Artist finds stillness within the chaos of a busy life

Landscape artist Annelise McKay grew up in Danville but loved visiting her sister in Concord so much that she moved here a little over a year ago.

“I’ve been drawing and doodling since I was a kid,” she recalls. “I remember when guest teachers would come to my school to do oil pastels with us. That was a huge source of joy for me.”

McKay became more serious about her art in her 20s, when she turned to it as a means of therapy and meditative practice. “I’m also studying psychology and looking into becoming a therapist. One day I hope to combine the practices of art and talk therapy to create an effective mental health regimen for people,” she says.

The artist loves to paint serene nature scenes. “I love water, trees and the night sky,” she explains. “I like working with acrylic the best, but I also enjoy oils and watercolor.”


Artist finds stillness within the chaos of a busy life
In “Harvest Moon,” Annelise McKay combines her love of water, trees and the night sky.

McKay hopes to invoke a sense of stillness and calm when people look at her art. “When I observe a beautiful landscape, I am brought into the moment and reminded of the interconnection of all things. We are the same as nature, and this feeling gives me a deep sense of peace that I want to pass on to others,” she reflects.

She feels inspired by listening to music while she paints. “With melancholy music, I tend to paint in cool tones, whereas with happy tunes, I work with more bright and whimsical colors.

“Painting reminds me that life is about more than rushing around, working and sitting in traffic,” McKay adds. “When I’m making art, I feel the most like myself. I can lose track of time and really connect with who I am underneath the mental chatter. Sometimes during our daily routines, I think we forget our true nature as loving, peaceful beings. Painting brings me back into that state of mind.”

Selling her work is always an exciting prospect. “The first time I sold some of my art, it felt like my heart was exploding. To know that someone placed value on my work and wanted it in their home was a huge honor,” she says. “I still feel so much joy thinking about the paintings I have sold and how they are making people happy and brightening their homes.”

Despite living here such a short time, McKay has already fallen in love with the Concord arts community.

“I began teaching painting classes at the Lettuce Inn, a downtown vegan restaurant, where people can paint along with me and enjoy the company of other artists,” she says. “The best part about these classes is listening to the group share creative feedback with each other. This experience has really impacted me and made me feel as though Concord will be my permanent home. This is the first city I have ever lived in where I felt that way.”

Lisa Fulmer is a marketing consultant, published author and a community arts advocate.