About Anne Pilgrim

MY ART STORY, OR HOW I BECAME THE ARTIST I AM TODAY

As a young child, I began drawing and painting with great encouragement from my parents. In Guyana, at age 11, I attended art classes with the artist Marjorie Broodhagen who introduced me to water colours and oils, but which lasted only a little over a year as we moved inland. Years later, in Jamaica, I studied Art at both ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels, with excellent teachers. Applying to both the Jamaica School of Art and the Jamaica School of Music, I was accepted by both and decided to prioritise the guitar, as one’s fingers are at their most pliable when one is young. I thought that the art would somehow take care of itself.

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Life in Jamaica led to us feeling the need to leave and my mother decided to move back to her home country, Sweden, but not without my siblings and me. At 19, I could not conceive of life anywhere else, but finally, at age 20, I realised that our situation was not feasible and we left in 1977.

In Gothenburg, I attempted to make contact with their music academy and with the finest art school but found these options closed. Realising that I was a tiny fish in greater waters than I could measure, I buckled down, learned Swedish, moved to Stockholm, got a job and became gradually assimilated – with partner, children and a home to take care of.  Neither art nor music were any longer active components in my life, which was a great sorrow.

But in 1993 a friend persuaded me to do art classes for the Swedish artist, Curt Källman, founder of something called Vedic Art. It all seemed weird at the time, but I went and never turned back. Becoming a Vedic Art teacher in 1996, with Curt as my teacher, I taught a fair amount of classes myself over a period of a few years and I also began calling myself an artist. All I really wanted to do was to paint.

Continuing to do workshops with Curt, my art developed, as is to be expected when one practises. I had a few exhibitions over the years, but stopped as I found the process to be heavy alongside having a regular job (as a teacher). Something was missing.

Every summer, with a pause of about eight years, I go to Southern Öland to the workshops there. Painting together with 100-200 other artists is a special experience and lifts one’s creativity to new levels of expression – an absolute must! In the pause from Öland, something new came into my life. My sister reminded me of how I used to do line drawings, doodles, often in larger formats. She had found similar work on the Internet. I was introduced to doodling, zendoodling and multiple other techniques, but the deepest impression made on me was by Zentangle, a method created by Rick and Maria Thomas. My sister gave me a Zentangle box and that impulse lead to me going to Rhode Island to take a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) workshop in the summer of 2013.

Since 2016 I have returned to summer workshops at Öland. I have a small studio in my home, where I live with my partner and two boys from Afghanistan. I have also begun exhibiting again through Svenska konstgalleriet, Malmö.

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MY WORK

For me, Vedic Art and Zentangle are entirely compatible and completely in line with my form of expression and I find that my art has developed in leaps and bounds since I began combining them the way I do. Zentangle has become a part of my painting, and Vedic Art definitely affects the way I perform a Zentangle, or other drawing techniques.

Creating art has become even more of an exciting adventure, taking me along avenues and down paths that I didn’t know existed before. Each creation is a wonderful surprise. The only way to be able to say how I paint is to document each step along the way, which I sometimes do, just for the fun of it. It is the process that is the point in me wanting to create. More often than not, these days, I find even the result is profoundly interesting and exciting as I cannot say, “I did this myself”. It is evident to me that something is coming through me, that it has a life of its own, and that if I am to allow this expression to come through, I need to just jump in there and let it take me for the ride.

So, it is the diving in that is essential, and listening carefully to the impulses I receive. If I don’t listen, the work goes flat and “dies”. But it can come to life again if I begin listening again. Reviving “dead” paintings is often very satisfying so I seldom throw anything out, unless the throwing out is a necessary part of the process.

I find the greatest satisfaction with my paintings when I have a particular intention. My intentions can be on a broader scale, such as Invoking the Archangels. From that base, all the impulses that come are towards that intent and more often than not, I do a series based on one intention. On the other hand, my drawings are often entirely without a consciously formulated intention, which leaves the arena open to that which wants to be expressed through me. An example of this is when I enrolled to a workshop dedicated to Sophia. Simultaneously I began drawing a mandala, which, as it progressed had four crowns as a part of its motive. The drawing came to completion during the workshop, which included a symbolic crowning ritual for Sophia. I had no idea that this was on the agenda for the workshop.

My art: quality of the materials and the environment

When creating it is my intention to make the smallest environmental footprint possible and to use the best possible materials available to me.

Water, rags, sponges and paper towels

I use water sparingly, wiping off my brushes on rags before finally rinsing them. With sponges I use excess paint in other paintings where possible. Instead of rinsing the sponge, if it is of the cheaper kind, I discard it in a special bin for delivery to the recycling station. If I must rinse a sponge, I allow the contaminated water to settle before pouring it into a container destined for the recycling station. I rarely use paper towels when working with my art. The job is often much better done with rags from old sheets and t-shirts. Oftentimes the rags can become works of art themselves!

 

Palettes

My palettes are made by recycling yoghurt and milk cartons that are white on the inside. I simply cut the cartons apart, discarding the cap only. 

