Watercolorist Anne Gifford paints landscapes, animals, buildings, portraits, gardens, flowers, vanishing images and more.

Boulder artist Anne Gifford is perhaps best known for the eight BOLDERBoulder 10K posters she’s created for the race over the past 30 years. Anne’s medium is watercolor, and her successive color layers make her paintings vibrant, rich and detailed. She developed this technique while working as a silk-screen artist years ago. Anne loves depicting “magic moments,” and she enjoys having fun with her painting, too, as evidenced by the children’s book she illustrated and coauthored with her mother, Priscilla. Called “Spike the Dhog,” it features an endearing creature who seems to be “part pig, a little bit of hedgehog and a whole lot of dog.”


H+G: Please describe your artistic style.

Anne: I enjoy painting everything from realism to whimsy. In my landscapes, I have trained my eye to see subtle colors that perhaps are not actually there, and I enhance them. If you look closely, you will see a purple tree or a riverbed of rocks with unexpected colors sprinkled throughout.

‘Spike and Moon’

H+G: What is your favorite thing about creating art?

Anne: The world around me melts away. When I’m absorbed in my painting, I think of nothing else—not even food! I get so excited about how a painting is turning out that I stay up too late and then tack the painting up on the bedroom wall so I can stare at it with the day’s last energy before I fall asleep. That’s when I come up with all the little touches I want to add that will finish the painting to my satisfaction.

H+G: What is your greatest challenge about creating art?

Anne: Carving out from a busy life the precious time to paint and having the discipline to sit down and get going. Once I start on a painting, it’s easy—I get lost in it.

H+G: What inspires you?

Anne: I’m amazed at all of the colors that exist. I’ve been unable to think of one that can’t be found in nature. Someone once told me there are 7 million colors, and 3 million are greens. I don’t even remember who said that to me or whether it’s true or not, but I like to believe it. Working with art students at the East Boulder Senior Center has given me inspiration for many years. I like to see how each painter interprets the project du jour, and I get as many ideas from them as they do from me. And, of course, the outdoors and the incredible world around us keep me supplied with a visual library of ideas.


H+G: What terrifies you?

Anne: Slipping out of the present and into the future can lead to fear. That takes me back to why I like the Zen of painting—it keeps me happily planted in the present moment.

H+G: Why are you drawn to silkscreen
and watercolors?

Anne: My first art job was screen printing T-shirts in the ’70s. It occurred to me, while pulling a squeegee over and over again, that I could make my own art prints using the same technique. That is just what I did for the next 25 years, until a friend convinced me to try watercolors. It took me a few years to learn the medium. Always the printmaker, I was delighted when technology emerged with the archival printers that I have used to make my own limited-edition reproductions of my art.

H+G: How do you pick the subjects that
you paint?

Anne: Anything that catches my eye on my hikes or in my surroundings goes into a photo file. I’ll never get them all onto paper. Thoughts I have about history: “Who was here before us? What did it look like?” Interesting people and loved ones also inspire my portraits.

‘Through All Seasons’

H+G: What artists do you admire?

Anne: Georgia O’Keeffe for both her art and her grit. The worldwide artists on the website
fineartamerica.com, my aunt Sarah and my grandpa, who did paint-by-numbers when I was a child. I was fascinated while watching how all of those little pots of color resulted in a finished painting.

H+G: What is your favorite pastime?

Anne: Endless lap swimming, hiking, biking and my other true love—music. I’ve relished playing guitar and viola in the Wallpaper House Band for many years.

H+G: What do you want your art to say?

Anne: I want my artwork to bring joy into the lives of others, and that is why I paint.


View Anne’s paintings at pARTiculars Gallery in Lafayette; Spirits in the Wind Gallery in Golden; or visit her online at annegifford.com; instagram.com/annegiffordfineart; and Facebook.com/anniegifford.9.

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