Life and Work
Anke's story is about a woman with a passion for painting beautiful works of art. It is also a story of how, at times, the business of life has interfered with the development of her gift as an artist. Resentment is not an option for Anke. She says, "No matter what I do I have fun - I enjoy my life."
As a young girl, Anke loved to draw and also tried her hand at embroidery. However, her practical mother felt that embroidery was an activity more suited to the "elite." She would have preferred that Anke pursue a more useful pastime such as knitting socks. Needless to say, Anke excelled in art classes at school. She was inspired by the old masters, in particular Van Gogh's sunflowers. Later in life when she was raising her children, caring for her aging grandmother and running a household, there was little time for painting.
In the 1970s she met Cornelius Hofman, an artist who in his younger years had an art school in Amsterdam. He was in his 80s at the time Anke met him. She was inspired by his work and he provided her with an opportunity to pursue her love of art. He encouraged her to paint, shared his knowledge with her and, best of all, shared his studio.
After moving to Sundre, over 20 years ago, Anke took a schoolbus driver's job to help pay for her art supplies with the result being that she had even less time to paint. Today, her child-rearing days are over and with her husband Karl's recent retirement Anke has more time to paint. She is grateful for his encouragement and help but sometimes as she is painting she feels she should be "working." Anke says "Painting is like playing - it's so much fun." She has a list of people to do paintings for in return for favours they have done for her.
She says she won't live long enough to paint all the things she wants to. I say - give it your best shot. There can never be enough of your bright, beautiful, uplifting paintings in this world. Enjoy and take advantage of your newly found freedom to "play" and try to ignore that nagging little voice telling you that you should be "working."
-By Marjorie Marfleet
Painting and her Children by Marjorie Marfleet
Anke's favourite subjects are flowers and her grandchildren. Her paintings are full of beautiful, bright colours. She prefers to paint outside but when the weather doesn't allow this she paints at the coffee table from beautiful photographs she has takes, This writer feels she has a special talent for photography but Anke modestly gives all the credit to the camera.
Anke is lucky to have her children and their families close by. She takes opportunities to show her grandchildren the beauty in their world and encourages them to express what they see in art. Her oldest granddaughter is studying art and design for the film industry.
My Grandmother by Nicholas Vanderzwan
The great intelligence of an experienced mind does not happen without trials and time. A person with the experience of age accumulates talent and skill that is invaluable to a younger generation. This only gets better when that person is someone who can bake a pie that is superior to anyone else's, heal wounds from rough play with her touch and paint a picture worth thousands of words. If she can do all this she must be a grandmother, my grandmother to be specific.
My grandmother is able to do this all while supporting a farm, offering advice to friends and family, driving a school bus and an infinite number of other things.
After raising a successful family, she took up painting and is able to create masterpieces with simple brush strokes, sometimes in minutes, sometimes longer. Now her artistic talent has made her a mentor and teacher to students (or grandkids) willing to learn.
Providing assistance to family members in a bind is second nature to most grandmas, but mine will go above and beyond the extra mile to see that you are removed from that bind and comfortable.
My grandmother is exceptional because besides having the experience of eight grandchildren and three children of her own, she knows many other things too. Things that only come from life experiences and all these qualities make her a perfect grandmother.