FROZENTEARS.ORG GETS TO KNOW ANNE LLOYD
Many followers of Romanov history have become familiar with the work of Anne Lloyd. Her work has touched the hearts of many as she captivates the spirit of the family, as well as their companions. Ms. Lloyd has kindly agreed to share some time with us here at Frozentears.org and answer some questions about her work and her passion.
||Thank you Ms. Lloyd for taking the time to talk to us about your work! So tell me, how long have you been studying the Romanovs, and what got you initially
||It's an honor to be sure, Laura. Thank you!
That's always an interesting question, how someone discovers the family.
Many years ago when I was a teenager, I read Robert Massie's "Nicholas and Alexandra". So I
have been interested in the Romanovs for well over 40 years. But during that time I
would go though quiet periods as well. After a long time of other pursuits, I ran into Romanov tributes on YouTube, in the Fall of 2009.
It was like an explosion in my heart and mind...and here I am, engaged in Romanov work full time and loving it.
But back when I first became interested in the family, there was nothing like your
marvelous FrozenTears site or the wonderful Alexander Palace Time Machine forum of
course. It's amazing to me to be in contact with those from around the world just
as interested in the family as myself and I love how on the forums one can post any question and
have experts answer! I'm on the AP most evenings as blessOTMA
When did you start painting the Imperial Family? What inspired you to pick up the brush?
I have been a ceramic artist since I was child really. My work is published in the
Lark Craft Book series, and I have sold many hand made tiles and ceramic clocks. My
background is clay. However, clay is very a labor intensive art form and my arthritis
increasingly made it more difficult. In 2009, during my last Christmas craft show, I
suddenly felt the need to paint the Big Pair on canvas in their nurse uniforms from
1915, as opposed to always doing my clay tasks. I would often sneak into the attic,
now studio, to paint this first picture. After the Christmas season, I
could go to full time painting, and that's what I have been doing since. My clay
friends couldn't believe it and said I had to return to clay! But when they saw the
finished Big Pair painting, they said "keep painting"!
I have no training in painting. The Big Pair are the 2nd and 3rd human faces I have
painted. How I have been able to reach this level from the beginning is a mystery
to me and rather stunning. But has to be based on having a long art career,
whatever the medium. and, I feel this strongly, 40 plus years of looking at the
family's photos. It's like all that looking is uncoiling.
But I told a friend, "I want them to be seen". I felt that many paintings of the family
often do not look like them, at least, in how I viewed them. I think you have to know
what the Romanovs looked like in order to get the full benefit of my art work. So it's
really for fellow enthusiasts.
Has your perceptions changed since painting the family?
Yes, I use to think the children all looked different. Now I see the striking
similarities. I recently realized how much Marie and the older Alexis look alike,
and how much Olga could look like her mother, how much Anastasia and Tatiana look
alike. It's fascinating. |
||Sometimes, when one reads a book, they read the words and gather the history as information.
It seems that when you read a book, you "read" the history in images. In the past, you have mentioned how you found Alix's final diary full of images, yet for some, that diary seems dry and monotonous. Do these historic snapshots play out in your paintings?|
I guess I'm visually orientated. I had heard that about Alix's diary and when you
look at it, it does seem like a book of lists and notes. But I ran into this line from July 3rd 1918: "Before supper Maria & Niuta washed my head", well instantly I can see Marie's strong arms and hands towelling Alix's head from behind, while Anna Stepanovna Demidova, Alix's maid, holds a basin. Alix's face appears from behind a curtain of red and grey hair and they are all laughing. So that's what I mean by it's full of images.
||Of all the images that flash before you, how to you choose which one to paint?
||The images very much choose me. While near the end of a painting, the next photo to
be painted comes to mind. It has an irresistible pull and then begins what I
call, "giving up its secrets". I can't help but paint it then, I want to show my
discoveries. My last completed painting was based on the 1915 photo of the three eldest
daughters. They were dressed for the last state funeral of Imperial Russia. The photo is
amazing and in almost every painting session something else about the photo was revealed to
me...And this was a photo I have known from the beginning. It's in Massie's book!
