When most people think of painters, they think of someone who uses paintbrushes. But I rarely use paintbrushes! Watch the video to see how I paint.
My art process is intuitive. I don’t plan much, except my color palette. But that doesn’t mean that making art is without its challenges. I look back and see where I started when I took up a paintbrush again 2 years ago and my first attempt at abstract art, compared to where I am today. I paint obsessively, so the lessons I’ve learned in these 2 years have been many in number and difficult at times. My color choices have improved. My art has improved. My compositions have improved. My reasons WHY I make art have become clearer. I cannot afford workshops, so I’ve learned on my own, trying until I discover my own breakthroughs. Sometimes with tears. I think all true artists feel like failures at times. But out of the dark times and the difficult times beauty has been born. Resiliency emerges. My art has changed. I’ve lost some fans for whom my message no longer resonates. And I’ve gained others who want to be a part of my journey, who understand that life and art are more than pretty pictures. Sometimes it’s about grit and tenacity and change. Just as ocean waves splash over rocks, pulling away impurities and smoothing what is left. My new collection, titled “Emerging”, is also a relevant reflection on what we are currently, collectively experiencing as a world in lockdown.
I thought I’d share with you a little about my background as an artist. The words “self taught” are thrown around a lot these days, and I just want to say that regardless of an artist’s educational background, we are all self taught. Art is not concrete like math or spelling. We can be taught important fundamentals and techniques in art, but we apply them in our own ways to our own way of creating art.
While many students may leave art school with cookie cutter portfolios that look similar, once we spread our wings and find our style, our journeys can take us in so many different directions. I spent nearly 20 years in commercial art, working as a freelance illustrator and designer. Then, as I went the path as a children’s book illustrator of more than a dozen books, I began exploring fine art by drawing and painting still life in graphite and watercolor, and my style was very realistic and classical. It wasn’t until 2 years ago when I picked up a brush again after a 4 year hiatus (at a miserable job), that I began painting in an abstract style. And even now, my art is evolving and changing because I am always learning. I teach myself to observe nature — the way light affects color and value. I attempt to capture what I learn in my approach to each new painting. I couldn’t imagine still making the type of art I did back in the early 90s when I was fresh out of art school! There’s no creativity in repeating what you learned 30 years ago. I still apply fundamentals of composition, value, color theory, etc., but with the confidence to pave my path in whatever direction my heart desires.
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In the midst of all of the heaviness of news in the world, it’s easy to wonder whether the world still needs the arts. One of the first business closings in Chicago that I heard about was an historic dance company. Of course, there are many others and the list keeps growing, but it just shows how delicate of a balance it is for so many businesses to stay open. So what about art? Do we need art?
We do. There is value in owning an original painting, drawing or print, seeing its texture and the nuances that are oftentimes lost in reproductions. For instance, I own several works of art by other artists that are oil/acrylic paint on canvas, and I can feel the texture with my fingertips and see how the varnish catches light to play up those textures. And if I turn over the paintings, I can see the artists’ inscriptions on the backsides. I can smell the faint scent of varnish. The art is “real” to me. There is nothing like it, and knowing I own the original, touched by the hands of the artist.
So we will always need the arts. Live performance dance is so much more engaging than video recordings. Original art is so much more engaging than reproductions. This is why people buy tickets to a ballet or spend a day in a museum — to engage with the art in a way they can’t from behind their mobile devices.
My business is still open. I work my business every day. I still believe in the value of adding my own brand of beauty to the world, of creating art that is unique, uplifting, dimensional and original. I still plan to launch my next collection on Earth Day, April 22nd. I hope you'll join me. You can receive notifications by subscribing to my email newsletter.
I'm a lifelong artist living just outside of Chicago. I love flowers, vintage finds, nature hikes and all things beautiful.