Radio Maine Episode 49: Anne Heywood

 

2/13/2022

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Hello. I'm Dr. Lisa Belisle and you are listening to, or watching, Radio Maine. Today, I have with me in the studio,  artist Anne Heywood. It’s nice to have you here today. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Thank you for inviting me. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

We have behind me a lovely scene, which looks like it actually could be Fall. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Yes. It is Fall. It's the scene outside of my front door in Waldoboro. It was at dawn. You won't find too many dawn pictures in my portfolio because I'm not a morning person. However, this was just spectacular. I don't know what it was. I think I can smell the clear air and I can hear the quiet and I think that's what really attracted me to paint it. I have to have an “aha” moment before I'll say, yes, I'll consider that to be paintable. So that was my aha moment. It's realistic, and yet I took out a few things. 


 

Anne Heywood:

There's a little dirt path going toward me and I took that out. I just wanted to make it all about the sun coming up at dawn. It created shadows from the trees. And that's what I wanted to emphasize;  the tree shadows, the light. If you think about it doesn't have too much depth. It only goes to mid-depth, mid ground. I think the tree on the left, because it's so much closer to the viewer than the rest of it, I think it places the viewer. So here I am, I'm looking a little bit down at the road, which anybody, most people would be if you have any height, but I think I'm up a little higher. I'm a short person. I was up a bit higher and it really attracted me to it.  I wanted to give the feeling of cool and quiet and sun coming up. So there's light. That's where I was going. So that would be Autumn Dawn. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, it reminds me of a lot of morning runs that I take in the autumn. I happen to be a morning person.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I think everybody resonates one way or the other. Right? And I can't stay up too late because I get cranky, but mornings, that's my time. So when I look at this, I very much appreciate that you took the time to capture this because it's like getting on the trails when I'm out running as the sun is coming up. 


 

Anne Heywood:

You know, it's funny you say that, because not too far from there there's a woman who runs distances. She and her husband run the  loop. She does probably 15 miles on a daily basis.  There's another scene I did that is if I were to look at this and then take a turn to the right. And she ended up buying that because she said it was at the same time of day. It was not the same day, but the same time a year, same time of day. And she said, I go by that every day. And it just, you know, I see that because it's so early in the morning and I just want to, you know, I want to have that in my home to enjoy. So that's really funny. I never really connected that until you said that.


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It is a special time of day. It's very magical. It's very quiet when I'm out. I often will see deer. So the deer, they're obviously running much faster than I am, but you know, you're by yourself, but you're not. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Yes. I imagine it's kind of you in nature feeling like I'm alone, it's quiet. Well, I used to run but again, it was never in the morning. It was always in the evening. Those are long gone days. But I know what you're saying by seeing things when you're running that you don't necessarily see when you're driving for sure. Well, for good reason, you have to pay attention a bit to what you're doing. ButI often think of myself as an artist. That's my job, my job is to see things and that not everybody else might see. Not that it's not there. Not that I have to dive into the depths of a wood place to see it as much as it's just stuff on a daily basis that you go by, you don't necessarily pay attention. But I'm looking to paint my world. So whenever I see, I figure, you know, pretty good. It's up for grabs. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

One of the things I like about this piece is the softness of the foreground, maybe the mid ground. Some of it has to do with the fact that this is done in pastels. Which is not something that everybody likes to use, but it's something that you've been using for a long time. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Yeah, I did my education, the hard way. I didn't go straight from high school to college. So when I was going to college, I was working a full time job. And so it took me 10 years. What's 10 years? I got it. And one of the things that I think is a result of it taking me longer and so forth and so on is that I came to art with much appreciation. I just love painting. And the reason I love painting is because I've had so many other jobs. And, and this is what makes me smile, and this is what's me, and this is what makes me happy. So I have something to compare it to, I guess you could say that. 


