Hi, let me tell you a little about myself. I was born and raised in what could be described as a "sit-com" environment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But, ... being a southern girl at heart, when life relocated me in 1986 I readily adopted the Palmetto State of South Carolina as home.
I also lived for short periods of time in both New Jersey and New Hampshire. And perhaps more signifigantly, I relocated to the Lake District of northern England on two separate occasions. First to the small village of Cockermouth and second to Holmrook, just a short walk from the coast of the Irish Sea. It was during these periods when I fell in love with the rugged, untouched, velvety landscape of the region.
Why I Paint
Looking back, I have been creative my entire life, but, I suppose, I never really noticed it to be anything out of the ordinary. I was constantly finding various outlets to express my creativity but I never focused in a particular direction for long. I loved decorating when the need arose. I designed beautiful landscapes and floral designs when called upon to do so. I loved writing, thinking, dreaming - expression in all of its forms was, and still is, a natural flow for me.
My true inspiration, however, came to me unexpectedly one afternoon when I was casually reading a sermon written by a friend titled "Buried Treasure". This was a sermon written about someone who had died, it really had nothing to do with me...I was simply previewing it. I grabbed my cup of coffee and though it would only take a few moments to read and process the four pages. But, when I got to the paragraphs which described the uncultivated gifts and unrealized talents, I was stopped cold! Instead of reading about someone elses life I found myself staring into a huge proverbial mirror with nothing but unveiled honesty staring back at me. My mind was wandering through my own field of buried treasure. There was no turning back. I read and reread those paragraphs like a check list of my life; Searching, reflecting, wondering ... allowing myself to smile and feel content with areas fulfilled, but forced to be honest and recognize the others. The message was echoing in my head. But, it was, a helpful, guiding kind of echo, not just the kind that haunts.
My life moved on and things happened ... until one day, years later, I whimsically signed up for a painting workshop.
As soon as I held the brush I knew I was meant to paint!
I have always admired the works of late 19th and early 20th century. There is a looseness, beauty, and casualness of this period I find mesmorizing. I see it to be the perfect blend of artistic expression and painterly skill.
I am an Impressionist.
I have often told people, "I can teach you to paint but I can not teach you to be an artist ... that must come from within.". I truly believe creative talent can not be taught. It is exactly that, a talent. Something that is deep within; A gift, a vision, a way of seeing, an innate sense of arrangement, style, scale. Creativity is a need for expression which can not be denied. However, what it takes to turn internal creativty into something visual and tangible is skill. That must be learned. To be an artist one must combine both innate talent and learned skill. For my talent I am humbly grateful.
For my skill I have worked passionately.
I am a primarily self-educated artist. I have taken countless workshops, most recently studing portraiture with Tanvi Pathare, a principal instructor from the The Florence Academy of Art. When I am not working in my studio I study books, videos, techniques and materials. I have studied with wonderful painters both one-on-one and in group settings. I have painted in the hills of Tuscany and England with amazing mentors. And, I have enjoyed many hours in the Muse'e d'Orsay and Muse'e de l'Orangerie in Paris, France analyizing and absorbing inspiration from the brushstrokes of those I admire most in the art world. I feel this passion is necessary for my evolution.
Honors and Awards
Although I am not one to enter contests or competitions, judges have been kind and awarded me a variety of honors along the way:
First Place Award in the South Carolina State Fair decorative art division for "Buttermere Chruch" in 2010.
The People's Choice Award from the Still Hopes Art Exihibition for "Bingley" in 2012 (This was a one-award exhibition. I felt very honored to recieve the only award given).
Merit Award for "Still Watching" in 2012.
I have been juried into the South Carolina State Fair Professional Fine Art Competition in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 (every year entered). And in 2012 received the SC State Fair's Purchase Patron Award, having my piece "Mommy and Me" chosen to hang among the Fair's permanent collection.
In 2013 I was very honored to be selected by Twin Cities, Minnesota “exploring TOSCA” magazine as South Carolina Artist of the Year.
In 2016 I was privileged to paint a commissioned piece of Frank Lloyd Wright's Penwern Estate ... where the piece "Penwern and the Perfect Day" now hangs.