But when you are painting a photo, you are not just looking at it. Everything must
make sense on the canvas, and so you search out, what one may simply gloss over when
just looking. One of the first discoveries I made was Marie's left hand is holding
her elder sister Olga's right forearm...her thumb on Olga's arm is visible. How had
I missed that before? It adds such a touch of warmth, something for which Marie was
famous. The three represent a solid wall of sisterhood and one can see Marie is
taking her place as a pillar of the family. But there where countless other
previously unnoticed things about the photo that appeared almost every step of the
It took 8 months to paint. But even with the difficulties, it was a wonderful
journey throughout. I love painting and I love painting the Romanovs.
Your progress on each piece is captured in dedicatory videos. What made you decide to film your progress?
||Because I was untrained, I wanted to record the process to help me understand what
was happening, so I took photos along the way. After a few weeks, I realized the
photos of progress shown in a time line, would make a great video, like the
painting was emerging.
My YouTube friend, IAmHelenKeller, helped me to make the video plunge. All my
videos are simple slide shows types from an older version of movie maker. It was
only during making my third video, I realized I could edit the music! I love
showing a painting within the subject's story. Every painting has a video.
Your work not only includes the family, but also their companions, such as
Dr. Botkin. Your video (see here) was quite moving. What inspired
you to paint people outside of the family?
||You know it's only now after you asked that I even realized I have done drawings
outside the family. I often think of Dr. Botkin and the others who died with the
Romanovs as not simply servants or retainers. They shared the Romanov's fate and
are buried with them. That is a special bond indeed! But I always had a soft spot
for Dr.Botkin. When I read the contents of Dr.Botkin's last letter to his brother
written just before his death, it moved me, the direction of my Romanov art
greatly changed and expanded.
While reading his letter, the situation in July 1918 suddenly became, not just a sad
story, but something terribly perilous and current, like was happening now. This
man of science feels death and the after life closing in. He describes to his
brother intense physic experiences, he has taken to heart and at face value. "This
is not a hallucination" he writes. He says he had these experiences "when I was
calmly reading..." that tells me there was times when he was not calm. He's fully
aware of what will happen .
I wanted to do a video about it. But there are not that many photos of Dr. Botkin,
that I knew of at the time. However images caused by his letter came into my mind
so strongly, I had to draw them. And if I tried to change what I "saw", the
drawings did not work.
Dr. Botin's glasses appeared to me like headlights on that night and one sees that
in the drawings. So for the first time I did art work for a video, rather than a
video about art work! I finished the video in about two days of part time
work...it's constructed along classic lines for creative work, which I was following
without knowing it at the time and I believe it's most people's favorite of my
videos. That's how you can tell inspiration, spirit, whatever you want to call it
is present. Its earmarks are unmistakable and people feel it.
Your work is quite popular, I'm sure you've been approached by many Romanov enthusiasts for a piece, do you take commissions?
||I have kindly been offered commissions, but because I look for direction from
inside, I must refuse requests from the outside. Also I can't part with my Romanov
paintings! However I will be offering prints in the near future. For instance, all
my OTMA 1914 portraits on a single poster.
So what can we expect from Ms. Lloyd in the future? and how can we keep track of your work?
||I have so many Romanov art project ideas, it's amazing to me. My next painting
will be of Anastasia in AP park in the spring of 1917 and so it's the first one in
captivity. Currently I'm working on 2 videos... one is of Romanov drawings that I'm
pretty excited about. I have outlined children's books, but I will be producing a book of
Romanov drawings called, Romanov Sketchbook. Also something like a graphic novel
of the last days, where we don't have photos. Dr. Botkins's last letter is like a
chapter from that. Plus art dolls, really small statures, that would utilize my
sculpting abilities are a possibility.
So watch for me! You can keep track of my work at annie-stayathomeartist.blogspot.com
ANNE LLOYD: THE GALLERY