Artist captures the essence of life in her work
PUBLISHED: 12:02 19 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:39 19 June 2020
It’s commonly said that life imitates art, but for St Albans hyper-realist Ana Healey-Turner it might be argued that the opposite is true.
Her remarkable gift is to capture the essence of living things - from babies to horses - in a variety of ways.
She said: “My work explores the intricacies of life that often get overlooked...The nuance of colour, the subtle shadows and minute reflections of light.”
This specialism - together with her experience as a professional actress - has taken her down the unusual path of sculpting babies for television and film as well as for the Reborn art community - people who collect extremely realistic looking dolls for a variety of reasons.
Ana, who studied fine art and design at university in Cornwall, said: “Babies can only be on set for five hours at a time, so filmmakers use baby replicas as props for any resting scenes.”
Ana got into baby-making by accident, having sculpted her own son’s tiny hands and feet 16 years ago.
She discovered that she had a skill for it when American doll manufacturer Ashton Drake approached her and bought five doll prototypes from her to mass produce as toys for their own company.
Alongside this, Ana found out that people who wanted to create their own ‘baby’ based on one they knew - or had known - or just as a hobby were stripping back the factory finish applied to plastic dolls that already had been created.
She was inspired to invent the ‘basic’ baby which could be made into kits and were - and still are - sold for painting/individualising. She said: “People who love designing the babies no longer had to strip them back by taking white spirit and cleaning off the colours.They loved the freedom that brought them to create their own.”
And then there are the horses.
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Depending on the complexity of the image, materials and time it takes to create, Ana’s horse paintings can sell upwards of £3,000.
Ana’s work involves rich background colours and shading to compliment the equine form. Her paintings reflect the substance, refinement and power behind dressage, an art form developed over centuries.
She has had some really interesting commissions one of which included painting polo horses for a client with royal connections.
This talent for painting equine has also led to some charity events such as headlining the Finding Horses exhibition in Mayfair and being asked to exhibit for a Peace Hospice fundraiser at The House of Lords.
Over the years, the artist has also exhibited with The Society of Equestrian Artists.
Ana said: “I grew up around horses in Cornwall and never tire of studying them.
“My aim is to capture the subtleties of character, spirit and beauty of each horse while remaining true to the anatomy. It brings me so much joy to see the art come to life.”
Having lived in St Albans for over a decade, Ana has found much inspiration from wandering around the historic part of the city.
She enjoys spending time in Verulamium Park and sharing her creativity with her students in St Albans, where she runs a classes on a Saturday.
As well as painting horses, she now runs an educational art business which helps children and teachers to creatively express themselves. The Creative Collaborative is a collective of artists and teachers who recognize the power creative expression has - especially in its ability to build confidence and create a culture of working together.
She said: “We work in schools, in the workplace, and in the community - providing unique art classes and fun workshops designed to challenge, educate and inspire people from all walks of life.”
To find out more about workshops visit www.thecreativecollaborative.co.uk/classes
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