canada, I worked as a make-up artist for 25 years, a job I loved, and I see that as another kind of art.”

Anne Wylemans, who makes her home in Ingleside, was one of the featured artists on the recent South Dundas Art and Studio Tour and Sale held on Saturday, August 19.

This was her first showing in South Dundas: she exhibited her work in the Morrisburg studio of fellow artist MiSun Kim-Hunter.

“It was wonderful to come here,” Anne said. “I met so many interesting people, talked to some of them about their art. The whole experience inspires me.”

Anne is a self-taught artist, but her family background gave her a firm grounding in the fundamentals and principles of artistic expression.

“In Holland, where I was raised, my mother was a gifted artist, a sculptor and a painter. I learned my art skills from her, and she absolutely encouraged my arts leanings.”

Following her emigration to Canada when she was 26, Anne raised a family, finding time to dedicate to her art was more limited for a few years.

“But I did as many things related to art as I could. In Holland I worked as a store window designer. In Canada I became a make-up artist.”

However, in the last 20 years, she has been able to focus on her art, exploring the many themes and ideas that interest her.

She is very firm about her medium of choice.

“Acrylics definitely. I paint using a palette knife: in fact I have an extensive collection of knives of all sizes. I love the ability to manipulate the paint the knife gives me, and I love the speed of drying. I tend to be impatient with oils,” Anne added, laughing.

She has experimented with other mediums, and taken many courses and workshops.

“I like to involve change and new ideas in my art, but my focus remains on acrylics.”

She is intensely interested in nature, in painting trees, often from the perspective of looking up through the branches. She is intrigued by stone and rock sculptures.

A theme that deeply fascinates her, one reflected in the paintings she brought to the South Dundas Tour, is studies of Buddha.

A practitioner of yoga, Anne finds herself drawn to exploring, in paint, the Buddhas’ “peace and their calm. I create my paintings in many levels, finding that great depth and peace.”

She does sometimes intertwine figures into a painting (The Tango Dancers), “but the background is always palette, and the figures come out of that.”

She has done some commissions from photographs, but “I prefer to do my own photography, make my own compositions. I go out into nature and photograph a lot: my ideas for paintings come out of some of these shots,” which then take form in her studio.

Anne is an active member of the O.B.O. (Our Beautiful Obsession) a group of artists based in Cornwall. O.B.O. holds exhibitions twice a year. The artists hold regular gatherings where “we talk art and inspire each other. We’re all very unique; each of us has a special approach to art.”

Anne has given workshops at the O.B.O. studios. She also works with kids in a program at the Ingleside Library. “I love their excitement: they have no barriers,” she said.

Her work has been shown in Holland, in Cornwall and in Kingston. She also loves to place her pieces in intimate coffee shops and salons,  “even my dentist’s office,” she laughed.

For artist Anne, art is a means of self-expression, a way to explore the many faces of creativity.

“My art,” she said, “comes from my heart.”

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