The first time Anelecia Hannah ’05 remembers drawing her younger sister, Anelecia was 13 and Nellie was 4. Watching Nellie play in a swimming pool, Anelecia noticed that every time Nellie came up at the edge of the pool, she had a similar expression on her face. Anelecia started sketching that face.
“She was one of the first people I ever drew,” she says. “When she was little, she wouldn’t stay still at all, so I had to find the pose she would take over and over again to figure out what her face looked like.”
Now, Nellie is a senior biology and ecology major at Seattle Pacific University. Anelecia lives in Columbus, Georgia, painting and working part-time as a studio manager. In the summer of 2012, Anelecia had just gotten engaged, and Nellie was headed to SPU. Anelecia wanted to capture that moment of transition in their lives by creating a portrait of them together. The two figures appear suspended in time between youth and adulthood, with awkwardly posed, childish bodies, and grown-up facial expressions. Some elements of the painting are real; some are “fictional.”
“The SPU T-shirt my sister is wearing doesn’t really exist,” Anelecia says. “It’s a version of an SPU shirt that I had. The logo becomes a torch over my sister’s heart.”
Anelecia worked from drawings, from life, and from memory to create the painting.
“Our eyes don’t see the same way that a camera sees,” she says. “The act of painting, for me, is slowing down to see.” View more of her work at anelecia.com.