 

Anne Heywood:

And some of my jobs, I mean, it wasn't just jobs. They were really career paths.  It was a hard decision and definitely one I made with my husband and he just said something along the lines of, if it will make you happy, please do it. And then years later he said, it's kind of a backhanded compliment, but he did say you know, when you first started, I thought, okay, you know, it's good. It's all right. I just didn't really see you getting this good. I know he didn't mean it in an ugly way. It was a real nice compliment coming from someone who sees you every day sees the good pieces and not the not so good pieces and goes through the whole angst. He claimed that I would have more emotions in one day than he would have in a year. But of course he being an engineer, you know, what can I say? 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

You were encouraged to go into art by your mother at a relatively young age and even though it took you a while to kind of get to that point, she saw something. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Yes  And I was so young at the time. I really didn't understand that. The reason that she would say to me, well, besides getting me out of the house, and over here in the summers, you want to take them in art lessons here, would you like to take an art lesson there? And it was at the time. The first one I think, I don't know, I must've been maybe six, seven or something like that. It was at the Newport Art Museum having something for children. That's what I remember standing in line with your empty muffin tin to get the different colors, you know, that they were squeezing out of these big bottles. And yes I guess she saw that I enjoyed it. And, you know, when you're a kid, you think that was fun. 


 

Anne Heywood:

And then of course, when I’m home, of course, I love to color. I love to trace, I love to, you know, just do anything creative art wise. And so then she tried it again. You know, when I was a little bit older, she tried to find something for me to do in summers because there weren't a lot of kids around where we lived to play with that were my age. So she'd always get me going to something or other, so that led to one summer riding horses, which I liked too. I don't think I'll go back to that one though. They're much bigger now. And I went to one summer art course at a local high school. And came home with mixed feelings about that one, but it was really kind of out of my realm. 


 

Anne Heywood: 

It was in a high school, even though they told my mother that, you know, oh, any age is fine, any age wasn't fine because the teacher was really a high school teacher. And let's just say that my lasting memory is I thought that whatever it was that I had done, and I can't even remember what it was though, It was pretty darn good. And when he gave a critique in front of the whole class, he was pretty darn. I can't remember what he said, but all I remember is crying in the field alone after, you know, it was a little too over the top for my age. So he apologized and then, you know, life went on, but it's funny that all these years later, I remember that, but it never really stopped me from going forward with it. 


 

Anne Heywood:

I just kind of remember it, you know, and I've had students of my own, I taught art for over 20 years and I've had some of them come into my class and say, you know, I don't have any talent. I was told I was no good. And it's like, I can connect as far as one, don't you tell yourself you don't have talent cause you haven’t started exploring yet. So let's start from that. And then two: so what! That was somebody else's opinion and let's see what we can do. So 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I think that's great that you've been able to connect your own personal experience with maybe not such a good episode in your art training with the ability to bring something out of other people, because some people might take it in a different direction. You know, I've seen people go in a different direction, somebody's treated badly, I'm going to treat the next person badly, but that's not the way that you're doing. 


 

Anne Heywood:

No, I would never even consider that. In fact, it would motivate me more to, to be, you know, understanding. I think that helps a lot when I give instruction, I'll say, this is how and this is why. And particularly when I go up by the person's easel with their piece on the easel and they're standing there and it'll be just a one-on-one type of thing. And I'll say, okay, so tell me what you like about this. Well, usually I could tell you what I don't like about it comes out first, and I'll get them to verbalize that. And then I'll say, okay, so you can do this, or you can do that. Usually there's a choice. They'll look at me like, oh, I've never really thought about it, but it makes sense. And I'll say to them, why do you think I know this? And they look at me and I'll say, it's because I made the same mistakes. And I corrected them both either way. Depends, you know, which way. So, it's just a matter of me passing along my knowledge, giving you a chance to develop your style, your whatever, so that you can do what you love. And you can take it or leave it, and you're strong with, or without me, you're strong. It doesn't make any difference. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

You've actually needed to be strong yourself. So I suspect that when you say to somebody else you're strong, I suspect it's because you've needed to dig deep. Not just by being criticized when you were taking a class from a high school art teacher, but in the last few years, you've needed to kind of step away from your art a little bit and toward being responsible for a business that's now a  hundred and twenty five years old. Tell me what that’s been like for you. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Yes. It's been challenging and it's been interesting. And I don't know, those are the two words that come right out is challenging and interesting.  Well, when I was 13, my mother died. So that was, you know, how you have phases in your life. You can say, oh I just judge what I do depending upon those milestones, they may be good milestones or not so good, whatever it is, you can say that was before my mom, well that was after that type of thing. So she, having given me a lot of support for my art, as far as sending me there thinking I had talent, I want to prove her right. So that gives me a lot of motivation when things get tough. And then in the last year, another milestone, not so good, but my husband passed away. 


