Ann Drosendahl Phoenix Arizona artist.

Artist Spotlight:

Ann Drosendahl:

Making a Large Impression 
Story by Mark Greenawalt,©2005

Originally published in Contact Magazine, (December 2005)

For Ann Drosendahl, art is a way of life. “If I were to stop painting,” she confesses, “it would be like cutting out a major, life-giving organ. It’s a part of how I balance myself, keep my sanity.” Yet after extensively developing and refining her art techniques at Arizona State University, the priorities of life stepped in and distanced her from her craft for nearly 20 years. Shortly after the birth of the first of her two sons, she stepped back in the creative pool, revived her passion to create and has since managed to balance the chores of motherhood, the demands of a full-time job testing software and her insatiable passion for painting.

On her website, the tag-line reads: “Ann Drosendahl – Painter of Large Paintings.” This is a straightforward way to describe her style of painting, which is demonstrated on grand-scale canvases with a variety of oils. In order to save money, she stretches many of these canvases herself. This allows her to paint on whatever size surface she desires, rather than limiting her to conventional-size commercial canvases. Although she says creating her own canvases gives her freedom, she admits constructing these special places can be more time-consuming than painting on them. “I’ve tried painting on different mediums (particle board, etc) and smaller,” she explains. “It just doesn’t work. I like the give of canvas and the expansiveness of the larger size.”

When pressed for a description of her style, she responds it is “an abstract combination of expression and impression.” The common thread among her pieces is the explosive use of color. “I love color, and what finds its way into my paintings are sometimes moods, sometimes impressions gleaned when hiking. Color is one of the broadest, most versatile mediums of expression - more vast and varied than words,” she continues “Perhaps only music comes close as a means of expression.”

The subjects in her paintings, however, are left to interpretation. Sometimes the titles hint at what Drosendahl might see, but art enthusiasts are welcome to draw their own conclusions. For example, her 56” by 76” painting Fire on the Mountain, conjures up a different definition from all who view it. Whether clashing vibrant colors with harsh contrasts or softly blending demure colors with blurred boundaries, she paints those dreams harbored on the edge of memory, but just beyond the reach of the mind.

Several years ago, gallery owner Scott Sanders invited her to show at The Paper Heart. Since then, her work has been displayed in venues such as the Arizona State Fair and the Phoenix Center. In November, visitors to The Paper Heart were treated to a solo exhibition of Drosendahl’s portfolio, a rare opportunity to see many of her larger-than-life pieces under one roof. She is thrilled to have her own show saying, “I think I am just beginning to mature as an artist.” 

This article can also be found on-line at 
Ann Drosendahl's official website is 

Mark Greenawalt