Anna left quite an impression on almost everyone after spending four years at Hillsdale. As talented as she is kind and beautiful, Anna and her twin, Emily, each demonstrated rather amazing talents as students. While Emily wowed all with the piano, her sister did the same with her painting.
When long-time and beloved parish priest, Father Tom Butler, departed from St. Anthony’s, his friends hired Anna to paint his portrait. The work, as seen below, is simply stunning. Though not Catholic herself, Anna “got” the essence of Catholicism and the nature of the priesthood. Just look at the detail on the watch as Father Tom consecrates the bread.
Again, though I don’t know necessarily how to explain what I like, I do know it. And, looking at the portrait of Father Tom, I can verify that Anna captured his very being, his character, his soul. Her use of colors, shades, and shadow astound me.
I’m not alone in admiring her work. Anna has won numerous awards, taught a variety of classes, and is sought after as a portrait artist. She describes her own art:
“My work covers a wide variety of subjects, but what remains consistent throughout is a deep love for beauty, especially as revealed by the human face. I am still young, and know little of human experience or tragedy…but when I paint, I feel my brightest hopes and deepest fears all at once. I feel connected to my subjects at a level that can only be obtained through the series of silent questions that take place during the creative process. I believe that human beings are created in the image of God. When I remember this principle, I’m reminded that a portrait is not really about me, but about the subject and its inherent connection to God’s likeness. Thus, my goal for every portrait is to draw out that facet which most reflects the Divine. In some small way, each portrait then becomes a picture of Him. My paintings are an expression of gratitude. They often depict men, women, or children in peaceful settings or places that evoke happiness. My art focuses on the enjoyment of life, and is permeated with a love for nature, music, and all things good. My style might be considered classical realism, which attempts to idealize the subject while preserving its true essence. I hope that whoever views my work finds their senses awakened as they respond to the use of color, light, and tangible subject matter. I am captivated by those things that go beyond the surface, and I hope to convey this deep and abiding interest to everyone who sees my work.”
Anna’s statement above is one of the finest statements of Christian Humanism I’ve ever encountered. And, true to her word, Anna’s art is deeply humane.
Originally from small-town Wisconsin, Anna and her husband migrated to Dallas after college. Avid outdoor enthusiasts and very much members of The Imaginative Conservative community, Anna and Steve are expecting their first child.
If you’re looking for the unusual and interesting “wow” gift for Christmas, think about a painting by Anna. Or, better yet, hire her to create a portrait. I’m sure that the value of Anna’s work will only skyrocket.
For more information on Anna and her stunning art, go to her official website.
Books related to the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.