Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Feature: Annie Strack

#92 original watercolor by Annie Strack
Hi Everyone,

It's Friday!!!  WooooHooooo!  Today I'm introducing another fabulous Friday Feature, Annie Strack.  I have not met Annie in person but if I ever come across her I might just talk her ear off.  She has accomplished so many things that I want to be doing with my career.  Her paintings are beautiful, her studio is super organized (I didn't think artists could be organized), and  she writes for art magazines and has her own DVD series.  So enjoy Annie's interview, I think you will all be inspired.

To see more of Annie's work  Check out her website, her blog,
You can read articles by Annie at Art Calendar Magazine
She's also on twitter and facebook

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?
I had a pretty typical start. I studied art in school, and then I went out and got a “real” job in hotel and restaurant management. Painting was my hobby for a few decades, and then I changed careers in the late 90’s and became a full time professional artist. I had great sales from galleries right off the bat, and I supplemented that by doing commercial artwork for a while. Between selling originals and prints, teaching classes and workshops, writing for art magazines, and royalties from my DVDs, I manage to eke out a comfortable living and have fun while I’m at it.

Bali Beach original watercolor by Annie Strack
Where were you born? I’m originally from Naples, Florida, and I grew up on the beach. My husband is with the National Park Service, so we’ve lived in and traveled to National Parks all over the United States and it’s territories.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?
I feel most at home when I’m in the South Pacific or the Caribbean. Any of the tropical islands will do.
Woody original watercolor by Annie Strack

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
I love to paint seascapes. Anything with water – it’s my ‘happy place,’ so when I’ painting a beach scene or a seascape, I’m taking a little vacation trip to my happy place. I really need it now because I’m currently living in Philadelphia, and it’s not exactly Tahiti up here!

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 
I paint in the studio using reference photos that I shoot during my travels, and I also paint en plein air. For watercolors, I employ the value method of painting, which is to paint in layers starting with all the lightest values first, then layer on the middle values, and then layer the darker values on top of that, and so on. It’s a series of layered washes and glazes to get to the colors and values that make up my finished paintings. I often post my step-by-step painting process with photos and descriptions on my blog to demonstrate my how my paintings evolve. It’s a very traditional process for painting with watercolors, and it’s a lot easier than it sounds. For oils and acrylics, my method is alla prima when I’m painting en plein air, but if I’m using them in the studio then I tend to take more time and paint a complimentary underpainting, first.
Day Star original watercolor by Annie Strack
 Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
I have to have a warm and a cool of each primary. I’m not real picky about the yellows and the reds, but when it comes to blues, I start to lose control. I have to have payne’s grey, indigo, cobalt, cerulean, and ultramarine blue. And I can’t resist adding turquoise, helio, viridian, and prussian blue to my palette – even when I don’t need them! I also can’t resist buying new tubes of blue that I haven’t tried before. Right now I have all Rembrandt brand paints on my palette – and I love them!

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My friends are my biggest inspiration. Don’t get me wrong – I love strolling through museums and thumbing through thick coffee table books filled with the paintings of the masters.  But I get more inspiration from seeing what new and exciting trends are being set by the artists living and working around me.

What have been some of your crowning achievements?
I’ve earned Signature Status in several societies including the prestigious International Society of Marine Painters, but the one that means the most to me is the designation I received as an official authorized artist in the Coast Guard Artist Program. I’m also honored to have been invited by Canson and Royal Talens to participate in their Art Ambassador program, which is an elite team made up of the most influential master artists in North America. I’m currently working on a series of instructional DVDs, and I’m pleased that my first one has been picked up for broadcast by 115 television stations around the world.
Red Dingy original watercolor by Annie Strack
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
I want to finish remodeling the house I’m currently living in, start construction on my retirement home, take another trip around Asia, finish my writing my second book about art business and marketing, and prepare the groundwork for a small foundation that I want to create to fund continuing education scholarships for art teachers.

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
You don’t have to personally do every single business related job or task. Do your art, and hire other people to do the other stuff.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Don’t skimp on art supplies - Only use the best materials in your art.

Sailboats at Sundown original watercolor by Annie Strack

Chocolate or vanilla?  Chocolate AND vanilla

Your dream vacation spot?  I love the beaches and resorts on the island of St John the most.

Book or movie? Movie.

Favorite author?  Jane Austin.

Favorite movie?   I haven’t seen it yet, but heard great reviews for ‘Abe Lincoln – Vampire Hunter’ – looking forward to seeing that one!

Romance or comedy?  Comedy

Favorite dessert?  Marie Calendar’s Chocolate Satin Pie.

Night owl or morning person? Night owl.

Thank you Annie for your wonderful interview.



  1. Wonderful Interview, Carrie! Annie Strack is incredibly talented..Her work is outstanding!

  2. There's no way you could miss with me this one, Carrie... I started my working life as a Shipwright/boat builder and love 'building' boats on paper myself. Annie's stuff is terrific isn't it? She's done one of a Trawler (fishing boat) which is a bit rusty here and there ... brilliant!

    Thank you, Carrie, and thank you and congratulations, Annie

  3. Thanks for the intro, Carrie. Annie's work is lovely and it's neat to know she's from my neck of the woods - Naples.
    Enjoy your weekend! xx

  4. What a talented lady! She paints water that I could almost swim in! :0)