Anne Sainz AKA ams


It's that time again (YAY!), and we are very pleased to present one of our longest-standing members, Anne, who you may know as ams. You've probably seen her around in the challenges, as I believe she is among the first members who began those back on the Wet Canvas forums. Anne is an amazing talent here, and we are lucky to have her. It's been a treat to have her participate in this interview and get to know her better. Grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and enjoy this month's Spotlight on Anne Sainz, an unforgettable artist with masterful skill...

2007 Puppy (8x10 Colored Pencil).jpg

Puppy, 2007. Colored Pencil, 8 x 10 inches.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?

I am a retired Math and Computer Science teacher. I also did a lot of teacher training and program development for the school where I worked. My husband and I had a small business where we created and sold church management software. We retired from that several years ago as well.

I am an avid reader. I download eBooks from Amazon for light reading. I also just enjoy learning new things and might spend a few days researching a topic I find interesting on the internet.

I still enjoy computer programming and will sometimes dabble in a new language just to see what it’s like. I also love setting up spreadsheets and will create them for anything I can think of.

I got interested in whole food plant-based cooking in 2011. I was having trouble keeping my weight down even though I didn’t eat much. I saw a PBS special by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and it was life-changing. When we made the switch, I lost about 30 pounds, and my husband lost about 80. The added bonus is that some health issues have been steadily improving, and we are healthy without needing any medications.

I love to develop and cook healthy recipes. I see it as a challenge to see how easily I can make something that tastes good and is healthy, too. I have given talks at our local Senior Center and our church on how to cook healthy that were very well received. I have a free website of my recipes. Family and friends asked for the recipes, but it was hard to keep track of who had which recipe, so I created a website. I even have a recipe book on Amazon.

My husband and I have been doing basic yoga for 50 years. We never got into advanced postures, we just stayed with the basics, and it has helped us enormously.

I sew and knit as the spirit moves me, but I haven’t done a lot of either of these lately. I have also played the piano for many years and was a church organist for 12 years, but I don’t play much anymore either.

How did you begin making art in your life? (Did you study it?)

I have always been interested in art. When I was young, it was coloring books and colored pencil kits. As I grew older, I started to do pencil sketches. When I went on any sort of vacation, I always made sure to bring along a sketchbook.

I took a studio art class in college as an elective, but it was a disappointment. I wanted to learn to draw, and that wasn’t what the class was about. As an adult, I have taken several classes and some workshops in drawing and painting and have learned a lot from WetCanvas and YouTube videos. Currently, I attend a weekly art class, which is wonderful. The teacher starts with a short lesson, then allows us to work on a project of our choice. She goes around the room and helps us individually.

I am also active in our local watercolor society and serve as the webmaster for the group.

2015 Hibiscus (11x14 Watercolor).jpg

Hibiscus, 2015. Watercolor, 14 x 11 inches.

What is your favorite medium to work in?

The medium I have been working in most recently is pen and ink and watercolor, which I really enjoy.

When I was younger, I did just pencil sketching. Once I began teaching, the art teacher in the school where I worked saw some of my work and encouraged me to experiment with color. I tried colored pencil and loved it. I worked in colored pencil for about 4 years. Towards the end, I took a workshop on colored pencil done on film (Dura-Lar Matte), which was a lot of fun.

Around that time, I took another class and had an opportunity to try watercolor, and absolutely loved it. I switched to watercolor overnight. I was delighted with how quickly I could get color down after working with colored pencil that was so slow.

With my background in computers, I decided to try digital painting. I loved that, too. I worked in Artrage on a laptop computer. I worked in that for about 3 years and then became interested in pen & ink. I liked the finished product and wanted to learn more about it. I was surprised to find out that even though it looks as if there is an incredible amount of detail in pen & ink drawings, a lot of the “detail” is really well-placed scribbles. I found that I actually worked looser doing pen & ink than in any other media I had tried. That’s where I am now, pen & ink with watercolor added some of the time.

2007 Wine in the Making (8x10 Colored Pencil on Film).jpg

Wine in the Making, 2007. Colored Pencil on Film, 10 x 8 inches.

About what size is most comfortable for you to work with?

I like to work small. Most of my drawings and paintings are about 5”x 7”. Sometimes I work in 8”x 10” if I am doing a piece for a show or a commission.

2023 Wide-Eyed Cat (5x7, Ink and Watercolor).png

Wide-eyed Cat, 2023. Pen & Ink and Watercolor, 7 x 5 inches.

Is your work planned, or does it come from spontaneity or emotion?

I usually plan what I am going to draw or paint before I begin. I have an organized, detail-oriented personality and when I have experimented with being more spontaneous, I find the end result is stiff and geometrical.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I get most of my inspiration from photographs from the internet. I am careful to make sure I go to copyright-free sources. I also participate in several online challenges here at CreativeSpark. I find that the challenges keep me drawing and painting regularly.

When I am choosing an image to use as a reference, I look at several of them and see which one “calls” to me. It is most often an animal or flower, although I enjoy still life and landscapes occasionally too.

2021 Kettle, Mortar & Pestle (Artrage Digital).jpg

Kettle, Mortar and Pestle, 2021, Artrage Digital.

Do you have any specific artistic influences?

