Your art is so varied—which is your favorite medium/genre?
I admit to being a bit scattered when it comes to focus. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up as an artist, so I still experiment a lot. My go-to medium is watercolor. I have the most experience and technical training with it, so that’s my comfort zone for tackling a tough project, such as a landscape. My favorite, though is the books, because they are so tactile. I love paper engineering and building things. Each book project presents new challenges to figure out about how to manipulate the paper, which is very satisfying.
You don’t use oil?
I tried an oil class once, but was living in Germany and the instructor didn’t speak any English. The vocabulary was so technically beyond my language skills, I didn’t even finish the class. For a long while I vowed not to try a new medium until I had mastered watercolor. Soon I realized that you never feel that you’ve “mastered” anything, so I started learning about acrylics and pastels. Now I’m happy to experiment and try anything—except I never have gone back to oil!
How do you carve those books?
I use scissors. I have a wonderful pair that I bought in 1993 with a kitchen knife set (crazy, huh?). I work page by page through the book. It sounds tedious, but it’s actually very therapeutic. It’s also very satisfying in terms of making art. Paintings can be like a roller coaster ride; they often get worse before they get better. When carving a book, it’s a linear progression toward the finish line. The book looks better and better as I go, which is gentler on my psyche!
Which artists are your main influences?
Most of my influences are living artists rather than the masters. I studied in Hawaii with George Woollard, and was hugely influenced by both his painting style and his teaching style. A current instructor, Suzanne Stevens, opened me up to imaginative and abstract painting. I’m also influenced by the many artists at the cooperative where I have my studio. They remind me to simply do what I love.
What have you learned as an artist that you’d like to share with other artists?
— First, paint or create what you love. Don’t worry about the current trend or what the others in your art community are doing. If your heart and passion are not the driving force, then it will show in your art. If what you make is not hot in the local market, find the market for what you do. It’s out there.
— Second, tell both your ego and your inner critic to shut up. Seriously, we are our own worst enemies! I will look at a piece and think it’s terrible, and that I’m a failure as an artist. Then that’s the piece that sells.
–Third, take classes, learn, and get out of your comfort zone. Try a style that is the complete opposite of what you prefer. It will enhance your art, even if you stick with your preferred style. Old dogs can learn new tricks!
Do you sell your art?
Yes, I am always happy when a piece I’ve created finds a loving home. Everything shown in the gallery and on the website can be purchased. If you are interested in a particular piece, please email me. If you don’t see exactly what you want, you can always commission me to paint something for you.
Do you take commissions?
Yes, this is my favorite type of art project. My goal-oriented nature makes me very happy to bring a customer’s wish to fruition. Past commissions have included carved books, portraits of homes and favorite landscapes based on vacation photos. I am up for anything, and will let you know if your wish is beyond my scope. Email me with your contact information and I’ll call to discuss what you would like and how to make it happen.
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