If Annette Turow seems somewhat reserved in person, it might be because her emotions spill onto the canvas in her mixed-media art.
Layering acrylic paint, oils, pastels, sand, pigments and oil sticks with nostalgic collage pieces such as old paper dolls and dress patterns, the rich texture of her pieces takes the viewer back in time.
Annette describes her pieces as abstract, emotional expressions of her life encounters—spiritual, familial and intellectual. in recent years, her work has grown more and more about memory.
“As I felt them, the sensations grew strong, and I was able to paint them,” she says, describing one of her pieces.
It’s no wonder that Annette followed her heart into art from the very beginning. She earned a degree in art education from the University of Illinois and a master’s in education from Stanford.
Annette has been a working artist, consistently producing new pieces, for the past 30 years, and she has shown her work in galleries in New York and Chicago.
In 2006, Annette published a Haggadah, the prayer book for the Jewish Passover service, the culmination of three years of studying and creating works based on her own recollections of her family’s ritual.
“I could not find a book that re-created the richness I recalled,” she says. She calls it one of the most satisfying projects of her career.
Another source of satisfaction is sharing her talent as a volunteer. She was president of the District 39 Educational Foundation that benefits Wilmette schools and also a mom who was willing to pitch in.
“I was the artist for whatever they needed,” she says, recalling her time as a volunteer in the community where she raised her three children. She also taught for several years at the Evanston Art Center, opened her studio to class trips, and mentored New Trier seniors and local student teachers.
“If children are allowed to be creative during the day, they are better learners,” she says. “Art uses a different part of your brain that other subjects don’t reach. It’s essential for good education.”
“Being an artist has provided me with a wonderful identity and it’s a source of happiness,” she says. “Any opportunity to share that, I love to do.”
Annette’s Haggadah can be purchased at the Rena Sternberg Gallery in Glencoe, the Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka and the gift shop in the Spertus Museum downtown.
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