We had the good fortune of connecting with Anne Kullaf and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anne, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I create large scale original oil paintings of the Western landscape designed to hang in contemporary mountain homes. My clients commission me to paint some of their favorite places, and I approach each project as a collaboration. I want the paintings to bring them joy every time they look at them, so I take special care to understand what they are looking for at the start of the project. I ask questions like “why is the place you want me to paint special to you?”, and “what colors appeal to you?” and “where will this painting hang in your home?” Their answers allow me to create something that is visually inspiring to them, something they can see every day and find something new each time they look at it.

While other artists may find collaboration limiting to their creativity, I actually love the challenge of capturing the mood and sensibilities my clients desire. I put a lot of energy and expression into my work, and clients who hire me know that they are going to get a highly expressive, richly textured end result that is unique and fresh. They know that their role is to provide me with the information I need to capture their vision, once they’ve done that, it is my role to bring that vision to life on canvas.

I also choose to work with clients who truly understand the creative process and who trust that I will use my artistic skills to translate the visual message they want to convey. I’m not afraid to walk away from a project if I don’t think it is the right fit for me, or if a client seems like they wish to dictate every stroke I put on the canvas. A commissioned painting is a collaboration, the artist and client have to be able to work together seamlessly allowing one another to fulfill their roles in the process, otherwise neither’s vision can be fully realized.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Drawing and painting have always been my favorite things to do. I was never going to be anything other than an artist! My earliest memories are of drawing and coloring with colored pencils, crayons, watercolor sets, and even oil paints when I got to be a little older. Drawing has always come naturally to me, I just look at the subject and make the shapes on paper, it’s actually a very meditative yet invigorating experience for me to create art.

I studied both graphic design and fine art in college, along with a concentration in art history. I love looking at art, all sorts, and by studying art history, it opened up all the possibilities of ways to be expressive. As a child and even as a teenager, I would look at something and try to make it look just like it looked in real life. Over time, that migrated to using the subject as a departure point and then simply trying to capture the essence of it with as few strokes as possible. My work these days is very gesturally precise–it isn’t realistic in the sense of photorealism, but it is based on accurate drawing in terms of perspective, proportion, and values, and it always has balanced color harmony and composition. I like to think of it as a 50-50 mix of abstraction and realism. I am happy with how my work has evolved, and I discover new things all the time, I think it is important to keep growing creatively in order to keep the work looking fresh.

I have been financially supporting myself fully as a professional artist for over 25 years. Creating the work is the easy part, marketing, staying within budget, and keeping a stream of work flowing is where the challenge lies. I’ve lived most of my life on the East Coast, most recently in Philadelphia where I primarily painted and exhibited urban landscapes. I also spent a lot of time painting and exhibiting in New York City where I was fortunate to have been selected as a Painter-in-Residence at Bryant Park, and as a participant in the Metropolitan Museum’s Copyist Program.

Now that I am living in Colorado, I have found inspiration in the western landscape and a strong market for my large scale landscapes. I also enjoy teaching and have had wonderful opportunities teaching at venues such as the Princeton University Art Museum, Edward Hopper House, and in France and Italy where I have conducted plein air painting workshops.

So all in all, I have had a very colorful career and I look forward to continuing this chapter of it painting the Rocky Mountains and beyond, perhaps expanding all way to the west coast in the near future.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love visiting all of the parks and open spaces of Boulder. I love painting at Chautauqua, as well as at NCAR, Betasso and some of the smaller, lesser known spots in the area. Nederland is fun for walking around the town, and whenever I’m up there I will head over to Caribou Ranch Open Space or Mud Lake for the beautiful views and inspiring scenery. I always have a kit of watercolor paints or pencils with me so I can sketch. Those sketches are the inspiration for my larger works that I create in my studio, they often play a big role in composing the large commission paintings that I paint for my clients. Often times, a client will see a small study and ask “can you do something like that really big?” Of course! That’s what the studies are for, to work out the idea on a small scale so that when I need to paint it much larger, I already have a good understanding of the subject, it’s colors, and what makes it unique.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my parents. They always encouraged me to pursue my creative path, and to be true to myself and remain authentic in every way. They taught me to work hard, have a plan, and to always put forth my best effort in whatever endeavors I chose to pursue. I’m thankful for the trust and support they provided when I was growing up.


Website: www.kullaf.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kullaf/

Twitter: @akullaf

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anne.Kullaf.Paintings

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