 

Anne Heywood:

And basically I stepped into his shoes as CEO of a 125 year old company that has nothing to do with art. However, I do have to say they now have a wonderful collection in their offices. And honestly, when people come in, the type of work we do does not have a lot of people come in other than employees most of the time. But when we do have visitors, and we had many visitors when we had our celebration for the 125 year anniversary when people come in and they walk around and oh, wow, that's really nice. Or, oh, wow. Look at that one there kind of thing. And I don't usually say anything about I did that. I did that. Somebody does usually say, oh, the CEO did that or something like that. And it's like, jaw drop, you know, so you're doing this and that. 


 

Anne Heywood:

So I think I've been tested, let's put it that way. But life is like that. And I think at the beginning because you know, I was grieving and it just happened to be February of 2020. And I was like all of a sudden pandemic danger, you know, just flourish started coming out. So they didn't have the face mask, anything when my husband passed, but a week later or whatever it was, he got a wonderful, it's a terrible thing to say, but it really was a nice going away funeral, a real one where people came and all that. Right after that, that was stopped. So then I'm sitting in his chair and I think about 20 people at the time, I met with each division, each section one by one said I'm not giving up. 


 

Anne Heywood:

You know, I'm here, not an engineer like everybody else or like most people or whatever, but I had worked for the company for quite a few years and in different aspects. I mean, I'll bet a lot of people that are working there today don't know that I designed their logo, that I did the website, not the nitty gritty of it, we had a webmaster to put it all together, but I provided all the information for that, which is saying a lot. And you know, I've done other things over the years, but anyway I made it very clear. I'm going forward. So it's been a learning curve. Every day is a learning curve, but here we are a year and a half later and we've just been given a citation from the governor as a congratulations for 125 years. We were given a citation from a Senator, from a House Representative and also proclamation locally that this is the Thompson and Lichtner company day, October 21st. So we'll have a day to celebrate every year. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Now this must be really rewarding for you, considering that you were kind of handed this situation, you made a very conscious decision to do something that was quite difficult during a very difficult time kind of globally, but also personally. And here you are.


 

Anne Heywood:

Yeah. I'm almost amazed, honestly. Boy, not to say, I mean, it's been rocky you know, it's hard, very hard and I wouldn't wish it on anyone to be honest with you. Not that combination anyway, but I happened to one day, and I hardly watch TV, I don't have time, but I stumbled upon a Ted talk, which I absolutely love those. It probably wasn't even on TV and I can hear my grandchildren laughing at me that was not on TV. Okay, fine, there was a woman that got up to talk and she's all, you know, all alone on that stage. She was very eloquent and she described her challenging time and I can not remember the combination, but one of them was that her husband passed away then somebody else passed away and then something else. 


 

Anne Heywood:

It was like the whole world on her shoulders all at once. And she said something along the lines that I'm here and I'm okay. And I, you know, and I thought, I didn't even get to see the end of it, but I thought: good for you. I've always been very pro woman anyway. I mean I've been the women's representative in a large company at one point in my life and career of different jobs and all that. I think you know, it's very important to keep going. To give up to me sounds like a loss of opportunity and the fact that all this happened at once, not my fault, I had nothing to do with it, so, okay. And as hard as things were for me, there's other people that have much harder things you know, knock on wood. 


 

Anne Heywood:

My family is all healthy and so many other things could have happened, but they didn't. So I'm happy and I still get to do my art and I get to sit here today and I get to be represented by the Portland Art Gallery. And I think I've got some very good things going on. So I think there's changes coming, but that's just life anyway. I mean, that's just part of it. Everybody's got their things, don't you agree? Actually in your section of what you do. You see and hear lots of stories from a lot of people's lives. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah. I mean, when I'm talking with patients, I'm continually amazed by the resilience and strength and fortitude that people show in the face of adversity. So it's very humbling to me because I think we all go through hard times, but then when we look at other people and they go through even harder times and you think, wow, that took a lot. That person really had to dig deep and hang on and keep showing up every single day to live a difficult life. 


 

Anne Heywood:

If there's a movie, I forget who's in it. But I think it's Robert DeNiro, I'm not good at remembering names, but there's a line. His young son is getting into trouble. Now he’s starting to get into making friends with the wrong people and all that. And he sees it and he's cornered. You know, he takes him aside one day and he says, those people aren't your heroes. He said, the guys that go to work every day, day after day and do what's right. Those are your heroes. Those are the ones that you should look up to. And that's what you should start doing, not these guys that make the easy money. And I never forgotten that too. And it's funny, the things you remember, the things you forget, but I think that's true. 


