I don’t recall wondering...Where will I end up? In reality none of us really know. It’s a wavier line than most of us think. Early on in my life, the path seemed clear.
In junior high I took a commercial art class that I looked forward to every day. In high school I continued art classes and began to explore watercolor, acrylic painting and collage. I created designs for various school projects and events and made up my mind to become a graphic designer. The decision led me to Montana State University, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2000. Throughout the years that I lived in Montana, I had fallen in love with the state’s vastness and beauty. I desperately wanted to find a good job anywhere in the state. At the time it seemed miraculous, but I did! I landed an in-house design job in the small town of Dillon, Montana. As time passed, I felt I was ready for a change and I moved to Oregon in 2002. Within a year, unable to find design work, I felt I had gone off course. That is when I started to paint, and it flowed without fear and judgment. I used my art as a way to deal with the world around me and the world within me. Often the process was vigorous and gave me a sense of release. In the following years painting became more and more something I just had to do.
With the emergence of life changes in the summer of 2008 came a shift in perspective and a different kind of energy in my art. There was a nagging and doubting voice in my head questioning the placement of words and strokes of the brush. It was a frustrating time, but I persisted. Since then, I’ve learned how to let the art happen quietly.
I love color. I love shape. I love pattern. I love to be in the middle of it, whether I am admiring or creating. In front of the canvas I try to be present, mixing and adding colors and scraping through layers of wet paint. Digging through scraps of old magazines and books I find words, paragraphs and poetry that I want to show through. I tell myself, “Don’t cover that piece up.” Sometimes I forget, and a layer or two of paint dries before I realize the words are no longer there, so I just keep going. It helps me to have faith in the process, to believe any color, mark or “mistake” was meant to happen that way. Usually, to my amazement, words reveal themselves that I didn’t even intend, but are somehow perfectly placed. I believe this is one way the Universe shows me that I am okay, exactly as I am.
Sometimes I paint with ease, sometimes with discomfort, always trying to let it be what it is. I have come to understand that my art is meant to just flow out. When I’m choosing and blending colors, pasting paper, and making marks on my canvas without letting my inner critic be in charge, I work peacefully, and I am always surprised by the end result. When I work this way I have a sense that I get to paint. It is no longer something that I have to do, but rather a gift that I have been given. To create something playful, wild and meaningful is a way to reveal more of myself to you, and you and the Universe to me.
I hope to move you; to make your spirit dance; to give you something new to notice; a colorful moment, wonder, delight.