Ande Hall's artwork is mesmerizingly beautiful. I am drawn to her subject matter, which is usually nature or animals. My eyes and imagination follow the lines, color and pattern which make Hall's work so gorgeous and unique. She says of her images, “I enjoy interpreting familiar animals in unexpected ways.”

Hall and I were recently talking about her work, and I was trying to remember when we met. I assumed it had to do with showing her work on Third Thursday, which I probably begged her to do because I was so enchanted with her paintings.

As we reminisced, I learned of Hall’s career as a veterinarian being shaped by her love of animals from an early age. She began to draw animals as soon as she could hold a crayon.

“Even though my family did not have any pets when I was small, I was always drawn to animals. I loved my stuffed animals. I read books about animals. I made friends with neighbors' pets. I spent hours in the woods searching for salamanders, observing toads. I started drawing animals when I was 4. Mostly horses. I was a horse-crazy kid. And I don't think I ever sat on a horse until I went to YMCA camp when I was 10,” Hall said.

Hall practiced veterinary medicine in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her life’s and love’s journey led her to Pratt, and later to our very own Hutchinson, where we are glad to have her as part of our artist community.

Fairly recently, she left her veterinary practice and became a full-time artist.

Hall is steady and prolific with her art, as she frequently posts about new work she is creating, often inviting her followers to chime in about background colors and fabric patterns in her paintings.

Hall and I share a love of fabrics, and that love goes back to an appreciation of costume and clothing. Though Hall and I use fabric in different ways, we share a fascination and joy with incorporating them into our art. She reminisced about fabrics and patterns, which led to me learning that Hall, along with her other artistic talents, is also a seamstress and a ballroom dancer!

“My use of patterned fabric has a somewhat complex and convoluted history," Hall said. "I taught ballroom dance professionally for several years when I was in Santa Fe. I did it in the evenings after my kids were in high school. I would come home from a day at my clinic, change, and go straight to the studio. During those years, I also began to design and sell ball gowns. I accumulated fabrics and rhinestones. When I moved to Kansas to marry my husband, I decided to explore the world of art, and since I had an extensive fabric supply, I started incorporating fabric into my early paintings. My first large fabric painting was a flamingo that was made using floral chiffon that I had left over from a geisha-themed ball gown.”

The natural progress of having such beautiful materials around and blending their use into her current artwork flows with perfection.

"I have always loved patterns and textures of fabric, and over the years I have done quite a bit of costume design and sewing, which resulted in a rather large inventory of unused fabric that I have hauled around the country. It was sort of inevitable that I would end up using fabric in my art," Hall said.

As a visual person, Hall says so many things move her and compel her to create.

“It is enormously gratifying when my creation succeeds in moving, touching, and especially, amusing another human being. Modern life has become increasingly frenetic and technological; my wish is that my handmade paintings can bring some beauty and wonder into a space, as well as a little levity," Hall said.

Jennifer Randall, a Hutchinson artist and organizer of Third Thursday, writes an arts and entertainment column for The Hutchinson News. Reach her at jenrandallart@yahoo.com.