When I was working with colored pencil, I was inspired a lot by Ann Kulberg, Arlene Steinburg, and the colored pencil group on WetCanvas. I even went to a national colored pencil show, took a couple of workshops there and met up with several of my online friends, and had a wonderful time.

I have worked in watercolor for many years. The watercolor society I belong to is fortunate to have live demos 8 months out of the year. They are very inspiring and even sometimes get me to try a new technique or approach.

I have learned a great deal about pen and ink from the YouTube channel by Alphonso Dunn. I also watch YouTube videos on watercolor and pen and ink from a lot of different artists for demos and tips.

I love the impressionists when I am looking at art, but I don’t work in that style myself. I have tried several times, but somehow, it just comes out in my more realistic style.

Can you share any of your painting or drawing process?

I always start with a freehand pencil sketch. If I am doing a portrait for a commission, I might use a grid to make sure the features are in the right place, but I prefer not to.

Most of the time, I work in pen & ink and watercolor. Once I am satisfied with the pencil sketch, I add ink. I love working in ink rather than watercolor for the detail and texture. Sometimes, I stop right there and leave it as a pen and ink drawing.

If I decide to add color, I might do some purple underpainting, but not always. My final step is to add local color with watercolor.

Do you work from home, have a separate area, studio space, room, garage, shack, rental, loft, etc. Would you describe your studio space? Can you describe it, or do you have a sneak peek picture?

My “studio” is a shelf in my dining room. I have a piece of gatorboard that has all of my drawing and painting supplies on it. When I am ready to paint, I move the gatorboard to the dining room table. When I’m finished, I can move it back. I can set up, or put it away in about 2 minutes. I like the setup and takedown to be easy, so I can paint even if I don’t have a lot of time.

My Studio - on a Shelf.jpg

My Studio - Ready to paint.jpg

Is there a motivating force, person, friend, motto, or piece of advice that keeps you going?

I find a weekly art class I attend at our local senior center, and online challenges keep me painting.

Lastly, do you have a website and/or social media platform(s) you would like to promote?

I have two Google sites, one for art and one for cooking:

Anne Sainz Art (

Anne Sainz Recipe Box (
Wow. You are super talented and super energized. Interesting reading. Sounds like you enjoy your life. Good on you. Your art is amazing. Take care.
Wonderful interview, Anne! I've been a huge fan of your work for years now. You are certainly a multi-talented lady! I applaud your dedication to eating and cooking well (more people should pay attention to this!), and especially basic yoga practice. I do the same, same limitations, but it's always satisfying.

I love all the variety of your work here, from colored pencil to watercolor. ❤️ Thank you so much for doing this interview and letting us learn more about you!
Anne, love learning about you and your art. You always amaze me with your detail. Your drawings never look complicated but know it is not easy to give that impression. You do many interesting things. Thanks for doing the interview and inspire us yet again.
Great to learn more about you, Anne. And lovely to see more of your wonderful artwork. . . . . excellent! Thanks for sharing a little piece of your life.
Anne, now I am even more impressed with your multiple talents! Wine in the Making and Hibiscus are exceptional works of art. How you are able to produce such quantity with quality has always been something which I admired. Jerry and I are also very healthy eaters, and do quite a bit of exercise daily. The bit about spending a few days researching an interesting topic online really struck a chord, as I do the same thing, to the point of analysis paralysis. (Case in point: today at the library I thought a sign had incorrect grammar. The help insisted it was correct, and dismissed the issue. Upon arriving home, I checked it immediately, and it was not correct.) The desire to learn new skills which so many here at CS possess keeps one's mind engaged as much as exercise helps the body.

Oh, and I checked out both of your websites are they are wonderful! Cutting the sugar to nearly nothing is something I have been doing for decades in muffin and quick bread recipes.

Ayin, Thanks for the great interview.
Thanks Jo, Joe and Sno.

Joy, I think that sometimes I call a painting done when it could be worked on longer but I am ready to move on to another one so I stop. My favorite part is the initial sketch and once that is done, the inking and painting are just to finish it off but they don't pull me like the sketching stage does.

Glad you enjoyed my websites. They were fun to create.
My favorite part is the initial sketch and once that is done, the inking and painting are just to finish it off but they don't pull me like the sketching stage does.
I also prefer the same thing. So often he went directly to a new drawing even though I sometimes tried to stop because the idea was to learn how to make finished drawings and maybe learn to colour or more media but in the end I realised that I would not succeed (or not enough) I start only drawings and move on to another, hoping maybe to improve at least the initial part.
What a nice interview! I’ve always admired your talent, Anne, and now we know you’re talented in many other areas as well. You do such fine work in your little shelf studio. I’ll be trying the black bean salad on your site; anything with lime juice, cumin and cilantro sounds good to me!
Thanks Joe, PaintBoss and Donna for your kind words. I enjoyed doing the interview.

Donna, I'm delighted you are trying one of my recipes. That black bean salad is one of my favorites. Enjoy!
You know I’m one of your fans! Thanks for letting us know more about you. Keep up the good work.
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I have always enjoyed your work, Anne! Thanks for sharing your story with us.
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Thanks Kay and Sanlynn. I enjoyed doing the interview. I look forward to seeing the work both of you post too.