Follow Your Heart… A story of an artist’s life journey.


“Waiting to Dine”, pastel, 22 x 18″, This is the first painting of the series called The History of Fashion form the 1920’s that began my career as a fine artist.


Everyone wants to plan out their life and accomplish great achievements – I know because I am one of them. But throughout my artistic career, I have been constantly reminded that if you just do what you love, great things will happen.
To introduce myself, today, I am a professional fine artist and instructor. I started this journey as a fashion illustrator in the late 1980’s growing and increasing skills through illustration, graphic design,and art direction just to name a few. All of these opportunities came from my passion for the arts and the love of talking to people – one thing lead to the other. I always seemed to be at the right place at the right time. Or was it just because I was doing what I love?

In 1997, my children came into my life and I took a couple of years off from the arts. It was important to me to give my two boys, Johnny and Tommy, my full attention. Once my second child began preschool in 2002, I started to get the creative itch again, but I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do no matter how hard I tried. I knew going back into the hustle and bustle of the advertising industry would not work with having two boys. Then shortly after moving into our new home in Garnet Valley, PA, I decided that I needed paintings for our new construction home’s many large white walls. So I rooted around my college portfolio to see if there were any sketches worth framing. I came across this sketch of a woman from the 1920’s which I had sketched from a very old menu my grandparents had given me.( Oh and by the way, I was lucky enough to stay with my Italian grandparents in West Philly while I commuted to college – home cooked meals, very sweet! )So this drawing really got my attention, and of course I loved fashion. So I decided to pull out the old pastels and rework the piece in full color. As I was enjoying creating the painting, I fell in love with “fine art”! It was the beginning of my new career, not planned, as a professional fine artist! A completely unexpected and different path than advertising that worked well with having small children. I loved it so much that I created a series of works called “The History of Fashion”, and had my first exhibition with the Art Loop in Wilmington, DE in 2003. The painting series was of women in fashion from the 1920’s to 1970’s. I have since, won many awards, participated in an extensive amount of exhibitions, met famous people, became a teacher, and now recently I just published a book with my husband, John, which I have illustrated titled, “The Brave Little Soul”, which is currently being sold on Amazon.
There are many more stories throughout my career such as how I met Karl Kuerner, a well-known artist mentored by Andrew Wyeth- Karl is my former teacher and mentor and who introduced me to oils; how I started to paint the Brandywine Valley landscapes/Wyeth Country and many of its historical sites, and many more which I plan to slowly add to this Blog. But the unique thing about each story is that it all comes back to my life lesson – just do what you love to do! I wonder what the next new venture will be in the arts!
Periodically feel free to check my website and Blog where you can see what other adventures unfold. I hope that my stories will inspire you as you progress in your journey with the arts too!- Annette Alessi



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Categorized in: Blog Home