The painting is hardly bigger than an iPhone, propped up by a tiny easel. It depicts two cigarette butts mashed against a powder blue background, and sits atop a fancy gold pedestal. The contrast between the petite painting’s subjects and its grand presentation is no accident.
“I gravitate from the glamour of plein air painting to cigarette butts,” artist Ann Osgood says with a chuckle.
Which is not to say Osgood, 66, doesn’t also appreciate a happy accident, or meandering muses – one reason her diverse painting repertoire includes abstract works. “With abstracts, because you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know if you got there,” she says.
Osgood’s path to Phoenix was clearer. She grew up in Glendale, Calif., and started painting at age 12. She graduated from the University of Hawaii with a bachelor’s degree in drawing and painting, and moved to Phoenix in 2005. She taught at Barry Goldwater High School before renting a shared studio space in 2010 at The Artery in Central Phoenix, where she paints everything from surrealistic canaries in cages hanging over melting glaciers (“a statement on global warming,” she says) to gold- and silver-leaf-enhanced floral works (“I want the flowers to feel like flowers, but not be corny and insipid”).
One thing her varied works have in common is color – rich, deep, bright hues, often contrasting for an extra pop. “I’m always trying to think about how you can imply the color, and not have it really be the color,” she says. “That’s one of the loveliest things about painting people, too, because flesh is so reflective of color. I see greens and blues and stuff on people’s faces.”
See more of Osgood’s work at annosgood.com or in person every First Friday at The Artery.
— Niki D’Andrea