Edwards, A

Anna grew up in New York City, and lived on Sugar Hill. The Sugar Hill Neighborhood is a small enclave, north of Harlem.

Sugar Hill in the 1950s and 1960s was an exciting place to grow up. Anna heard stories of all of the famous African Americans who had lived in the neighborhood during the glamour of the Harlem Renaissance. That pride was pervasive.

Edwards' Sugar Hill neighborhood was home to Duke Ellington, his sidemen Harry Carney, Johnny Hodges and Russell Procope. Her neighbors, Helen and Russell Procope, adopted her as the child they didn’t have. They opened up a whole new world for Anna, of jazz and the musicians who made the music come alive not only for Edwards, but for the neighborhood and the world. 

Transformation of the Hill started in the 1940s as many Blacks began the journey to the St. Albans area in Queens, New York. African Americans soon spread west to Riverside Drive, south to Lincoln Center and North to Riverdale. The many musicians who stayed, kept jazz alive around Sugar Hill.

Edwards says "The Neighborhood, the Music and the Musicians influenced my art when I started painting some 25 years later. The urban landscape has been my focus, because cities have always held a special fascination for me, acquired from traveling up and down the east coast from Buffalo to Richmond with Grandmother Edwards,  and I endeavor to give that environment an emphatic and personal quality". "Connecting to the music, the musicians, the energy and the people of Sugar Hill and beyond is a constant source of inspiration for me.

Edwards says “The sights and sounds of the urban landscape weave a distinctive tapestry of color and texture throughout my work. Painting city scenes triggers the memory and emotions of travel from Sugar Hill and beyond. I want the viewer to be drawn into the work, spending time looking and experiencing what a city is, stimulating their imagination”. Anna’s goal is to engage the viewer in a visceral way, hearing the noise, breathing in the smells and feeling the place one feels visiting a city for the first, fourth or fortieth time. 

Edwards asks "How does one put on canvas the intensity of one’s experience?  That has been an ongoing challenge. My paintings from 2006 onward are from a continuing series of contemplation and reflection on Light, whether the blush of sunlight on dissimilar landscapes, such as The Kenyan savanna, Grand Canyon and Death Valley or the majestic nature of the 2008 California Fires which depicts the color, power, chaos, serenity and devastation that ensued."

Tim H: 14x14

Edwards says "These later works are from a series I continue to revisit,  “The Light Bearers”, deliverers of Light and purveyors of inspiration, & wisdom, these gatherers of Light have planted seeds helping us tap into our true source of inspiration. Our enlightenment and illumination is from within. The Light from within speaks to us individually yet; there are those special souls around us, The Light Bearers, who inspire us through their writings, art, music, poetry, living, teaching and inventions. The paintings in this series are exploring the spiritual landscape of the individual. While many are my particular and personal stories, they are also universal. My intent is to pay homage to a few of those extraordinary individuals, public and private who have led the way for my spiritual and artistic growth and have been an inspiration to many. As an artist my work has been influenced by travel. Exploring the Urban Landscape through travel, walking city streets, visiting museums and  local eateries connected me with the locals and as I began to see the landscape of cities and people, I felt that these manifestations reflected the consciousness of the communities.

As I spent time exploring and watching my own experiences unfold, I began to see how there was a direct correlation between what happened in the outer and my inner thought patterns. As this exploration continues, my artwork is focusing more on the Spiritual landscape of the individual. My aim is to produce paintings that are soothing and comforting to see and enjoy.  In my Spiritual quest I have begun  to see each person and event as a link in the chain for my continued growth.

Exploring the universal Spiritual Landscape and my own journey of Spiritual growth. I share this work, inviting you to look beyond the formal qualities of the work, and enjoy the surface, textures and the intricate subtleties up close to view and see what I appreciate as I am creating the works, the details one cannot realize from afar.





  All images copyrighted ŠAnna W. Edwards 2014 • 1933 Davis Street #214 San Leandro, CA 94577