I’m on an unending journey into who I was made to be: discovering what it is that I alone was created to paint, in the ways that only I can do—however long it takes to get there. The moment my work touches your heart, a small piece of what God has given me becomes my gift to you.
Creating and teaching online classes in drawing, watercolor, marker, pencil, and more.
The origins: I’ve been an art fanatic since I was a little girl – I remember sitting on my bed with my textbooks against my bent knees – with drawing paper shielded as “homework” that I was supposed to be doing! Not a lot has changed since then; if a day goes by without being steeped in creativity, I’m at a loss. Days filled with errands and computer tasks and not even a little sketching leave me feeling drained!
I come from a creative family; my mother was an artist before stopping to raise a family – and returned to it and even earned a college degree after we were all out of the house! I have family also working as creatives in various fields – it must be in our genes!
Training: As a child I dreamt of teaching; my years at Frostburg State in Maryland trained me to be a graphic designer, since that was one way an artist could find a regular job and be able to pay for food and shelter. I entered the world of advertising in New York, San Francisco, then Montana, and Seattle. Decades spent as a marketing designer and illustrator built into me the desire to connect with those viewing my art, and moving them in some way. Especially working at nonprofits, that skill became valuable as part of fundraising efforts.
My biggest art influences for decades have been the old Italian masters, primarily Caravaggio, who I became well acquainted with in my college years; he captured chiaroscuro – realistic deep shadows in a wide range of tones, creating drama and compelling interest in his works. No matter the medium, I seek to create depth and contrast to call the viewer deep into the corners of my work, inviting sitting with it to explore the deepest thoughts I convey.
My teaching philosophy: I believe each person has artistic God-given capacity built into them, and releasing that inner creativity brings joy, healing, and hope to life. My hope is to encourage every student to take that one next step, whatever it is, at whatever level they are at….that step can lead to another, and another. I pray I can dispel the discouragement and self-talk that holds people back from trying new things…”It’s just paper!” isn’t a phrase, it’s a way of life!
Ongoing artistic development: In each of many jobs throughout my career, I found myself including hand-created components to my work as much as I could, and discovered that drawing skill was fast disappearing from my cohorts. I took deliberate steps to continue improving my skills, studying avidly under renown watercolorists – and eventually stepped into being an instructor as well.
So many mediums, so little time: I sometimes wonder what I might accomplish if I chose a medium and stuck with it; however, if I’m not trying new things and learning and growing, I get terribly bored! I may excel at something but repeating it ad nauseum once I’ve figured it out it frustrates me, so my studio is replete with pencils, paints, markers, inks, pens, airbrushes – anything that can apply color makes me happy!
On buying art supplies: As with most everything in life – you pay premium prices, you get premium quality. When I began, I purchased a lot of “student” and “craft” grade materials, and wondered why I wasn’t able to create what my mentors were doing – until one sat me down. He could see the skill inside me but couldn’t get past the brushes and papers I was trying to use. . . and changing that up made a big difference. Supplies aren’t the ONLY thing of course; but once I learned how a good natural sable brush performed, I was fully convinced. You can see my go-to watercolor supplies here.
*Note: I never (ever) (did I say ever?) buy knockoff supplies from Chinese markets violating copyrights. More and more keeps showing up online, and it’s infuriating; manufacturers of good art supplies are being hurt. We need to support the innovators who love art and know how to make the good stuff.
Daily inspiration: When sitting down to work (or, rather, standing up, as I work at a standing-height workspace!), sometimes I arrive with an idea to convey; a piece of the news, a thought about life, a view of nature. Other times it’s a medium that calls out to me, and that may drive the topic of my creation. I refer to notes in my phone of ideas that occur to me throughout the day, sometimes just seeds of ideas to explore and other times a fleshed-out vision that finally meets up with paper.
Changing the world: In a world filled with both societal upheaval and rising hope, my work is a kind of therapy, working out my perspective on complex issues that are neither black nor white – but shades of greys, browns, yellows, and blues. My work regularly features responses to current events, sparking conversations and inspiring action. I’ve gathered a community of likeminded supporters who have banded together to raise funds through artistic efforts for years, creating impact in areas we care about most. Whether making people joyful, or uncomfortable, or wanting to pick up a brush themselves, I want to inspire a shift in others’ thinking.
Art community: I’m part of several small artist groups in my area – sketching and plein air groups, fellow travelers on the artist’s road. I’m a member of Northwest Watercolor Society, the American Watercolor Society, Urban Sketchers, and other collectives in my local community.