What's the story?
I am an artist working in watercolor, drawing media, and fiber arts. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education and worked as a Curator's Assistant and a Ceramics Lab Technician while earning that degree. I worked in my field in public elementary schools in rural Pennsylvania before "retiring" and relocating to Lancaster Country to raise my family.
I struggled to find a way to incorporate fine art into my life when my children were very young and my husband traveled for his work a lot. It's not safe to use solvents, dyes, and even dusty charcoal with little hands and little lungs around the house. I exercised my 2D design skills with scrapbooking. It turns out that sliding little bits of paper and photos and text around on a page for hours is a really excellent way to play with composition. Whereas my scrapper friends were getting 10 pages done in an hour, I found that I was spending several days on a 2 page layout doing calligraphy, cropping images, and enjoying the tedious process of pairing a yellow to a blue to a red.
When scrapbooking didn't fill my art void anymore, I moved back to quilting, which was part of my early education in art. My mother is a professional quilter who works under the name of Minor Stitches. She's immensely talented with a line of thread. Mom got me into sewing and Fuyuko Matsubura, first place winner of FiberArt International, taught me to weave and dye. Fuyuko humorously told our class we would someday brag that we learned from her, and here it is!
In addition to traditional media, I have dabbled in gingerbread houses, wedding cakes, wall murals, construction, and more. Throughout all that, I've made some time for drawing and painting too. I'm not very interested in the battle between fine arts versus crafts. If you're using your eyes, brain, and heart to create something then it's all art. No one else might like it, but it's still art.
In 2018, I was re-inspired by attending a friend's art show. The show featured art from a group of mothers. They invited me to submit some pieces for the next one, and something clicked in my heart as I read the show description. I believe the statement was "short bursts of creativity" and I noticed that much of their work was in smaller format. I had just finished a large decorated surface painting that had taken me weeks. It dawned on me -- WORK SMALLER! I started the very next day with an 8"x10" watercolor that became "Rolled in Sugar." I left it out on the dining room table for a week and worked for 10 minutes here, an hour there until it was done. I started a new one immediately...and another...and another... Here I am.
When I see something that gives me pause, I want to process it in artwork. I have always been anxious and struggled to find peace. It's a character flaw. When I encounter a moment of peace or mindfulness in a visual source, I want to preserve that moment. It can be a quiet farm scene, a vase of flowers that you want to press your nose to, or anything else true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. In painting or drawing, I can live that moment for all those hours of creating.
I think human subjects are fascinating, and I love to get into a real conversation with someone without the small talk. I love doing portraits and getting to notice the person's features in detail. I believe we were created in the image of our Creator and getting to really look at a person is such a blessing.
Right now, I am focusing on informal portraits of mothers and children. Being a mother has been the experience of a lifetime for me. It has sharpened me and dulled me and made me more confident and humbled me. It has complicated everything! There's so much there that I cannot put into words. I am excited to wrap up a mother/child relationship into a vibrant color scheme and break it down into rough patches and beautiful watercolor washes, backwashes, textures, and blends. My favorite part of all of this is that it changes depending on what distance you view it from- just like motherhood. Take a good look at "Rolled in Sugar,"and "A Baby at Christmas Time," and "Midday Andante" in the Gallery. I've recently started including young girls who are in caregiver roles, such as "Eldest Sister - Sierra Leone," to think about the lifelong path of women taking care of children. (Keep in mind that I use low resolution images on the website to deter infringement.) I am looking forward to continuing this series with commissioned work. If you're interested in having me preserve one of your special memories, please contact me.