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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ana Marie Morales, Renaissance-style painter, beautifies surroundings

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At the front of the Renaissance Subdivision near the corner of Sewell Mill Road and Monte Drive stands Ana Marie Morales, an expressionistic artist. It is 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but Morales, sporting a woolen scarf and warm jacket, does not seem to mind the elements.

Looking nothing like Michelangelo on scaffolding under the dome of the Sistine Chapel, Morales and her cans of concrete stains are shielded by a black, makeshift, plastic tent while the sun shines on her masterpieces.

"My company, Art by Ana, can do murals, portraits, interior and exterior painting as well as faux cabinet work, " she said. The only thing she refrains from doing is painting on tile. Her major project today, though, is redoing fine art on cement previously painted on boards bolted to concrete surfaces. She's also redoing paintings ruined by tagger vandals and is replacing her portrait of Mona Lisa with a tranquil scene from Italy which will be overlaid by a graffiti-proof glaze.

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Morales found it hard to select her favorite piece on the street, but leaned toward the fountain scene. She refrains from cutting corners when it comes to perfection and believes artists, even those who are starving, are led by passion.

"I'm hopeful that I will not have to do these over again," Morales said. Her project was delayed once when the subdivision owners had her remove a painting of five women which they said had too much of a religious theme. Homes in the subdivision start at $1 million.

A 1988 graduate of SCAD in Savannah, Morales said her parents are from Puerto Rico, and she grew up in New York. Divorced and raising three kids, she said her favorite artists are Picasso, Cezanne, and Frida Kahlo. She said her surrealism style is evident in her work. Her favorite art teacher was from Czechoslovakia.

Timid about posing for photographs herself, Morales does promote her work and said her strengths are draftsmanship and drawing. She is a graduate of Sprayberry High School and has lived 30 years in Cobb County, Ga.

Morales has to pause several times a day from working on her murals to chat with drivers who constantly stop to ask for her card and to examine her portfolio which is near her at all times.

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Thomas Levine (l) stopped by to criticize taggers who ruined some of her pieces earlier this year and said he is going to hire her for an airbrushing project. "Her hand is so intricate," Levine said. "Many local residents have been admiring her work and will be commissioning her art."

Morales is her own business woman but has a network of artistic friends to call on to help her on major projects. "My profession is difficult sometimes, but I believe that you must do something you love everyday to get closer to your goal.

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"Keep creating," she recommends. "You may have to take another job to make ends meet sometimes, but keep doing that art!"

©2011 Tomi Johnson. All rights reserved.

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