Annie had heart failure unexpectedly at the age of thirty two. She was the sixty sixth person ever to be diagnosed with a very rare heart disease called Giant Cell Myocarditis. The odds of survival were five years with a transplant likely in the first year. The last eight years she has had five different major organ failures and eight different potentially fatal diagnoses even spent a summer in a coma. Eventually she was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. Not able to work or get around well she decided to start painting on canvas again. Painting is a huge part of her healing. Her amazing faith and positive attitude is the only explanation of how she survived. Her hope is that her paintings make people laugh. Her goal is to add humor to fine art, a rare combination. Annie recently published an inspiring memoir on Amazon called Betting the Underdog. She lives at home with her husband Jeffrey and their cat Ethel Merman.
Annie has so many gifts to share not the least is her ability to cope with unbelievable challenges. She has presented this exceptionally well in “Betting the Underdog” The book was easy to read and should be an inspiration to anyone who reads it. There are lessons in this book for those who have an easier life and for those struggling for any reason. Everyone should have a copy to read over and again as a reminder to rejoice during good times and be strong during hardships. –Jim Shaw
Her work brims with the same kind of humor that led to the family cat named Ethel Merman. –Rod Lee, The Rambler
After I sat down with Spear I took one last tour through the kitty collection and my perspective had completely changed. This time I saw an old cat of mine that passed, reveries of Spear creating these paintings with her cat companion, endearing stories that lie just beneath the canvas, and the dimension of healing behind these furry faces. –Alika Gillard, The Scarlett, Brown University
“I realized a few years ago I really liked painting animals and I could not eat them anymore,” she said. “Cows are my friends. I created my own world of fun friends”