Paints and inks

For the most part I use only artist quality paints and inks with high pigment content. As my paints get used up, I try to replace them with products from companies that insure that their products live up to high standards regarding the environment. Just now in my box of paints you’ll find mostly Winsor&Newton, Liquitex, Golden, Sense by Veda and Källmans paints (tempera). [picture . I draw invariably with Sakura pens when drawing on paper. Any paint that is left over is allowed to dry and then placed in a container for delivery to the recycling station. 

Canvas and paper

I attempt increasingly to paint on surfaces that are of a high quality. Sometimes when the urge is there and I must paint or draw something, anything will do, and in these cases I take this into consideration when pricing my work. Sometimes, canvas of a lower quality is fun to use; at other times it is important that the surface is reliable.

Several of my most recent paintings have been done on Leonardo da Vinci canvas from Italy, museum quality with a very smooth finish. Other recent paintings have been done on heavy quality linen canvas, which offers a great surface for working with structure.

I draw and paint on paper hand made by Dalai Lamas monks. This paper measures 1 x 1 meter. It is thick and resilient and at the same time very gentle on my materials. I love using this paper. There is only a limited supply of it so I use it with great reverence. picture

I also paint on banana paper, made by the Dalai Lama monks. It is not at all gentle on my materials, but it is great fun to interact with the structure that already exists in the paper. I feel as though the person who made the paper is the first artist, and I am the second. No planning here, just interaction and fun.

 

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Zentangle has its very own paper, which I use sometimes. I find myself often travelling with sketch books with heavy-weight, acid-free paper, and it is often in these that my drawings come to life. This can happen almost anywhere – on the bus, at a meeting, at a café – anywhere that I have the space for my little book and my pens. The drawings are not only done with the Zentangle method.

 

Frames

When mounting my paintings, I attempt whenever possible to use FSC-certified frames, which are made in Sweden. Many of my older paintings are mounted on regular frames that were available at the time.

Transport

Moving art around is always an adventure! The criteria that are important to me here are cost, service and promised delivery. I have been introduced to a company that so far has delivered very well on all these counts and will continue using them unless I have reason to stop doing so.

I BELIEVE THAT…
  • there is one creator and one creation and that we are all a reflection of that one creator

  • I am the centre of my universe, just as you are the centre of yours

  • as the creator in my own universe I own everything that happens there, good and bad – this is something that gives me the power and the possibility to change my life over and over again

  • love and joy are what we are all about – all the grimy stuff we get involved in is just us forgetting who we are

  • illness and accidents come from stored hurts, beliefs and patterns of fear

  • art can have healing power – so I paint or draw sometimes with the specific intention to heal something

  • forgiveness heals body, mind and soul

  • we all have the ability to create whatever we desire – and that when we lack that which we desire it is because we are creating lack

  • there is more than enough for everyone of everything without needing to deplete our resources – if we go to ourselves and stop comparing ourselves with others

  • meditation is inherent in human nature

  • perception and vibration are keys to all joy and all sadness, all good and all evil

  • feelings are tools with which we inform ourselves of what we chose to perceive and thereby vibrate and receive

  • Law of Attraction is da shit

  • the Vedas are pretty good at describing the Universe and the laws that govern it

  • all is well in the Universe

  • God is not to blame for anything

  • we have the power of free will and the ability to use it

  • nobody is here on this planet, in whatever situation they may find themselves in, except by choice

  • death of the body is not the end of existence

  • the body is only a receptacle for a tiny portion of that which we really are

  • we are trapped in a perception that our body is entirely where it’s at, which blocks our ability to be miraculous all the time

  • there is no hell but for the one we create when we stop listening to our inner guidance and no heaven but for the one that we create when we constantly follow our inner guidance.

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My teachers throughout the years, in attempted chronological order – many through their writings and workshops, and a great many of them through real-life interaction:
  • My Mum, Ester

  • Jesus (read the Bible a fair amount as a child)

  • Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and a plethora of other mostly British authors

  • Carlos Castaneda

  • Harvey Jackins and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Shakti Gawain and Louise Hay followed by Shirley MacLaine, Ambres, Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, Don Miguel Ruiz, James Redfield, Neale Donald Walsch, Gary Zukav and a plethora of others in the spiritual and self-help field

  • Judith Bourque, Caren Sumitra Sjöström, Gunnar Strand, Ingrid Bruhn

  • Curt Källman, A Course in Miracles, Abraham-Hicks, Brandon Bays, Dain Heer, Bentinho Massaro (and some of a few teachings of the prophet Mohammad which I have encountered), Johannes Källman

  • Friends – to name a special few: Maria Hammarstén, Rina Melissanidou, Catarina Westlund, Wenda Jones, Kajsa Segerros, Eva Kenttä, Rana Karkouh-Naimell – much wisdom there

  • Family – my ex, my three children, my partner, my extended family and my two foster kids from Afghanistan. All invaluable mirrors

  • Colleagues, bosses and pupils: also invaluable mirrors, in the case of pupils – they provide stereo effect. If you haven’t been listening to your inner guidance, a bunch of people in a room waiting for your leadership will let you know that something’s off key in a large variety of ways. Excellent waker-upers