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Meet Ann D. Croghan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann D. Croghan.

Hi Ann, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Art has been a part of my life since childhood. I spent my childhood doing art projects all the time. It didn’t matter what it was. I could be found drawing, painting, doing embroidery, sewing, or working with clay. I loved it all.

I was the kid who knew the names of all the colors in a set of 125 Crayola boxes. I have been fascinated with color ever since I saw my first crayons named red-orange and orange-red. Why did they look so different yet have similar names? This fascination with color has continued throughout my life manifesting itself in my pursuit of color in the paintings I create.

In high school, I studied accounting and secretarial skills, but my first love was always the art classes. I never planned to go off to college. I was out of high school five years when one day I decided my life needed a new direction. That day I told my mother I was going to college. I wasn’t sure what I was going to major in, but I was going no matter what. I of course took a painting class. Immediately I was home. I knew this was where I was supposed to be.

I enrolled in the BFA program for fine arts painting and drawing where I had an amazing professor and mentor that helped me grow and develop my artwork. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and went on to earn my Master of Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting and drawing from the University of Illinois – Champaign/Urbana.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
My original plan was to get my master’s degree, create artwork and teach higher education. Then I was caught up in the proverbial catch-22. To be hired as a teacher the requirement was for two years of teaching experience, but you can’t get two years of teaching experience without a job. I came up with what I thought was a perfect solution.

I decided to get experience by working in the adult education program. I fell in love with working with adult learners.

Many of the students had never picked up a paintbrush, some had backgrounds in fine arts, and others were told that they weren’t good enough to paint.

I love teaching students the foundations of art and they were like sponges and wanted to learn everything they could about painting. One of the things I love about teaching is that I get to explore all kinds of styles and techniques with my students and then go back to my own artwork in the style I like to paint. I can say I am one of the lucky ones – I am able to create artwork, teach others and inspire them to create artwork.

In the beginning, I worked full-time while teaching part-time. It was exhausting, I would be dead tired at the end of the “work” day but would immediately feel awake and ready to enjoy working with my students. Painting and teaching bring me energy! After doing this for seven years, I quit my full-time job.

I said. “I would have a full-time teaching job even if it meant I had to go to five different locations to get it.” Little did I know what the future would hold. I would make a full-time job out of a part-time position. This was a leap of faith since I only had a couple of classes scheduled when I quit.

I became a traveling instructor for 15 years with the community colleges teaching eleven classes a week at multiple locations in a day. Which led me to my decision to become totally self-employed. This was one of the best decisions that I ever made.

I am now a full-time artist and instructor teaching classes at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles Missouri where I was juried into a studio space in 2011. I have a beautiful double studio space where I can create, exhibit paintings, and teach classes.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Although I love art of all kinds, my primary medium is acrylic on canvas.

I use multiple layers of very thin glazes of colors in my lyrical abstract paintings. Layering one over the other to create depth of space and allow the light to dominate. I draw inspiration from nature, clouds, and the universe to express feelings of joy, peace, divine grace, and hope.

My main influences are the Impressionists. The colors and strokes of Monet, the fluidity of Turner, and the emotions of Van Gogh all inspire my artwork. I am also influenced by the paintings of the old masters such as Rembrandt who used beautiful fine detail and rich lights and darks.

A Quote by Wassily Kandinsky says so beautifully what I feel about my art “Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for color, and that you be a true poet. This last is essential.”

The colors in my work are what first catch the eye, but the lights and emotions that I create are what people stop to explore. I use the sky as my vehicle to express my relationship with God. After a storm when the light emanates from behind the clouds, I see this as God’s Grace.

Visitors who walk into my studio, feel the peace and calm of my paintings. Many have described my work as ethereal and emotionally evocative. I want my paintings to captivate the viewer in a positive way and to help them feel closer to the heavens.

My paintings have received many awards and honors in local, regional, national, international juried, and invitational exhibitions. My artwork is represented in many corporate and private collections.

I have been an art instructor for over thirty-five years, having taught classes at the St. Louis Artist Guild, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and at the St. Louis Community College – Florissant Valley, Forest Park, and Meramec campuses, as well as St. Charles Community College.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
The most essential quality is my perseverance and faith. I have taken so many leaps in my journey as an artist and an instructor. Quitting a full-time job to pursue my dreams of being an artist and instructor was truly a leap of faith.

I quit traditional employment not once but twice. When I made those leaps, I didn’t know how things were going to go when I stepped out on my own. I did know, to quote Field of Dreams, that “if you build it they will come.” I believed; I knew the students would come if I had the space.

One struggle that I have, and feel would be helpful to my continued success is self-marketing. My paintings have grown and developed over the years, but marketing is my nemesis. It’s so much more fun to create art than it is to market, I’d much rather spend my time having “fun” at work. I’m sure it’s that way for most artists. Self-promotion is key to success for an artist.

As a college art student, these subjects were not mentioned or promoted. I now see them as of great value. One thing I do when I meet a young artist is to tell them they need to take at least one class on marketing, web design, and accounting to help them grow with their art business. So many times, I have felt behind the eight ball with my knowledge about marketing.

I now have a website developed, and professional Facebook and Instagram account. I collaborated with a consultant who helped me to develop a marketing plan. Learning how to use social media to market my art, my teaching, and my passion. I now am creating these on my own.

It is still a struggle, but it all connects back to perseverance and faith to do what needs to be done.

Pricing:

  • Original acrylic paintings on canvas, varying sizes prices range from $475 – $7800
  • Orchid series – 11 different images of original pen and ink drawings of varying sizes prices range from $250 – $495
  • Giclee’s prints of original pen and ink drawings of the Orchid series range in size matted 5×7, 11×14 & 16×20 prices range from $25-$65
  • Shipping prices may vary depending on the size of the artwork and weight.

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Mary Van Winkle

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1 Comment

  1. Jeff Barsky

    June 28, 2022 at 12:37 am

    I’ve known Ann for many years. I am a fellow artist & have quite a story

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