By Linda Dillman
Imagine walking into a sunlit-filled studio surrounded by a rainbow of markers, paint, paper and canvases as sunflowers dance overhead and soft classical music plays in the background.
Outside, nature paints its own masterpiece against blue skies with birds singing their own symphonies. Periodically, a train adds a clickety-clack beat as it rolls past on nearby tracks.
This is the creative center for Ann Alexander, part time server at the Wigwam in Canal Winchester for her in-laws and owners Mark and Angela Savino, but full time artist-in-residence in her own Carroll studio.
Alexander’s art work can be found around Canal Winchester, from the three paintings gracing the walls of the diner to the lettering on the wall on the cupcake shop across the street. Her bright colorful creations are also on display at CornerSmiths.
“I can’t remember a time when art wasn’t my passion,” said Alexander as she sat at an easel framed by a yellow burst of flowers in acrylic paint. “My parents claim I was drawing in my high chair and I believe them. Being an artist is all I ever wanted to be.”
In a nearby cabinet, little flower fairy dolls with delicate faces coaxed out of Sculpey clay and hand painted with serene expressions await children and collectors. Their bodies filled with sweet-scented lavender.
Alexander said her dream is to get the little dolls into the hands of children fighting cancer and other illnesses.
“I am inspired by all that God has created in nature and most especially flowers,” said Alexander when asked about her favorite subjects to paint. “He never ceases to amaze me when I study each individual one. In my own work, I enjoy the challenge of re-creating realistic representations of them, but most of the time I like to take a more whimsical approach. It is great fun to be free to create my very own flowers and worlds.”
The artistic mediums she works with vary in accordance with the art she is creating. Her favorites include watercolor, pen and ink, pastels, scratch art and paper from her collection of handmade sheets.
Edible art creations occupied her time for the past seven to eight years with her cake business, Queen Anne’s Lace Cakes, named after her favorite wildflower. While she still creates wedding cakes for family members, she backed away from baking this year to fully focus on her art.
“I paint on canvas with acrylics most often because they are fast drying as opposed to oils, which can take weeks,” said Alexander. “Nothing compares with oils, though, in creaminess, glazing and depth, but there is no end to the types of media I enjoy.”
Last year, she taught basic art to children and adults at Wagnalls Memorial.
“I love teaching and I really love making art,” said Alexander. “I don’t know what direction God is taking me right now, but for the time being, I am focusing on creating my own art.”
Baskets and boxes of completed works line the floor and shelves of her studio as Alexander prepares for the upcoming festival and market seasons. She can be found later this year at the Canal Winchester Art Stroll in May, Vintage and Made Market in Lancaster and the annual family-friendly Hippie Fest in Logan in August.