The Calming Canvas

Local artist quiets her mind through painting

By Jodi Werner Greenwald | Photos courtesy of Ann J. Travis

South Charlotte resident Ann J. Travis is a member of the ArtPop Street Gallery Class of 2024. Her oil painting “Spring Tulips” now adorns billboards in Ballantyne Village and other spots throughout the Queen City, regionally and nationally. Painting helps her still her active mind. The chief financial officer for local restaurant design and consulting firm Starr Design shares with us her creative process.

What inspires you about botanical and coastal subjects?

With botanicals, I love to explore the patterns and colors created by nature. And I’ve always had a deep love for the beach. I find a sense of peace at the coast that I only find otherwise through my painting.

Tell us about your creative process.

Some pieces I sketch out, some I just jump right in. I’ve learned to keep a journal with how I’ve mixed the colors for each piece and notes on how I’ve gotten a certain look. It has been invaluable many times when I want to recreate a shade I used or a mood I captured.

What does the ArtPop class entail for you?

In addition to the advertising, there are many educational and networking opportunities such as an “Artists U” small business class and pop-up shows.

What are you working on next?

I’m wrapping up illustrations for a children’s book, which I hope will be released later this spring. The characters are out of my usual wheelhouse, so it’s been a fun passion project. I’m also working on a commercial plaster project, which has been an exciting challenge.

How does painting help quiet your active mind?

When I [work] on a painting, I’m hyper-focused on that detail, and it drowns out the normal mental running commentary. Creating gives me a sense of tranquility, which is infused into all my paintings and hopefully creates the same sense for my collector.

Anything else you want to share?

I didn’t find my passion until I started painting about four years ago. It’s funny how something can be inside of you, and you may not even be aware of it. So it’s never too late to try new things!

Follow Ann J. Travis’ work at, on social media @annjtravisart and at Coffey & Thompson Gallery in Charlotte.

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