(Free-Press-Release.com) April 22, 2010 — The ability to paint beautiful works of art is a journey that can sometimes take a lifetime. Art is, after all, an inevitable result of growth. And a work of art is never a finality, but always the suggestion of more to come. It reveals the impression of its creator who is engaged in living fully, and sensitively expressing the messages that speak to the soul. Art is the manifestation of living deeply, and a reflection of that depth. The paintings of artist Annie Horkan speak to the quality of growth, and a passion for beauty.
Studio Bliss was created back in 1992 when the artist was living in her native home of Virginia. She discovered that her farm was at one time an area called Bliss, Virginia, and part of the Free State that offered refuge to escaping slaves. Thus her studio was named. Along the way, Horkan would begin to integrate the spiritual connotation associated with bliss. Inspired by the late Joseph Campbell, the artist adopted his words of wisdom to “follow your bliss” as her mantra for both living and painting.
Horkan began painting in 1977 after changing her major from Environmental Science to Fine Art at the University of Virginia. The change was a choice enforced upon her after flunking calculus, a necessary requirement for her major, for the third time. She wandered over to the Art department to console with a friend, jumped into a watercolor class, picked up a brush and has never put it down after the teacher used her painting as a good example. Though she had been encouraged several years earlier by one of the region’s most important post-war sculptors, Anne Truitt, to pursue her gift as a colorist, Horkan’s father discouraged an art career. It would be years later before her father acknowledged her talent and chosen path.
Horkan’s early work embodies a deep emotional connection to the simplicity and beauty found in daily life. Her media for these innocent, spontaneous and color filled expressions is acrylic on paper. Her works on paper clearly reveal her ability to be joyfully present. But Horkan’s later work becomes a testimony to another more complex side. The quality of her growth results in a powerful combination of her innate sensitivity to natural beauty, years of technical refinement and a visionary’s quest for truth and a higher order of understanding. Her push into a new, challenging, visionary territory followed a pivotal trip to Peru where she studied and traveled with a shaman, and opened to a new inner dimension. She was no longer dependent upon merely the external world for her inspiration, but now could journey into the depths of the internal realms for new vision. Her newest paintings represent a stunning combination of her ability to be fully present in her observations while infusing them with transcendent vision.
Whether Horkan is embodying the artistic tradition of temporal gaze in joyfully creating a floral vision of just cut flowers, or diving deep into an inner vision full of mystery, her paintings consistently present a remarkable use of color. She admits she is completely obsessed with color. ” Color is life,” she says, and remarks it is what gets her out of bed in the morning. But lately, she has taken a break from painting to completely rebuild both of her art websites. She has also spent much of this last year studying and learning internet marketing as a means to bring her sites back to life with more exposure. Her goal is to sell primarily from her sites as an alternative to the slow economy, and the crunch on many art galleries. She also hopes to help other artists utilize the powerful marketing tool of the internet.
Both of her sites, studioblissart.com and floorcloths.com, have been rebuilt in easy to navigate WordPress formats. All of her images are individual posts allowing for each image to stand alone with bold size and crisp, clear color. The studiobliss site presents over 200 original paintings, all of them available as giclée prints on either paper or canvas. Most of the images on the site represent her work from the last twenty years. Horkan says she has a large body of early work that dates back to 1977 that may get added to the site in the future. She is excited about the new addition to this site with her Blissfull Blog. She invites you to join her newsletter, and post comments on her blog.
Horkan has been painting canvas rugs, also known as floorcloths, since 1990. Her site has had a first page Google presence for many years. The site presents a large collection of diverse and imaginative designs to suit everyone. Floorcloths combine both art and function. Horkan gets to exercise her love for both color and design in their creation, and provide a practical, yet artistic, solution for the home. They are easy care, hypo-allergenic, extremely durable and offer unlimited versatile use in the home. Horkan does not believe floorcloths have hit the big time yet. She says there are so many consumers out there who have never heard of them nor ever seen them. It is just a matter of getting the word out about these artful, practical and versatile solutions for the home before they could become a hot, new trend.
Studio Bliss is located in the beautiful, magical high desert of New Mexico outside Santa Fe, the city different. Horkan relocated here 13 years ago, but still visits Virginia regularly. Like many artists who live here, she was drawn by the exquisite light and the mystery in this land of enchantment. She travels frequently, especially down to the ocean for a much needed change from the dry desert. But when she is not traveling, she is working. She hears the words of Anne Truitt, her most influential teacher, echoing from the past, ” The most demanding part as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one’s own intimate sensitivity.” Painting along that nerve is not always easy. Horkan persists, a prolific painter, confident and passionate with an astounding gift for color. To see art, to appreciate art, to understand art, to love art is to journey with the artist on their mysterious and devoted path of growth and the promise of more to come.
Annie Horkan has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, owned and operated three art galleries and was chosen in 2000 as one of eighty artists for The New Mexico Millennium Art Collection book. She is now dedicated to her art career full time.