Brightscape (A Morning Show) by Anna Marie Crovetti. Mixed media, iridescent pastel, razor on Fabriano paper. Crovetti said the work was inspired by “our best friend in the whole world,” the late 93XRT host Lin Brehmer, who died Jan. 22. “Take nothing for granted.” Credit: Anna Marie Crovetti

Anna Marie Crovetti is never at a loss for ideas of what to create. She feels surrounded by messages and has hundreds of photos, sketches and notes collected to spark an idea for her next piece of art. In fact, unlike many artists, she decides on the title of a piece before she starts her creation.

Artist Anna Marie Crovetti in her studio Credit: Keith Olson

Crovetti creates art using unconventional combinations of paint and dry and soft pigments on paper. The art paper she chooses varies; the possibilities include anything from velvety French and Italian printmaking papers to handmade watercolor and drawing papers. 

She has multiple brands and “zillions” of colors of dry pigments consisting of soft pastels, watercolors, charcoal or pencils. Pastel powdered pigments are applied on the top surface layer of her work. They’re made from ground-up earth minerals and formed with a binder into sticks or pencils, or pressed into pans. 

While Crovetti creates many commissioned portraits, her current creations are mainly images drawn from her preoccupation with what is seen and happening around her. Many of her works have centered around nature, but today more include topics she cannot ignore in these volatile times. 

She finds herself responding to these personal “calls” with more intention than ever before. With thoughts pinballing around her head, she is driven to create her next image. With a rush of adrenalin, an image will suddenly demand she begin a new artwork.

Elizabeth, Lucy & Charlee by Anna Marie Crovetti. Private collection. Mixed media on Rives grey paper. Credit: Anna Marie Crovetti

She works in a third-story studio in her townhouse home. The morning is her time to process what she will do for the day while she waits for the sun to rise high enough to light her west-facing studio. Once good natural light is available, she begins working on a new piece, and usually works until the light is too low in the late afternoon or early evening. 

Ascent by Anna Marie Crovetti. Hand-embellished limited edition giclée print. Credit: Anna Marie Crovetti

Crovetti starts by pulling out materials and creating a chaotic energy of papers, mediums and images. Then she soaks paper in water and stretches it on a board until dry. Next she blocks in large areas of the image using watercolor washes but leaves some white areas that will be used for highlights later.

With her soft pastels, she begins by applying dark pigments and then works toward lighter-colored pigments. Choosing the colors and how she blends them comes from Crovetti’s years of experience with how or if they will move well together. When she blends, she might use her hands, blending stumps, erasers, brushes, pencils, razor blades or other tools to create the look she is working toward. 

Between layers, she applies spray fixative with a light touch, so as not to disturb the pigments. The fixative allows Crovetti to add more layers of color without causing additional, unintentional blending. After the image is complete, either the same day or several days later, she adds a final fixative layer. 

Each pastel is then matted and framed using care to avoid the pastels being wiped or moved, which would damage the image. With the new artwork completed, Crovetti eliminates the studio chaos by cleaning the pastel dust and returning supplies to their storage area. 

Crovetti’s studio and pastels Credit: Anna Marie Crovetti

This returns her studio to a tidy, quiet breath of space she adores. Snuggling into her cozy chair, Crovetti looks through the art, books and other inspirational items she has gathered there and revels in the calm – until her next work of art springs forward, begging to be created.

After having her business based here for many years, Crovetti moved to Evanston recently. She thinks the Evanston community believes musicians, artists and writers are an essential part of a complete, spirited community, and organizations like Evanston Made help bring this arts focus to the forefront.

To learn more about Crovetti, visit her website, or, where she shares her other interest, the humane treatment of animals. Also, find her on Instagram @amcrovetti or on her Evanston Made page

Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham retired from the business world and is now enjoying the next phase, including writing about local artists to increase awareness of Evanston’s amazing art community.

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  1. Anna is a great artist, can create anything she set’s her mind to. Anna has a great soul, she give’s so much and never ask for anything. I’m a good friend of Anna and I needed to tell her this. I miss u Anna I’m sorry for saying some things I should not have. I owe so much to u🌹😔