Award-winning artist’s fondness for nature, animals evident in her works


This scratchboard art by artist Tracy Anderson is titled Found Objects. It’s a depiction of a set of deer horns she found while walking in the woods. Anderson said it takes about a 100 hours to create one of her typical scratchboard art pieces.


By Joseph Zyble
The art world is beginning to take notice of Rapid River artist Tracy Anderson. Her work has been accepted in notable exhibitions lately, and she’s been winning awards.
Anderson, who was raised in Rapid River, developed an interest in art from an early age. “I’ve always enjoyed creating art. It’s a passion,” she said.
She took her first oil painting lesson at the age of 11.
“My grandmother had signed me up and got me started with the painting lessons. She is very creative, as are many of my family members in their own ways. My grandmother and my parents and brother have been highly supportive of me and my art,” Anderson said.
Nature is important to Anderson, and it shows in her creations. Growing up, she spent much of her free time roaming and exploring a hardwood forest along a ridge near her family home. It was a place her father and uncles played in their youth as well.
“Since I was a little kid through my teenage years, that ridge was special to me. It was my special spot. I loved to sit up there and sketch and daydream,” she said.


Click here to see more of Tracy Anderson’s artwork that was featured in the February 2019 issue of Marquette Monthly.


Anderson dreamed of one day buying some property on the ridge and building her own house there. And she made her dream come true.
“My studio is set up in my home on top of the ridge overlooking a pond. It has been a lot of hard work, but living and creating art here in my house on the hill has been a dream of mine since I was a child,” she said.
“The biggest source of inspiration for me is nature, the woods, animal subjects. I love the outdoors,” Anderson said. “Living in the woods, just looking out my window or stepping out my door is very inspiring.”
Birds are a common subject of her art. Anderson was a volunteer at the U.P. Raptor Rehab Center in Gladstone until it closed.
“I would get inspired from the birds we helped,” she said.
She was captivated by a raven that received care and recovered at the raptor center, and she was inspired to create a portrait of it.
“I tried to capture his spirit, his essence. It was such an intriguing bird, so intelligent,” Anderson said. “I love all animals, and there is something special about birds. I also have a soft spot and fascination for crows and ravens. They are so intelligent, and there is such interesting history and folklore associated with corvids. I wanted this piece to have an air of mystery while capturing the spirit of this particular creature.”
The title of the portrait was Night Watch. She created it in scratchboard and added ink coloring. She recently entered the piece in the Bonifas Fine Arts Center’s Northern Exposure regional art competition and received four awards for it, including a media selection award from the Marquette Monthly.
Speaking of honors, Anderson was thrilled to have her work exhibited at the ArtPrize show in Grand Rapids this past year. The International Society of Scratchboard Artists, of which she is a member, also accepted two of her pieces in its annual show last year, and she won an award for one of them.
Anderson is also a member of Women Artists of the West, which included her art in its 2018 annual show. In that show, she earned a second place award in the 2D category and won the People’s Choice Award.
“The last couple of years have been really big years for me and my art,” Anderson said. “I’ve been thrilled and honored with the recognition I’ve been receiving and awards that I have won. And I’m excited where I’m going and what the future holds for me and my art.”
To that end, she is striving to become a full-time artist, supporting herself solely with her artwork.
“I spend a significant amount of time each week working on my art, along with working a full-time, non-art job. It is a lot of hard work. Obviously I enjoy it, or I wouldn’t do it,” she said.
She considers art as fundamental to her existence as oxygen. “I have to work on my art. I have to create. I have so many ideas for paintings and scratchboards and other projects that I’m almost bursting,” Anderson said. “My biggest obstacle is not enough time. With the drive and passion I have for my art, I equate it to breathing. Just as I have to breathe, I have to create art.”
Anderson is skilled in several artistic mediums. Along with scratchboard art, she works in oil paints, acrylics, encaustic painting, photography, and she enjoys combining techniques such as encaustic painting with wood burning and photography.
Anderson’s work is displayed and available for purchase at several locations, including the East Ludington Gallery, Escanaba; the Paige Wiard Gallery, Calumet; and the Woodwalk Gallery in Egg Harbor, Wis.
Thus far in 2019, she has solo exhibits scheduled for July and August at the Lake Superior State University Gallery in Sault Ste. Marie and at the Bonifas Studio Gallery throughout November.
Outside of working and creating art, Anderson can likely be found running the wooded trails near her home with her German shepherd, photographing natural subjects or riding her horse.
To learn more about Tracy Anderson, view more of her work or purchase one of her original artworks, visit her website at

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