Welcome to my blog about art and design. Get inspired for your next project and see what I'm working on and teaching about right now.


Painting a mural for ARTPRIZE 2012

Brenda Sipe and I decided to team up for ARTPRIZE 2012 and collaborate on a mural. Our concept evolved over the course of the creative process but we started with the idea of what it must feel like to be a bird. SOARING became a landscape seen from the sky with recognizable elements from the West Michigan area. The style was realism mixed with expressionism and we decided to work together across the entire mural painting and repainting as we discussed the outcome.

 Pastel concept sketches of birds and landscape

 We worked hard at finding the best venue in the city center area. Since Brenda had exhibited at the Amway in the past they were interested and suggested we put a mural on the outside of the building. This had never been done before and we jumped at the chance. The only catch was they wanted us to attach our mural without drilling into the building. No screws or nails could penetrate the building surface and we were required to leave it exactly as we found it.

Cost was an issue now since we were not going to be painting our mural directly onto the surface. We had to purchase materials to paint on and the structure to hold our mural in place. We also decided to attach lighting overhead since there wasn't adequate lighting at night. This was no small feat since the mural ended up being almost 12 feet high and 37 feet wide. Kickstarter looked like the best option to help us raise funds. Our Kickstarter page shows what we did and how it worked. If you go there click on the "updates" tab to see photos and progress reports.

Brenda connected with a great place to use as our temporary studio. It was an empty store in a strip mall. The only requirement was leaving the building the same as we found it and paying about $300 for utilities. We spent as much time there as possible and worked at all hours for two months.  We put posters in the windows and let passersby stop in and check on our progress. Terry and Wenday Brennan also shared our space for a few weeks. They came all the way from South Carolina to participate in ARTPRIZE.

We came up with a plan to make our mural look like a floating series of panels. Six large columns were used as the base of the structure from the ground up to a 13 foot overhang. The columns were square and telescoped out to create tension which held them in place. We then attached another dimensioned structure made of 2 x 4s. This structure created the dimensions needed for the mural panels. The mural was painted on 16 different panels and there were about 4 different levels of dimension when completed.

The first brush strokes by Brenda

I worked no the hand holding the nest.

Brenda and I seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Snowy Egrets fly over the river.

Close to finished and still have paint left. We went through many bottles and tubes and jars of acrylic.

SOARING on display at ARTPRIZE 2012

Casting the face of FACE ME for ArtPrize

We're casting the face and hands today. Dan, my son, is the model and one of his little girls, Esther, is on the scene. His wife, Miriam, is videotaping. 
Tomorrow I build the frame for the the face and hands and work on adjoining them to the metal body.

Dan, my son is modeling for the face of FACE ME and his daughter and I are talking about it. She doesn't like the way he is looking right now.

Welding the joints for ArtPrize sculpture, FACE ME

The face isn't ready today but you can see the arms taking shape. Look at how they move!
The frame and casting of the face will start this week so for sure you will see something on Saturday.

Getting your name on FACE ME for ArtPrize

Everyone that pledges even a dollar gets their name on the sculpture. This is a new option that I am adding to the backer rewards. 
If you would like to have a business name, website, or loved one's name that's fine too. Once the fund raising campaign is finished I will contact you to get your info. 
Even if the project is not fully funded (in which case you get your money back and I get nothing) you will still get your preferred name on FACE ME. That's because I want everyone that is cheering me on to be recognized. 
The sculpture FACE ME is on track to be finished and exhibited at ArtPrize whether the Kickstarter Campaign is successful or not so be assured that you will get to see the sculpture live at ArtPrize this year!!
So far this is a list of names that are supporting FACE ME:
Paula Bjorlie, Cheri Antozak, Prairieside.com, Bernadette Veenstra, Laura Harmon, Nicole G., Joan Raveling, Sherri Jason, Crawford Paul, Bridgecourt.com, Pearson Photography, A Children's Crusade, Nathan Donahue, Joshua Evans, Paul Evans, Julie Evans, Melching Demolition; Doug, Nick, Brock, Chris, Keller Ford; Drew, Jack's Service, Northend Transmission; Dave Sherd, Doug Dixon, Harrison Veenstra, Evelyn Townsend, Maggie Donahue, and tons of people who "Like" FACE ME on Facebook.
Anybody missed? Let me know right away! Want to help? Please comment on ~ http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/annadonahue/face-me-artbeing-kinetic-sculpture-touch-to-begin/

ArtPrize skeleton, FACE ME; Artbeing

The head which will just be a face is not going on for awhile. Until then I think I'll add a temporary mask. Next up is some work on the arms and working on the joints.

HOT CAT! Don't worry, the forge is not fired up yet.
Did you see how beautiful the sky looked today? Blue in Michigan!! Breezy and 70s. Loved being outside working on the sculpture.
The skeleton is almost finished and the fine work will start this week. There's all kinds of thin metal stripping that will be wound around the skeleton to give it life.