Artist Anne Goetze: ‘It’s all about light’

Artist Anne Goetze: ‘It’s all about light’

Using camera and paintbrush, Anne Goetze has spent over 15 years documenting one of Williamson County’s most revered bucolic retreats, which also happens to be her home in Leiper’s Fork.

Using camera and paintbrush, Anne Goetze has spent over 15 years documenting one of Williamson County’s most revered bucolic retreats, which also happens to be her home in Leiper’s Fork.

Though her father’s photography hobby and her mother’s love of nature helped shape her own artistic direction long ago, Goetze became an archivist in a sense after she moved from Nashville to Leiper’s Fork years ago.

As slow changes have come to the countryside, Goetze has painted and photographed the landscape to capture what might not be there tomorrow and create her “own little pocket of reality,” whether drawing from the influence of impressionistic painting or trying to catch the right light through the lens.

WillCo Arts: How did coming from a family of photographers and artists influence your own interest in art?

Anne Goetze: When you grow up with things part of your everyday surroundings, it starts to seep into who you unconsciously are. It definitely did influence me. Even my grandfather, who I never knew, was a photographer and artist. So was my father and mother’s uncle. With the old photographs, I saw that process with my father going on in the house.

WCA: Did your father have a darkroom in the house?

AG: Not with five girls, no. Usually people use their bathrooms. Any kind of bathroom space, the girls took that up. He was a hospital administrator, because he did have five daughters. This was his hobby.

WCA: When did your own interests in painting and photography begin to emerge?

AG: Most of that was formulating when I was 14 and 15 years old, when you start to express without knowing it; your interests are sparked, and you start learning about it intentionally. My mother had always loved nature and that has an influence also; she was always in her garden and following birds and the whole thing of slowing down long enough to take in things.

WCA: You’ve cited both the documentary photographer Dorothea Lange and impressionistic painting as influences. How do those two converge?

AG: It seems like they may be different, but Dorothea Lange documented a lot with the land and the people that are part of the land, and I enjoy the way she did her lighting. She captured moments and personality and character. Her stuff had character to it. Artists are attracted to light. That’s what photography and painting is. I paint a lot outdoors, because you get a different mood. You see more colors in it. Photography, I love the black-and-white, and in painting, I love the moods of colors more than color photography. I started painting the photographs, because what I envisioned with my eye did not translate with the colors I got back. I started to manipulate the photograph by hand. And incorporating the impressionistic feeling to it, sometimes you don’t know if it’s a painting or photograph.

WCA: Do you enjoy painting or photography more?

AG: I really enjoy both, and it depends what I’m going after that dictates it. Sometimes I just wake up and it’s whatever.

WCA: How has Leiper’s Fork influenced your work?

AG: When I moved out here 20 years ago, there was a lot more of the rural countryside. Now I see a lot of black fence happening with the new houses. It is beautiful, but the landscape changed. But it was the rural lifestyle and the people, the salt-of-the-earth people, that attracted me.

WCA: Do your concerns about preserving the landscape come through in your work?

AG: We need to keep certain areas of our land to be sustainable for us. I do worry about that. There’s also this certain urgency like, “Hurry up, do this, it’s going to be gone.” I do have a lot of things documented of years ago, something that became a series to me, and now it’s changed. Sometimes when you’re out there painting or photographing, you don’t realize you’re recording history in the beginning. Now I realize I am, because it may not be here tomorrow.

Jessica Pace covers Williamson County, Williamson County Schools and the Town of Nolensville for Home Page Media Group. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter @Jess_NHP.

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