Meet the Artist: Annie Mertlich from Wildfield Paper Co.
Artist Annie Mertlich has somehow mastered the art of capturing plants and florals in a way that’s relaxed, vintage, modern, and organic, all at the same time.
Whether she’s using her signature muted watercolor palette or going a bit more bold with luscious black sumi ink, Annie’s style is easily recognizable -- which is probably why big name brands like Magnolia and Minted seek her out to license her work.
A glimpse of her portfolio (she’s @WildfieldPaperCo on Instagram) reveals Annie’s passion for all things botanical (on her phone, she stores thousands of the reference photos she’s taken at her local botanical garden and anywhere else she feels inspired).
And while her subjects stay pretty consistent (plants and flowers), it’s her continuous exploration of new styles and mediums that have helped her become such a prolific artist, sometimes painting for up to 14 hours per day.
But it’s not just painting -- Annie is also a talented calligrapher who started her business on the side doing wedding invitations for couples who loved her organic, modern calligraphy style plus her floral embellishments.
As an art school graduate who focused on printmaking, she received a solid foundation in the fundamentals of design. That foundation flows throughout her work, in the asymmetrical balance of a floral piece, or the leaf that’s turned over, showing cracks and jagged edges from the underside.
Annie also loves to teach! Because I couldn’t travel to her in-person workshops, I first invited her to teach in our online Modern Calligraphy Summit® program. Everyone loved Annie’s class so much that I invited her back to teach loose florals in the Watercolor Summit®, and then, because Annie has so many other amazing things to teach, we created the Wildfield Collector’s Pack, an exclusive bundle of three online workshops with Annie covering topics like sumi ink painting and floral composition.
It was fall when we traveled to Annie’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah to film her workshops. Now, Salt Lake is a large, sprawling metropolis of several million people… but Annie’s proximity to the gorgeous Wasatch Range means she can be up in the mountains and immersed in nature in about 15 minutes.
We followed her to one of her favorite places and, for the first time ever, filmed a portion of Annie’s composition class for the Wildfield Collector’s Pack right there in the field! It was so much fun following her around with the camera, seeing through her eyes as she found interest in a plant or leaf most people wouldn’t give a second glance.
It’s this attention to detail that really sets Annie’s work apart, as you’ll see in her interview below:
In her in-depth Modern Calligraphy Summit® workshop, Annie shares several methods for adding floral embellishments to your calligraphy work, whether it’s with a dip pen, a permanent ink pen, or watercolors.
Photos by Modern Calligraphy Summit® students @everleafdesigns and @ep_lettering.
In her Watercolor Summit® workshop, Annie dives deep into the world of loose florals, sharing her process for creating multiple types of leaves, petals, and berries in that loose style that everyone loves (but is harder than it looks!) Annie’s step-by-step instructions will leave you with a beautiful loose floral watercolor composition that’s ready to frame!
Photos by Watercolor Summit® students @willawatercolors and @beckynimoy.
And in the Wildfield Collector’s Pack, Annie shares some her favorite techniques not covered in her other classes -- things like how to draw leaves and flowers that look organic (and not “cutesy”), multiple ways to create amazing sumi ink artwork with a paintbrush, how to find unique foliage in your own area and arrange it into a beautiful composition, and how to experiment with fun styles like moody florals and dark backgrounds (yes, dark backgrounds are possible with watercolors!)
Photos by Wildfield Collector's Pack students @cherryblossomletters and @jensweeney4.
Want to learn more? Check out our free Watercolor Favorites video series, featuring Annie plus six other fabulous artists.
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