 

Anne Heywood:

I think it's very true. Not everybody who's a hero or does things really hard is recognized and so forth, but that's okay. I mean, I'm not looking necessarily for recognition. I'm just, I'm looking for happiness, like everybody else. And to walk away from a company after my husband spent 40 something years of his life working there, and it meant a lot to him, would have just been walking away and I could have, but I didn't. And I'm happy with that decision. But I want to get back to painting more. I can't help it. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

How did you meet your husband? 


 

Anne Heywood:

Oh boy. If he was here, he would really have a good story for you. Anyway, my sister is about, well, I have to say she's eight years older than me. It's not a big deal, except when you're young it’s a big deal. So he was a friend of my sister's and he was actually a friend of my sister's boyfriend, now husband, for many, many years. So they used to hang around a lot, all three of them. I hate to say it, it sounds funny, but it's true. And so he would come over and my mom would be there and my mom was very sociable. She loved young people. She loved to talk to them, sit down, we'll have a cup of tea and you’ll tell me what you've been doing kind of thing. So he knew my mom and he knew me and I was like, I was eight when he was 16, so not even in the cards. Nowhere near that. So I left not quite like that, but years later when I was 16 my mom was gone. 


 

Anne Heywood:

My dad remarried and my dad had a job, it was a promotion. He worked for the Navy, but we were Navy. So he was promoted to a position in Naples, Italy. Even though I had all my friends, I had to leave them and I was not happy about it at the time I ended up going to Naples, Italy and finishing my high school and so forth and so on. Then I stayed there for over all, 12 years, had my son there and married, had my son there and all that, and then came back to the States and stayed with my sister at first because I mean, I really didn't have a job before I left or anything. I was looking for a job and all that. And so he came over because he was still friends with her and her husband of course. 


 

Anne Heywood:

And he came over to visit. And, well, I guess the rest is history. So he hadn't seen me for years and I hadn't seen him for years, but it's funny. I mean, there was a, there was a connection there that you know, he was from so long ago, I felt very comfortable with him and vice versa. So he was somebody I could trust and you know, all that. Well, like I said, the rest is history. I think we were married, officially married, for 30 something years. So that's the way it goes funny, huh? He was a great supporter of my art. I can not tell you. He would come with me to the International Pastel Society conventions. And I was at the point where I was one of the speakers there. I gave a workshop there so forth and so on and he would, and there, there was, they didn't have one base, it was held usually mid-country so everyone wouldn’t be too far from it. So Kansas city one time, Arizona, different places. He would take  a week off of work and that means a lot, because he was not one for doing that, and he would come with me to the convention.  


 

Anne Heywood:

And of course he wouldn't sit around doing nothing and just have fun going out alone or, you know, wait until I got out and all that. He volunteered to be at the registration desk. And it was really funny because he made it become something he looked forward to. He would meet everyone because of obviously where he was, everybody had to check in and register. And then he made pals with these other guys who were doing the same thing. 


 

Anne Heywood:

They were there with their spouses. And so they volunteered to be there. And they were great. They were really funny because his, my husband's name is Bob and then another guy's name was Bob and they called him a wannabe Bob or something like that. So he had fun and then he would come to so many openings and so forth that were local or whatever. And you know, be right there all the time, you know, helped me get my stuff to a show or whatever all the time. One of the things I want to pass along is that he noticed when he was at the international registration desk, that combination of artist and engineers being married was uncommonly higher than other combinations of people who had different careers, like artists, marrying artists or whatever he made it. 


 

Anne Heywood:

And I've looked for that actually, because he's mentioned it and I've found it too. There were a lot of people that it must be opposites attract or I don't know. It’s really funny to see his side of things. He would critique my work when I asked him to, and sometimes the comment didn't do anything for me. It's like, okay, fine. I don't want to hear that one. And then other times it'd be like, yes I like it. And then other times it could be, I don't like it. And so I would take it like getting outside my art world and see what every man thought about it. And it was nice to have some feedback like that because it never really, it never upset me or anything. 


 

Anne Heywood:

It was more like, yes well, sometimes I'd say I don't care if you don't like it. I do. So that's the end of that. Other times it'd be like, Hmm, let me think about that. And, you know, get him to tell me why more than anything else. He was a real supporter. I have to say, if not for him, I wouldn't have achieved as many things as I've achieved in my late start to my art career. So I think everybody needs somebody like that. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I agree. Is he also your connection to Maine? 


