Questions Asked...and Answered
When was the first time you realized you were an artist?
It was on a warm summer day in 1992…I sold my very first three oil paintings. Granted, it was my parents who bought them, but it was an exciting experience. I spent several months working hard on them in a painting workshop for kids, and at the end we had a showing where all the parents, family, and friends came to see our work and purchase what they liked.
Seeing the price sticker on those little paintings made it look so official. Each artwork cost my parents roughly $20 (adjusted for inflation). That was the day I realized that art has value. I didn’t quite understand the extent of that realization at the time, however it started my love affair with art and put me on a path of continually growing my passion.
When someone is viewing your work for the first time, what do you hope they’ll see in it? Or, what do you want them to say about your work?
I really just want them to connect with the artwork, have an emotional experience and come away with a new feeling than they had the moment before. Words can be very powerful, and I welcome all honest, raw feedback that gives me a clue as to what the person experienced looking at the artwork. Art is my way of communicating emotion and ideas, so when I’m able to share that moment with someone that’s the ultimate reward.
Who are some artists that you admire and why? What is it, specifically, about their work that draws you to it?
I admire so many artists, especially the ones who are able to take a seemingly ordinary thing or idea and bring it to life through their art. The creativity and dedication that so many artists put into their work, laying their heart out on the sleeve, sharing their most intimate thoughts through their work, is what draws me in. Growing up, I was always drawn to the work of Mary Cassatt and her beautiful portrayal of simple human moments. There is something so honest about her paintings, I could stare at them for hours. I also deeply admire Amanda Palmer, a contemporary performing artist and musician who truly inspires me to push myself further and test my own strengths as an artist. The connection she established with her audience through her performances is what I strive for to create through my artwork. That moment in time when two strangers share something so beautiful, an unspoken bond that may be fleeting, but somehow will leave an imprint on your heart forever.
What is it like to be an artist in your community?
It’s exciting and challenging. I feel blessed to be surrounded by a community of artists and art lovers who appreciate and welcome art in their lives. Being a dancer and also having grown up with a passion for home remodeling and design allows me to directly reach out and relate to the large dance community and the vast network of realtors and home owners in my area. Being able to relate to my clients’ and viewers’ experience is what gives me the ability to communicate through the artwork and help the recipient feel a lasting bond with the artwork.
If you could take a fantasy artist vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be? Your goal would be to soak in art history or to make your own art. Where would you go?
Hmm...how can I choose just one...
How do you promote your art?
Largely through word of mouth and through networking. I love to hear people’s stories and I’m always looking for ways to bring their stories to life through my painting. I also have a fairly detailed marketing plan devised with the help of my business coach and some very inspiring artist-entrepreneurs. As much as I would love to lose myself in my painting each day and not worry about sales, it is still a business and I nurture it as such.
Why are you drawn to the media that you use?
I work with three main types of media; oil painting (mainly water miscible Holbein Oil Paints) for my paintings, pen and ink with watercolors or acrylics for my house portraits, and digital media for various illustrations. Oil painting has been my longest love and my loyal medium ever since I first got to experience the silky smoothness of the paint gliding across canvas. I’m drawn to the feeling of freedom it gives me and the fact that I need to stand in front of it, the canvas and I staring each other in the face, entwined in sort of a dance. On the other hand, the structure of pen and ink for my house portraits reels me back in from that state of floating psyche and balances my focus.
I’ve noticed that [these subjects, colors, themes] appear often in your work. What attracts you to them?
Hmm…I need to describe this in two parts. I’m a very left brain-right brain artist, meaning that I’m equally attracted to the creativeness and expression of art and also to the analytical and logical aspects of science and nature. That is probably why I couldn’t decide exactly what to study in college and ended up with two degrees on totally opposite spectrums. That is also why you will notice a lot of straight lines and intricate detail in my illustrations and house portraits…that feeds my analytical brain. Painting, on the other hand, captures my heart in a very free flowing way. That is why I love to paint the human figure and flowing, abstract designs. The human figure is such a beautiful form, with all its curves and bends, the definition of muscles showing through the skin…there are no lines, just shapes, highlights and shadows, a multitude of colors changing rapidly with the light of the day, and most importantly, the portrayal of every imaginable emotion through slight changes in physique. It’s beautiful.
Tell me about the classes that you teach and your interaction with students.
Currently, I offer instruction to individuals or small groups of kids by request. I also do book readings of the Annabelle-Please-Don’t-Tell! Chapter books series, which I am illustrating and collaborating on with author Carole Lyn Woodring. Most of our book readings take place at local bookstores, schools, and libraries.
How has technology helped you market your work?
Technology has enabled me to expand my fan base and reach people I normally wouldn’t have been able to reach. As I travel, I meet a lot of great people who are outside my homebase, however by connecting online we are able to continue communicating and I’m able to keep them updated about my artwork. Similarly, my involvement with groups such as SCWBI and FineArtAmerica broaden my networking efforts.