Artist paints Ridgefield landmarks, pets, ornaments

RIDGEFIELD – In the 28 years she has lived in town, Annie Caravelli has focused her artistic career on creating paintings on request and personalized gift items for people and their pets. She has, however, taken a special interest in  painting landmarks of Ridgefield, such as Keeler Tavern, Ballard Park, the Lounsbury House, Mamanasco Lake and Cass Gilbert Fountain.

Additionally, every year, she said she creates about 200 porcelain ornaments featuring images of Ridgefield.

“I love to do it,” Caravelli said of painting, “and if people like my work and appreciate it, that’s great.”

“I don’t know that I’ve ever turned anyone away,” she said. “If it’s, say, a painting of their home or their pet, all I ask for is a good picture because I can only paint what I see.”

Through the years, Caravelli has received requests to create ornaments of people’s pets, personalized pet cookie jars and other gift items.

Acrylics are her main medium, and while she doesn’t paint them as often, she said she loves doing landscapes, as well as portraits and pet ornaments.

In terms of her artistic process, Caravelli said she definitely has to have “the mood to go and do it.” However, she’ll also be motivated to get moving if she has a deadline for a particular project, such as a request for a painting for someone’s home. From October through December, Caravelli said she’ll probably be painting seven days a week: it’s during this time that she’ll be working on personal gift items, and Christmas ornament requests.

Reminiscing on some of her favorite requests, Caravelli recalled a request from two years ago in which a woman asked for an ornament for herself and her sister. Their father was dying, and the woman asked Caravelli to come up with a design based on some of the last words her father said in the hospital – “Go get those rats.” Caravelli said the woman asked her to come up with an ornament with a cute design -- perhaps two lady rats dancing. 

“The ornament did come out darling and she loved it,” Caravelli said, adding that the phrase on the ornament read something like “From one rat to another.”

Another favorite request came from a man from Poland who was doing some tile work in Caravelli's house. Caravelli said she was painting while the man and his coworker were working, and the man asked her if she could paint on "anything." When she said “yes,” the man brought her a shattered plate featuring a primitive picture of a town. He said that the plate was from their town and his cat had knocked it off the counter and it broke. The man said his wife was beside herself because it was one of the only things they had brought from Poland. Caravelli said the design looked pretty easy, and when she recreated it on another plate, she said the man loved it.

Remembering where her love of art first began, Caravelli said she and her twin sister Suzie Sokol, a fellow artist, were always drawing or painting when they were children. Caravelli said she was working on her own artwork when she first moved to Ridgefield. During a visit to the former Ridgefield General Store, she asked the store owner what she wanted in terms of artwork.

In reply, Caravelli said the owner said, “Give me anything of Ridgefield.” This included gift items like platters, boxes, stools and tiles featuring images of Ridgefield that could be sold as gifts. From there, Caravelli began creating Ridgefield-related artwork and selling it to local stores. Today, the gift shop BellaHome Gifts (90 Danbury Road) is her main customer.

Going forward, Caravelli said, “I would like to try on canvas some different types of techniques, maybe more of like an Impressionist kind of style.”

Art requests can be made by messaging Caravelli through her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/annette.caravelli.