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Behind the art Anna Vanover has created thousands of works of ar t. Here’s the story behind three of them:

• Two clay sculptures depicting German shepherd police dogs, were commissioned by a police officer. One of the dogs, killed in the line of duty, was the officer’s beloved partner. “I love the stories behind these commissions. Everyone wants to tell you their story, and I find that endearing in our world today.”

A Riverside resident since 2003, Vanover recently completed a unique holiday assignment for Riverside Magazine and the Riverside Art Museum — painting scenes of Riverside and its iconic symbols on the raincross bell that normally rests above the museum’s front door. Earlier in her career, Vanover, 45, mostly painted portraits of animals and children in storybook attire to give them a timeless quality. Now she makes much of her living selling miniature, intricately

crafted animal sculptures online. “I sort of just set my brush out and start,” Vanover said of her technique. “I don’t sketch anything out beforehand. I skip that whole sketching part. When I was in school that was sort of frowned on. I like seeing something evolve. With pencil lines, I have to stay within those boundaries.” One career highlight came in 1998, when Vanover designed the War Dog Memorial at March Air Field. A pet food company making a documentary about dogs in war commissioned her to sketch some soldiers and their dogs for the large sculpture. She was touched by the way soldiers depended on their dogs to help them survive, particularly in Vietnam, where Vanover’s brother and father had served. “All those soldiers had wanted those dogs to be memorialized somehow,” she said. “Those dogs were the last little shred of humanity that they had.” Vanover’s goal is to paint every day. It might be a small piece, or something much larger, but rarely does a day go by without her picking up a brush. “If I’m not actually painting, I’m thinking about what I’m going to do next,” she said. “It is an extension of who I am.”

• “The Old Barn,” a painting of a rustic structure that also shows the daughter and grandchildren of the woman who commissioned the work. She wanted the painting to include two horses and the family dog as well. “It was actually a very challenging piece. I worked from probably 50 different photographs.”

•“Rhythm for the Brain” (2010). For a psychiatrist who specializes in helping patients recover from brain injuries, she designed the cover of a CD featuring songs that Vanover and her husband wrote to help stroke victims. “What made it close to my hear t is that after that project my cousin was in an accident and lost a lot of brain capacity. I sent her the CD, and it really helped her. Then my mother had a stroke and it really helped in her recovery.” Check out more of her creations at www.annavanover.com and on Facebook.

Riverside Magazine  

Abraham and Vanover took an idea, improved it and turned it into a wonderful gift to the community. Their engagement and buy-in is just the...

Riverside Magazine  

Abraham and Vanover took an idea, improved it and turned it into a wonderful gift to the community. Their engagement and buy-in is just the...

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