the artist studio | nov. 2017
In what mediums do you work?
There are few mediums that I have not explored and enjoyed, but the first I was trained in remains the most enjoyable, that of oil painting. I am passionate about the way light plays out on a surface and the colors it reveals. I love the rich array of colors I can discover by mixing oil pigments and how one color will visually affect another in a painting.
My never-ending quest to become a better painter has made me a life-long student of the arts. Years of working in graphite, acrylic, gouache, leaded glass, wood and clay, have recently given way to other mediums of watercolor, fabric dyes, fiber arts and metals. I am continually amazed to discover the many ways that working in one medium inspires and enhances another.
When were you first interested in art and at what time did you know it would be a part of your life?
I was raised in a home busy with creative energy, from my mother's stylish decorating to my father's continual building; toys, sailboats and home additions. My earliest memories include hands-on crafts and my father often bringing home things to do, making sick days all the better. Though college was focused on the sciences, I began leaning into a serious interest in art, especially three-dimensional work. As a young wife and mother, I enjoyed local classes, sold work in craft shows and taught several techniques for more than three decades. My husband's career brought frequent moves through seven states, crossing paths with an amazing array of talented teachers and a large community of creative friends. With family now grown, I focused on life drawing, sculpture and classical painting. The love of art has become a unifying thread throughout my life.
From where do you draw inspiration?
Finding inspiration to create is never difficult when I look in the faces of my children and grandchildren. I love when the challenge of painting a portrait reveals the personality within, finding those finer strokes of the brush that make the subject “take a breath." The universe and its troubles disappear as I get lost in the details of a painting, whether a portrait or capturing the beauty of nature. There is so much eye candy within the natural world, with its cool forest floors, beached seashells, meandering streams and mountain sunsets. I find myself surrounded by moments in time that beg to be captured in paint.
If there is something you'd like to say with your work or a message you'd like people to walk away with, what would it be?
I would hope that my work might entice the viewer to pause a moment and perhaps look within himself for a sensitivity to the beauty that surrounds us all, to believe in the universality of life.
How much of a role has living in Northeastern Wisconsin played in your work?
Returning to Wisconsin after 40 years has been heartwarming and filled with creative opportunities, from the first class with Sandy Melroy painting scarves at the ArtGarage to metalsmithing at UWGB and the Artisan Center. Each has been a catalyst for a whole series of new art-inspired connections within the Green Bay area. I have been honored to become a member of the Art Colony, a wealth of inspiring women who express themselves in a variety of mediums, sponsoring both exhibits and scholarships. Evergreen Quilt Guild, Fiber Artisans of Northeast Wisconsin and Embroiders Guild of America each offer valuable programs for fiber-related artisans. The Northeast Wisconsin Watercolor Society has monthly guest artists presenting varied techniques to its broad membership. Each of these talented groups has enriched my mind and stretched my skills in new directions. We are so fortunate to have such a strong art community right here in the Bay Area that works together to promote the creative spirit.
If you have a favorite quote or words of advice for aspiring artists, what would they be?
Teachers will tell you that all children are born natural artists, fearless and eager to create. As adults we learn to be cautious and lose that courage to trust ourselves. Vincent Van Gogh said that “If you hear a voice within you say, 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." Don't wait to do something you are passionate about. Do it now!
Where should we direct others to view your work?
I am honored to have had work on display in places we have lived, including:
The governor's mansion (Neb.), Scott Air Force Base (Ill.), women's shelters (Chicago, Kansas City), State Fair Carousel (Minn.), City Library (Tenn.) and the Blue Room Christmas Tree (White House, D.C.). Other work can be found in the Decorative Artist Magazine, Northlight Books, Singer Sewing Library and as a national artist for the Society of Decorative Painters' Convention (Tampa, Fla.). I look forward to an opportunity to contribute here in Wisconsin. I welcome inquiries at (920) 574-3721.