 

Anne Heywood:

He is, or should I still say is yes. Yeah. So yes, his mother and father had a real Maine camp. What I mean by that is outhouse and two rooms. No, actually one was started up. No, it was two rooms and we were invited to go up and stay there when they were there at first and I remember the first time we went up and I was, it was like, we made the biggest mistake. 


 

Anne Heywood:

We took Route One all the way. And I thought, oh my God, where is this place? You know, is it worth it? But when I got there, it was like, this is worth it. This is gorgeous, right on the Damariscotta Lake, a humble little place, but right there. And It just, the whole place to me was magical as far as I can paint that I could do that. Hmm. That looks like a good, you know. So we eventually ended up purchasing a piece of land, site on scene for back taxes that my father-in-law found out about because he knew we were looking and then we built what's there on it for the most part, but not all of it. And then I could come up whenever, you know, even if he didn't, couldn't get away from work, it's like, I'm going. 


 

Anne Heywood:

So I spent one summer there and just painted and it was wonderful. He would come up and visit weekends and it was tough on him for that. Cause it's a long drive from where we are. It's a good four hour drive in the summer that can stretch to six. But it was great. And then of course I've painted after, after that. I mean, all you see practically form me are Maine scenes really, it's funny, but it's just inspiring to me. I love nature and I love the quiet and you know, the lack of traffic sometimes not in a summer, let's not count that part, but all of that.  Of course now it's a whole bunch of memories which can't beat, you know, good memories for the most part, going out in the kayak, I love doing that. I did a scene from how it looks sitting in a kayak, you know, the point of the kayak, the blue water and what was beyond it. I really liked those ones. It puts you right there, but it's every, as I told you, I have so many stories, but every painting has a story behind it. I don't just paint something because it's pretty, it's all got something else to it for me. I just, I enjoy it. It's it's me. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yeah. I think that in some of the information you provided, you referenced a haystack series.


 

Anne Heywood:

Yes. I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about that, and it doesn't have a haystack in it. It's more for the idea of, I'm going to do the scene at the end of the day. We have a wharf that goes out in the lake, meaning it goes out and gets you out further than shore. And my husband and I used to meet there at, I think it was six o'clock every evening when we were both here and meet with my glass of wine, him with his camera or whatever, and sit and watch the sun go down. And there's a little island. It's not a very long view as far as very deep view, but we were on a part of the lake that's called a narrow, so kind of shallow, but there is a look of, you know, on golden pond-ish to it because there's an island not very far.


 

Anne Heywood:

In fact I've often thought that would make a great studio just to, you know, pull up the moat. There's no moat, but anyway, and I've seen that and that sunset and so many different times of the year and so many different colors and so many different weather conditions and so forth that I've been talking for at least five years about I'm going to do a series, I'm going to do a series. Cause I love it. It just, in fact, I started out doing it without realizing what I was doing. I would, I had a whole bunch of different paintings and then somebody pointed out to me, oh, you like that scene? I guess. And I looked and I looked and I looked and I thought Rica, I do. So when then I thought I'm going to continue it purposely. So every year I say, this is the year. So this is the year when I really hope I actually do it. I will, I have something up, I have things in mind and all that. So I'm going to do it. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yes. My observation of you is that you're a pretty determined individual. So if you say you're going to do something, I have no doubt that you will. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Well, I have to stay realistic. I only have so much time. I only have so many days. I get just like everybody else, you know, 24/7, that's it. But if I keep that thought it'll happen, I just have to stop beating myself up about not doing it yet. It's okay. It's fine. And I'll bet when I do do it, it's going to be even better than it would've been if I forced it. I can't force my paintings. You know, it doesn't work. I've tried that, it just doesn't work. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I look forward to seeing it. 


 

Anne Heywood:

I do too. 


 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Maybe the next time you and I talk you'll be able to show it to me. That would be good. I've been speaking with artist Anne Heywood. You can see her art at the Portland Art Gallery. Hopefully at some point in the not too distant future, you'll see her haystack series. That will be very wonderful to see. I've enjoyed my conversation today with you. And I encourage people to get to know you a little bit. And I think your work is wonderful and you are wonderful as well. 


 

Anne Heywood:

Thank you. Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.