Ann Himel Pikes Peak Watercolor Lead Image

GUEST ARTIST: “Art On The Creek” by Ann Himel

Hello from Parker, Colorado! My name is Ann Himel, and I am an artist, instructor, and third generation Colorado native. There aren’t many of us “locals” left in my state – people are much more mobile today than ever before. I’m proud of our family history here! I believe we communicate through creative expression. My path started with domestic creativity and ultimately led me to the business end of a paintbrush.

My art story starts with my family history. My dad’s side of the family came over to America from Emilia-Romagna, Italy, to work the coal mines near Aspen, Colorado. Angelo and Caterina Bellodi settled in Sunlight, near Newcastle. There is still a creek with our name on it (although it is misspelled), Belodi Creek.

This is the Creek that my YouTube channel, Art on the Creek, references. Family roots and traditions are important to me and I wanted to repay my ancestors with gratitude for their struggles in building lives for generations to come here in Colorado.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway Watercolor and Ink on Watercolor Paper

That land is where my Great Grandfather and one of his sons started a second homestead ranching sheep and cattle. My grandmother, one of 8 kids, was an incredibly talented cook, knitter, quilter, and worked beautiful pieces in crochet and tatting. She introduced me to my first creative endeavors in what today would be called fiber craft; not to mention my ability to whip up the best meatballs you’ve ever tasted!

When my Italian family was settling in Colorado’s high country, my mom’s side of the family was already pretty established in the midwest. Mom decided to come to Colorado with her younger sister in the 1950s, after already forging a career in drafting and dress designing. She came from a family of artists and craftsmen. My Granddad was a wood craftsman and our home is still adorned with some of his beautiful hand carved furniture.

Save it for a Rainy Day Watercolor and Ink on Watercolor Paper

I mention this background because my young life was surrounded with and nurtured through creative pursuits. Cooking, knitting, crochet and quilting (never had the patience to make lace) filled my free time for many years. I remember asking my mom once how they made the background scenes in Sleeping Beauty, Disney’s animated feature film of 1959. As a draftsman and accomplished artist, she knew the process of film animation using gouache and cells.

Hearing her story and seeing how the mysterious supplies she kept in the office drawer were used was like showing a kid Willy Wonka’s Candy Factory for the first time…I was amazed! Moreover, I wanted to play with everything she showed me. That moment was the birth of my art career.

My parents were thankfully very indulgent of my art endeavors, and supplied me well with various papers, paints, drawing tools…I loved the supplies as much as I did creating; something that is still true to this day!

Gossip and Lunch Watercolor on Watercolor Paper

Fast forward to college, where I earned a degree in English from the University of Colorado at Boulder. The prospect of being a ‘starving artist’ was too intimidating a risk to take for me at that time. I stuck with a career path where I felt I could most benefit. After I married the love of my life who I met at CU, I planned on teaching high school English. Life, however, has a way of throwing us curve balls. Instead I tailored my career around my growing family, writing curriculum & acting as a guest teacher in K-2 classrooms, tutoring, writing quilt patterns & teaching quilting classes, writing legislation & acting as a community liaison, writing a newspaper column, and then finally teaching clients about wine in a bespoke setting.

All the while, I never stopped having a sketchbook handy. I started with a self portrait in red pen and then used pencil on the “Draw Winky” flyers that came in the mail. I graduated to red felt-tip pen to create stick-person “nudes” of my parents, ultimately devoting my sketchbooks to Disney characters and pets.

When my mother passed away in 2012, I inherited all of her art & drafting materials. She was most recently proficient in pastels, and that is where I started dabbling. Drawing and painting at the same time gave me a feeling of pure childlike abandon – which is why I love art so much. It takes away all of my mental stress and sets my mind at ease in a very calm place.

Although I have no formal art training other than a few painting, drawing or pottery classes here and there, my childhood home was truly my own private atelier, complete with a live-in artist & instructor. My mother painstakingly led me through to success by teaching me perspective, ratio, and the elements of good composition. Once I was introduced to a new medium, I would focus on it with pure intensity until I had studied all of its capabilities through trial and error. Asking myself “what if…?” has opened my mind to many creative opportunities I may not otherwise have known.

Now that I’m retired, I’m finally able to marry art and teaching – two of my lifelong loves. I may have started with “Draw Winky,” which, by the way, I thought looked exactly like the example, but now I’ve added watercolor and colored pencil to my list of most-loved art media.

Today, I’m open to all art media. My inspiration comes to me by immersing myself in the things I love the most: Colorado scenery & wildlife, domestic animals, my everlasting struggle to master portraiture, graphic art for its dynamic lines and extreme perspectives (think superheroes & villains), and as always, my beloved Disney characters.

Creating art where I can teach others, feature my beautiful home state of Colorado, and encourage other artists…this is where I feel most fulfilled and grateful. My wish is that I can inspire others to learn how to enrich their lives with art , and to find joy through creative expression!

Some of my favorite art supplies are:

Soft Pastels – Sennelier is my favorite, although I also really like Rembrandt
Oil Pastels – Paul Rubens
Water-Soluble Pastels – Caran d’Ache Neocolor II
Gouache – Holbein
Gouache Brushes – Jack Richeson Plein Air Travel Brushes
Watercolor – Rosa Gallery, Roman Szmal, DaVinci, M Graham, Sennelier, Daniel Smith
Watercolor Brushes – Princeton Neptune or Tracy Lebenzon
Watercolor Pencils – Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer
Ink Pen – Zebra Pen Zensations
Fountain Pen – Sheaffer medium nib or the Platinum 700 Desk Fountain Pen with a fine nib

Ann Himel 

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists

8 thoughts on “GUEST ARTIST: “Art On The Creek” by Ann Himel

  1. Beautiful, heartfelt expression in each painting. I love how you weave in your family’s devotion to art and to your development as an artist in all that you pursued. Thank you for sharing.

    Sparkling Heart
    • artonthecreek

Leave Me A Comment!

%d bloggers like this: