Annie Stegg Gerard’s artwork embodies magic and mythology while the compositions she creates nod to her affection for the Rococo art movement. Women are often depicted adorned with flowing dresses, cavorting with animals amid impeccably painted backgrounds. Through her art, Annie has a way of turning mundane creatures into the most beautiful specimens. Schools of fish become glowing orbs of light, toads are crowned royalty, and dragons turn into miniature house pets.
Annie creates mesmerizing new worlds, and her oil painting techniques create a vivid sense of realism. Read on to discover how folklore, mythology and a love of all things Rococo have shaped Annie Stegg Gerard’s artwork.
Don’t miss her solo exhibition “Voices of Spring” at Haven Gallery.
“Lilaia was the naiad nymph of freshwater springs and fountains. She was the daughter of the local river, Cephissus.”
I notice a recurring theme of your work involves fish and the water, what significance do these elements have?
Water has always been a symbol of mystery and the unknown. I love to think about what lurks in the deep depths. When I was younger, I lived in a house that had a stream in the backyard. An entire world could exist under a rock. Something that was hidden until I came to uncover it. There were so many questions and so much mystery! It was amazing how something small, like a rainstorm, would change everything. The water would rise and, now suddenly, there is a new world to explore.
Annie has a special love for 18th century Rococo painters who have had a large influence on her own method. She finds inspiration in their imagination, and the dreamlike palette and lively brushwork that combine to create a wonderful atmosphere of enchantment. She believes that they sought to transport us to different worlds and fantastic places through their works.
I also noticed that you paint predominantly female figures, what significance does this have?
For me, my artwork represents a voice. And the voice I know best comes from my own experiences and narrative.
I read on your website that you are influenced by the 18th century Rococo painters, do you have any favorite artists from that time period?
The works of François Boucher are a huge inspiration to me. His passionate depictions of mythology, in particular, have had a great influence on my own work. I think what stands out the most to me is the iconic use of color found in his paintings.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s beautiful glowing figures in lush environments have always had a place in my heart as well. His work blends reality and fantasy, set in intricately painted natural landscapes so flawlessly.
“Keto was the naiad nymph who’s name means “sea monster” in ancient Greek. She was loved by the sun-god Helios.”
I also read that you are influenced by myths and folklore; do you have a particular favorite?
Fairy tales and folklore are the tales that help shape how we see the world, and act as a reflection of a different time. Through these stories we can explore different cultures as well as ourselves. Little Tiny (or Thumbelina) by Hans Christian Andersen is one in particular that I find myself revisiting often.
How long does it take you to complete a painting?
There are many factors that will determine how quickly a painting is completed. Because the dry times of oil paints are influenced by the atmosphere, I tend to work on several paintings at once and rotate between them as they are drying. The size of the painting, how many figures are involved, and most importantly, how excited I am about the project, all play a major role as well. I tend to measure time on a painting by layers of paint instead of minutes, and try to get between 15-30 layers on a painting before calling it complete.
What do you love most about creating art?
I love having quiet time to myself for reflection and discovery. The time I spend painting is how I center myself. It’s a visual representation of my current thoughts and feelings. When I look at one of my paintings, I can remember what was happening in my life at the time I was creating it. The amalgamation of invisible thoughts and feelings that went into this one tangible object. For me, art is how I communicate to the world.
There are anywhere between 15 and 30 layers on Annie Stegg Gerard’s paintings. The effect provides depth and a fascinating level of realism.