Anna, “Want to paint tonight?” Friend, “Sounds good!”
By Jean Cunningham
The Pandemic has seriously affected everyone, but Anna Hershinow has successfully embraced the forced changes in her life to her advantage.
The restaurant where she serves finally had to shut down in November, so Anna needed to quickly find a way to generate income. During high school in Skokie, she had taken AP Art classes along with dance, and then she majored in dance when she attended The Ohio State University. Since dance was not an option during the pandemic, she decided to research ways to use her art skills. And she found some including private commissions, selling art to the restaurant where she worked, and building a more general clientele.
Recently, the restaurant reopened and working there again consumes much of her time. So these days, Anna finds herself with the constructive but constant tension of finding the right balance between an ongoing paycheck and building her art portfolio and clientele.
One of Anna’s high school friends majored in fine arts in painting. With Anna reengaging in art, they wanted to paint together, but with the pandemic that wasn’t an option in any “normal” way. Happily, they found that FaceTime provided a great solution. So now on many evenings around 9:30 p.m., they visit over FaceTime while they both paint. They listen to music, chat, and occasionally ask for input on each other’s paintings. This arrangement, borne of pandemic desperation, has turned out to be a very welcome sense of company for both of them; not distraction. Anna finds that working for an hour to two together, really helps her wind down and relax.
Anna’s apartment space is small, so she sits on a chair and props a canvas against her bureau. Her primary medium currently is acrylics or collage on canvas. Generally working one piece at a time, she lets the piece “dictate its own journey”. She prefers painting fast, messy, and chunky so “her hand shows”. No small brush work for her! Anna’s work demonstrates her interest in strong, vibrant color and color mixing.
Scouring social media, Anna creates mood boards to inspire her. Her dancing influence shows up in her painting as she is inspired by the body: faces, skin, postures, and fashion as well. When she is able to overcome her current barriers of space, time, and money, she dreams of making 5-10 life size paintings of fabulous people in action and in high fashion.
For now, she is enjoying commissions including portraits and animals. A small dog is her current project. She has also reached back to her high school work and is touching up and modernizing, merging in what she has learned over the past five years.
Living in Evanston provides Anna a strong sense of support for the arts that has helped her with her pandemic transition. Through Evanston Made, she recently was able to exhibit five art pieces at the Backlot Coffee on Central Ave. She also sold two art works to the new Blue Horse Tavern on Davis St. When COVID-19 restrictions are reduced, Anna hopes not only to display her works on canvas, but also perform on stage as a multi-disciplinary artist.
Jean Cunningham is retired after a career in business management and finance. She has written three books and authored many articles in her field, was a speaker at conferences, and taught at the university level. While traveling for business she began painting and drawing for relaxation and collecting art. She and her husband have lived in Evanston for 11 years and are avid walkers of the town and lakeside. She has a BS from Indiana University and an MBA from Northeastern University.