Hometown: Gallatin, TN  
Major:
Art  
Senior Study Title: “Anna’s Animal Art”   

Advisor: Dr. Carl Gombert

Annamarie Glass '11 has loved drawing animals since she was a child and considers animals her passion. So when it came to her Senior Study, it was no surprise that she chose to do animal portraits. However, the medium that she used to capture the images of animals is a surprise.

Throughout her drawing history, she has been “primarily a graphite girl,” but for her Senior Study, she learned how to utilize oil paints and created some “impressive pieces,” according to her faculty advisor.

Glass’ Senior Study consists of a series of six realistic, large-scale pet portraits on a white background. By using the white background, her goal was “to create a more artistic version of the typical pet portrait.” Through this more artistic portrait, Glass said she hopes to convey to the pet owner what a “majestic and wonderful” creation their pet is.

In working on her Senior Study, Glass used oil paints regularly for the first time.

“[The Study] introduced me to using color, painting, and working at a larger scale than ever before,” she explained.

Her Senior Study advisor, Dr. Carl Gombert, professor of art, was a key resource for her during this time.

“He helped me hone my skills as a painter and exposed me to a lot of artists who have influenced me,” she explained. “He drove me to paint, paint, paint!”

While Glass had to learn many oil painting techniques for her Senior Study, she also had to unexpectedly refine her animal photography skills. Her paintings were based off of photographs of the animals and it was difficult “to get them to show their personalities because they would look so scared in the studio.” She says she had a particularly difficult time with the guinea pigs, rabbit and cat.

Despite the difficulties she encountered and the fact that she was learning how to create images with oil-based paints, Glass’ Senior Study was recommended for the library’s permanent collection. Gombert said that “the paintings are gorgeous” and that she “pulled off big, impressive pieces.”

In doing this, Glass said she particularly enjoyed portraying the largest animals on the smallest scale (her horse portrait was 11 inches by 14 inches) and the smallest animals on the largest scale (her portrait of a pair of hairless guinea pigs was 4 feet by 8 feet). Gombert praised not only the physical paintings themselves but also the manner in which Glass pushed against the conventions of the typical pet portrait, adding that the art faculty at Maryville College tend to teach respect for artistic conventions as well as respect for mastering these conventions. However, there is often “room to push” against these conventions in art, he explained.

For him, it was an easy decision to recommend Glass’ thesis for the permanent collection because her technique was superb, and she went beyond the knowledge of artistic conventions that she had been taught in the classroom.

Glass said pushing herself to experiment and go beyond her comfort zone as an artist is important, as she hopes to continue painting pet portraits as part of her career. Her Senior Study proved especially helpful to her in this cause, she said, because “it helped me learn
what style of painting I like, and I find that this style and my technique grow with each painting that I complete.”

Glass is currently a residence life coordinator at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., where she is working toward an M.B.A. She is taking commissions for pet portraits.