The Creative Voice- by Viktoria Vidali Photography, Poetry, and Prose to Feed the Soul
THE CREATIVE VOICE. This is the ninth in a series of monthly posts that will explore the sources of creative inspiration of living artists. Featured artists will speak of the unique circumstances that cause the Muses to visit them, and how they understand and interpret what the Muses are imparting. The artists will share their personal intuitions and insights, sometimes by telling a story, sometimes by explaining a concept or vision. May this exhilarating voyage encourage and motivate the artist in each of us.
"Everything about watercolorist Ann Maglinte radiates grace, order, and beauty".
When my friend Marcelle and I visited Ann at her kind invitation on a cold, rainy day in February, Ann greeted us warmly at the door of her rambling, multi-storied home in the mountains of Willits, which she and her husband had built over many years. Stepping in, we felt was if we were in another era. Victorian lamps, shelves and shelves of old books, antique furniture, glass cases filled with dolls and toys of yesteryear, and, of course, samplings of Ann’s marvelous watercolor paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and landscapes. I’ve always believed that I was born in the wrong century, remarked Ann with a smile.
What also stuck with us was the delightful fragrance in her home, fresh and welcoming with an air of expectancy. When Ann later showed us her apothecary room (where she makes her herbal creams, salves, and fragrant oil blends) and told us she was a certified herbalist and had operated a successful potpourri company called Victorian Scents, it all came together perfectly.
Ann realized she wanted to become an artist at an early age while growing up in the San Fernando Valley. When it came time to go to college, she searched and searched for a school that taught not only the core art subjects, like oil painting and drawing, but offered classes in fabric design, lithography, printmaking, and ceramics. She wanted to learn everything she could about all types of art.
Ann eventually discovered the exceptional art curriculum offered at San Jose State University: Our painting instructors were professional artists themselves and were represented by galleries in San Francisco and New York. They planned a trip to New York for our class where we toured many artists' studios and went to all the art museums we could manage. That was a trip I will never forget. My college years turned out to be everything I had hoped for, Ann added.
It was at San Jose State that Ann met her husband Jon, a design student. In 1974 they started their business, Midnight Moon, and began showing their art at Renaissance Faires on the West Coast. At that time they created and sold their herbal products, teas, herb plants, and sachets filled with herbal combinations for dreams and love. Ann felt like she was finally able to enter the past life she had always known to be true as an herbal apothecary in the time of Queen Elizabeth. The Renaissance and Dickens Fairs were the main focus of their lives for over 30 years.
Her love of Celtic art led Ann to begin sculpting the plaques and stepping stones that they currently offer today. Her heritage and connection with the past inspires her work. She learned all she could about Celtic knot work and the symbolism of Celtic art. In the Celtic tradition, the continuous line that forms the knot represents our connection with nature. As people on this earth, we are dependent on nature and She is dependent upon us for her survival, Ann explained. Soon, they began to show their new garden art at the craft fairs they attended. Their present cement work features a unique line of stepping stones and garden plaques in the Celtic and Goddess traditions and is represented by Northcoast Artists Gallery in Fort Bragg and Cat’s Meow in Willits.
Ann and Jon later moved to Willits and started their family. Their two grown daughters and grandchildren now live nearby. Ann teaches art at the school her granddaughters attended, River Oak Charter School in Ukiah. It is a Waldorf-inspired school and features an art program that Ann teaches with different art projects each week for grades 1-6, based on the seasons and the curriculum the students are currently studying. Grades 7 and 8 are working on year-long projects in Renaissance and Modern Art .
With her Muses being an active and inquisitive mind, a love of the past, a keen interest in people and her surroundings, a sharp listening ear, and an eye for detail, Ann has made her life a work of Beauty and rarely needs to search for inspiration – it is all around her. She continues to be moved by the art of Georgia O'Keefe. Ann is a prolific artist. She spent two years creating the images for Kate Marianchild’s nature guide: Secrets of the Oak Woodlands, Plants & Animals Among California’s Oaks, which was runner up for a Indie Book Award. This was an exciting project because I learned so much about the natural area where we live. For instance, I found it fascinating that coyotes and badgers hunt as a team! she said, opening her portfolio of original illustrations. That same year, 2014, she completed the illustrations for two children’s books. The first, Composting Abbie: A Whale of a Story, is a true account of an unfortunate accident involving a whale and the man who turned this tragedy into an opportunity to grow food and flowers for children in Mendocino County. The second, The Wind In Me: The first step in sensing your bodymind, teaches children about the importance of the breath.
Upon leaving, Ann generously gave us signed copies of Secrets and our choice of lavender sachets she had recently made with her granddaughters. Marcelle and I, having been graciously treated by Ann like old friends, had no doubt that her home had long ago been consecrated by the same Celtic Home Blessing that appears on a beautiful Midnight Moon plaque:
A blessing upon your home A blessing upon your hearth A blessing upon your dwelling And upon your warming fire A blessing upon your animals and land A blessing upon your kith and kin A blessing upon you in lightness or darkness Each day and night of your life.
Ann presently offers watercolor classes at Mendocino College, where she has been a beloved instructor for over a decade.