.How Santa Cruz Artist Annika Layne Highlights the Outdoors

A surfer pausing on a deserted beach to catch the final moments of peach sunset; rocks, pine trees and a splash of sand cradled in a tranquil turquoise sea; a lone woman contemplating the tranquil shoreline awash in pastel tones: Welcome to the original art of Annika Layne, a 24-year-old Santa Cruz artist and designer.

Arriving in Santa Cruz close to a year ago from Reno, Layne has been making an earnest go at getting her art out into the open. Recently, she featured a table at the Downtown Santa Cruz Makers Market covered with her art, including stickers, greeting cards, paper goods, postcards and landscape paintings. 

“I’m also working on a line of enamel pins,” she said. “I primarily sell on Etsy, the Santa Cruz Makers Market, and by word of mouth. At the Makers Market I have a bunch of fun making connections and being able to find other local artists. It’s especially important during these Covid times to have an outdoor activity that we can all do safely.”

Layne grew up in the Reno/Tahoe area, where she graduated from Western Nevada College in 2016 with an art degree. Prior to graduating, she started her first artistic endeavor: Sierra Nevada Outdoors, her own clothing brand featuring artwork highlighting the Sierra Nevada landscape.

From there, her art drifted from apparel design toward traditional painting and illustration. Most of her work nowadays starts with a pencil sketch and then is brought to life, mostly in pastel colors, in gouache.

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Annika Layne works on a sketch at the Santa Cruz Lighthouse. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

“I found that painting and illustrating my experiences of camping and hiking in the Sierra helped me to portray the nostalgia I had surrounding those memories in a way that was too hard to describe in words,” Layne said. “So that’s what I do. I paint and illustrate my outdoor surroundings, the memories I have of traveling, and the little life moments that make me feel tiny and whole in the vast world around me.”

Displayed at her table at the Makers Market, Layne features an array of her original cards, paintings and several small stickers, including one small sticker in the shape of the state of California. Her art covers a wide range of scenes, from the desert at night to the Rockies, towering buttes, serene meadows, rugged coastlines, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

“I want people to feel cozy, happy memories when they see my art work,” she said. “I am really drawn to the golden hour time of the day, when the sun is setting or just rising, when the sky turns peach. A lot of my color palette is inspired by this time of day.”

For information about Layne’s artwork, visit annikalayne.com.

The Downtown Santa Cruz Makers Market meets the third Sunday of the month on Pacific Avenue between Water and Locust streets. Some 40 artists are typically featured there. Upcoming markets include Nov. 15 from 10am to 5pm and Dec. 20 from 10am to 5pm.

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Tarmo Hannula
Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.
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