My name is Anna Magruder and I am an oil painter and artist from Portland, Oregon. I offer high-quality prints of my artwork on Etsy.
I am very much inspired by almost all things vintage. I am intrigued by the uniqueness of a particular item and the visual aesthetic of a bygone era. For me, thrift store finds and antique treasures often reveal interesting stories, as do the faces in old found photos. Currently, I am obsessed with faces and the stories behind them. I collect old yearbooks to have a time capsule of the hair and clothing styles of different eras.
I start a painting by finding a photo that inspires me. I especially like black and white photos that I can reinterpret with my own colors. I begin with a sketch on tracing paper, refining it until I have an image I am pleased with. The next step is typically an underpainting of red or burnt sienna on canvas, then I transfer the image and start filling in colors and shading. I allow the painting to morph as needed. I am often pleasantly surprised by the story that presents itself when I am finished.
I think people are often drawn to the rich colors and ambiguous moods I create. While I do some realism, I very much enjoy exaggerating features slightly to enhance the mood of a portrait. Using unexpected animals can also create a more surreal look. I like to allow room for the viewer to create their own stories for the subjects.
Recently, a client commissioned me to paint a portrait based on a photograph of his deceased grandmother. In hearing him speak of her, I could sense the love and awe he had for her. The photo he presented was of a stylish seated woman reading a newspaper. It was easy to be inspired by this woman, and I took a chance and gave her a little friend in the form of a silver fox draped over the shoulder of her fur coat.
I took the liberty of changing the newspaper in her lap to a “Silver Screen” magazine from the 1940s and added a 40s-inspired sparrow print wallpaper design behind her. I love the way her face and blonde hair is reflected in the starlet’s face on the magazine cover. The client loves it, and I loved it enough to include it in my Etsy shop as a print called “Helen and the Silver Fox.”
When someone connects to my art – whether they see an aspect of themselves or a loved one in the figures, or it touches them in a way that makes them pause and acknowledge a feeling in themselves – I am inspired. That appreciation creates a bridge between us and I feel a kinship and connection to that person. I can’t imagine a better way to satisfy my need to share with others than through my art.
I find myself drawn to Etsy artists and artisans who are also turning their visions into reality. It’s an amazing source of inspiration along with an opportunity to reach a broader audience than I ever imagined. I love the fact that it’s an equal-opportunity marketplace for anyone who wants to share their passion with the world.
All photographs by Havilah Savage of Dear Machine.