A late bloomer, I did not start my artistic career until I was just shy of 40. All my friends were artists, yet I knew I wasn’t one. I couldn’t even draw a stick figure. I had missed out on that talent gene. Challenged to “just play” with art in a business retreat, I learned that my perfectionism was standing in my way of expressing myself artistically. I thought I was intuitively suppose to “know” how to draw and paint. I didn’t realize that art, as with anything else in life, is a learning process and my tendency to compare my beginning efforts to the teachers finished results, expecting perfection on my first try, was standing in my way of learning and enjoying the process of art.
I began a journey after that retreat that has changed my life! Changed my perception of who I am and allowed my art to become an integral part of my life.
I started trying to do it all! Watercolor, Drawing and Oils and quickly realized that I needed to focus on learning one medium. My teachers recommended Watercolor. I needed to learn to accept my “mistakes” and incorporate them in my finished painting. With Oils and Drawing I kept trying to fix things to the point that the painting were ruined. Watercolor allowed me to let go and follow the process and the painting to its logical conclusion.
I painted in Watercolors for my first 7 years. I was lucky enough to get a job helping a fellow artist coordinate painting retreats and took classes with some of the most famous Watercolor artist of the times. Zoltan Zabo, Judy Wagner, Al Stine, Caroline Buchanan, Chris Unwin, Carl Dalio and Kristy Gjesme were just a few of my teachers. I was accepted in my first gallery after two years. By my fifth year of painting I had quit my day job and I was traveling, selling art and teaching for a living.
After seven years I branched out into other mediums. Oils, mixed media, pastels, acrylics, encaustics and alcohol inks. I love all art! Yet I keep coming back to the fluid mediums of Watercolor and Alcohol Inks. The unpredictability of these mediums challenges me to create in such a way that I feel I am dancing with a higher power, co-creating with the something bigger than myself. Allowing the paintings to become what they will, following the painting instead of forcing the outcome. Painting becomes a “walking meditation” taking me out of my self and into a place of pure expression. A place of Love and Beauty. It is an amazing process that I stand more in awe of every day.
Out of my love of this process I began teaching what I had learned to others and fell in love again. Watching students blossom as they find their own unique voice through art is the second greatest gift I have ever been given. It is incredible how, if we as artist, just get out of our own way and accept what is in front of us.. letting the process unfold, like a beautiful flower, one petal at a time, we learn to paint. I like to give my students enough instruction to teach them HOW the medium will work. To let them build a framework of learned techniques that can be put together in a successful painting. A strong foundation allows us to create in comfort, knowing that we know enough to compose and paint the painting to match our vision. Once we learn the basic “rules” of composition and techniques, we are free to break away and create beyond the “rules”, to find our own voice in the medium. My favorite way to paint!