Anne Herrero’s drawings and paintings include still lives, portraits, landscapes, and figures. Herrero is interested in creating timeless and universal images. Her work is novelistic – she treats her figures as characters, draws on myths and shared stories to inform still lives, and constructs scenes in landscapes. Herrero tries to consume culture with intention through books and music. Sometimes, Herrero directly illustrates lyrics from songs; other times, she has a book in mind as she goes about her daily life until she comes across something that resonates with the feeling of the story. For example, after reading Willa Cather, Herrero saw a barn on a hill whose desolate quality embodied Antonia. This informed choices regarding her palette and composition and ultimately heavily influenced the finished painting.
Herrero generally paints from life, imagination, and sometimes from photograph. She often builds maquettes and has elaborate studio set ups that involve mannequins and multiple lighting scenarios. Working in this manner is interesting to Herrero because it often leads to images that have an eerie quality wherein something seems not-quite-right. Using multiple sources allows Herrero to maintain a curiosity that keeps her interested in the image. It is important to Herrero to make paintings and drawings that are earnest. One of Herrero’s favorite writers, Jim Harrison, was quoted as saying,
“I like grit, I like love and death…a lot of good fiction is sentimental…the novelist who refuses sentiment refuses the full spectrum of human behavior, and then he just dries up…I would rather give full vent to all human loves and disappointments, and take the chance on being corny…”
This statement sums up Herrero’s approach to painting. She likes paintings that give her a sense of comfort by revealing something about what it means to be human. For Herrero, this is an ultimate goal and at the heart of why she draws and paints.