Watercolorist Annie Glacken ignores the clock when she works in her Kannapolis studio, a former tack room.
It’s a peaceful spot where she can gaze through north-facing windows to watch a neighbor’s animals graze in the pasture. Often she is startled when Greg, her husband, walks to the barn in the dark while shining a flashlight.
“I could paint for hours and hours and lose track of time because it’s such a joy,” Glacken said.
Once she turns on instrumental music and begins painting scenes of flowers and landscapes, Glacken’s in her zone.
“Music helps me get out of the left, analytical side of my brain and into the right side, which helps the creative process,” she said.
For someone who did not pick up a brush for 16 years, Glacken has been busy since returning to painting in 2007. She’s a member of Mooresville Arts, the Cabarrus Art Guild, High Country Watercolor Society and Watercolor Society of North Carolina.
Glacken began painting with acrylics and oils, and then dabbled with watercolors for a couple of years. When the watercolorist became serious about her work, she took lessons from a prominent Virginia artist, but that encounter had disastrous effects.
“He was a good artist, but not a great teacher,” Glacken said.
She was so discouraged she quit painting from 1991 to 2007. But an invitation from church friends to meet and paint for fun whetted Glacken’s desire to pick up a brush: “That led me to once again start taking some workshops and enjoying painting.”
Now she exhibits and sells her work. She’s branched out into prints and cards with inspirational scripture that are carried at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte.
“Personally, I’m a Christian. I like to glorify God and bring people’s attention to the beauty of creation,” Glacken said.
Although she’s worked with other mediums, the artist prefers watercolors. She loves the spontaneity of the paint: “It has a luminosity that other mediums don’t have.”
The reflection of light is evident in “Autumn Leaves and Berries,” which was chosen for the Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s annual traveling exhibit. It’s on display at the Mooresville Depot through Jan. 15.
Along with watercolorists throughout the state, Glacken submitted a painting for the 2014 annual juried exhibit of the Watercolor Society of North Carolina. “Autumn Leaves and Berries” was one of 60 pieces selected by Judge Eric Weigardt for the society’s fall meeting and show at Barton College, in Wilson.
Glacken has lost track of the many layers of paint she used to achieve depth and a variation of color in the leaves. To develop a speckled look, she spattered paint into the wet wash.
Don’t expect to see soft pastels in Glacken’s art that are typical of many watercolor paintings: “I love deep, bold color. I’m not a pastel type of watercolor artist. So I guess I have adapted watercolors to my style by using a lot of bold color.”
Watercolors are Glacken’s serious work. When she needs down-time, she turns to visual journaling where she’s free to experiment and play with words and pictures.
“I guess I wanted to have a little book visualizing my everyday life. I feel like the visual journals will be a nice legacy to pass down to my children and grandchildren,” Glacken said.
But the artist has found another outlet for documenting life’s moments. She volunteers at Dove’s Nest, a Charlotte residential Christian Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation program for women. Through journaling, Glacken helps residents create designs and record inspirational and personal thoughts.
Glacken also teaches art to adults and home-schooled students in grades five through 12. Young children are creative and delight in drawing pictures much like Glacken did in her childhood. Her goal is to encourage emerging artists to develop their individual styles.
She doesn’t want anyone else to walk away from painting for 16 years.