Anna Warren is one of those women you could talk to for hours. She has so many stories to share that are both interesting and inspirational. Chatting with Anna about her background, her work as an artist and her passions there is one very strong common theme, the sea.
Anna was born in Eden, on the far south coast of NSW, and after years of travelling the world she again finds herself back in Eden today. Why? She says she loves the solitude.
“Eden really is an incredible place. You can have the entire beach to yourself. Everything is always changing, especially with the migratory patterns of the local sea life including the whales,” Anna said.
Anna has a strong connection with the ocean and its marine life. There’s no doubt it was instilled in her from a very early age. Her father was an Eden fisherman who in 1982, when Anna was just 12 years old, almost lost his life at sea.
“My father and his two mates were out on one of their fishing trips. I distinctly remember my mother looking out our lounge room window at the Eden Wharf in the distance. He should have been back. The following day was market day. He should have been back,” she recalls.
His boat, the Imlay, had capsized leaving him and his two friends drifting at sea in an inflatable. Three men, an inflatable, six days afloat in Bass Strait. As luck would have it they were rescued safely by an RAAF plane and passing container ship.
“This has had a big impact on my life and makes me realise you can never take the ocean for granted. Its expanse and power is beautiful, but treacherous at the same time,” Anna continued.
Her deep connections to the sea form the basis of most of her artworks.
“The ocean is always the starting point for my works. Whether it’s onshore on the beaches where small microscopic creatures on the sand become my focus, or out at sea drifting along the currents which shows the true power and expanse of the ocean.
“Most of my inspiration comes from being out there. The ocean changes every day. Sometimes the water is silky smooth, at other times it’s rough with large crashing waves. I love the Albatross, jelly fish and the whales. I’ve had some amazing encounters with whales,” Anna continued.
She’s been painting for many years and in 2011 opened her own gallery, Full Fathom Five, down at the Eden Wharf in Snug Cove. Whales are a fairly new addition to her artworks but it’s not really any wonder. The marine mammals are in her blood with her Grandfather being one of the last of Eden’s whale chasers.
She also previously worked as a hostess on local Eden whale watching boat, Cat Balou, and today some of the locals refer to her as an ‘extreme whale watcher.’ Her and partner Peter often head out to sea to whale watch from a (somewhat small) rubber duck.
“We’ve had some crazy times at sea. We live for October-November when so many whales are heading south. Sometimes we have to go a fair way out, other times there are many whales very close to shore. Last year there were 12 pods of whales just in Eden’s Twofold Bay.
“The whale encounters can be amazing. Once we had a calf come right up tho our boat and just play around it for half an hour.
“I love their graceful movement. They have an incredible acrobatic ability and a real awareness of each other in a group. They just glide around each other despite their size,” she continued.
Anna says she had been encouraged to paint whales for quite some time but felt there’s already so much great whale photography around. She likes to look at them a little differently and isn’t really into the obvious take on capturing whales breaching.
“I’ve taken to painting whales in their own environment, under the water. And combine my images of whales with small fish, jellyfish and the tiny plankton that they eat.”
“The Eden Whale Festival is great, it’s really lots of fun. It brings the locals out and people visit Eden from all over. This year sees the Endeavour will also be back. That’s a real win for the festival,” Anna concluded.
For more information on Anna Warren and her works, visit www.annawarren.com.au