Art gives me a chance to leave a lasting legacy that expresses beauty in an extraordinary way beyond what words can describe.
I was drawn to art at a young age. I loved creating things and the idea that you could make something that could become semi permanent. Something that could live beyond you; that could tell a story and be handed down.
I was fortunate to have encouraging art instructors at each step along my journey: from elementary school through college and beyond. In high school, I enrolled in AP art, a two year course of study, where I discovered oil paints. There was only one problem: my instructor was allergic to everything I would need to use oil paints. If I wanted to use oils, I would be unable to use paint thinners and would have to use disposable brushes! Never one to shy away from a challenge, I didn't let this stop me and proceeded to paint a series of 12 landscapes using only Q Tips sponges and my fingers as brushes.
In college, I had the opportunity to continue studying painting while spending a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. There, I studied under renowned art restorer, Lorenzo Casamenti. His fresco restoration class was part art history and part painting/restoration and was extremely inspiring, given the Renaissance subject matter. To this day, that class and the semester abroad remain an all time favorite of mine.
Following college, I took a painting class in 2009 and a photography class the following year and then my twin children were born and art took a backseat to life and family. In 2012, I had the opportunity to take a watercolor workshop led by award-winning artist, Mary Whyte. The workshop was the first time I had really been exposed to painting with brushes and was a catalyst for getting me back into painting. Mary personally inspired me to dust off my paints and get back to it. Some inspirational words from Mary:
"I don't believe any artist has ever truly been able to explain why we paint. Many have tried. I think artists paint simply because it feels good, like sun on the back of the neck. Making art fills us with a surprising and unexpected happiness, the same as when we hear tree frogs singing on the first warm night of spring. For artists, our work nourishes us and fills our senses. Every aspect of creating a painting is pleasurable: the feel of the brush in your hand, the smell of paint, the sound of a pencil moving across paper. Mixing color on the palette is like watching butterflies come to life."
Mary Whyte, An Artist's Way of Seeing
Live model from Mary Whyte workshop along with Mary Whyte original portrait and still life from the class.
In 2015, I started slowly gathering my paint, brushes and an old easel. After months of procrastination, I finally got back to painting and found its a lot like a muscle: the more you use it, the more familiar and stronger it becomes. Over the next year, I completed a series of studies, based on the work of one of my favorite artists, Betty Anglin Smith, and was inspired to devote more time to creating my own work.
A bucket list item of mine has always been to participate in Greenville Open Studios, a weekend each fall when artists open their studios to the public to share ideas, processes and methods for producing artwork. In 2017, I participated in my first Open Studios, during which I was fortunate to have the support of many friends and family. I sold about half of what I had available for the show and took the proceeds to pay for a studio outside of my home in in West Greenville at Greenville Center for Creative Arts.
I moved into the new studio in May of 2018 where I participate in the First Fridays gallery crawl on the first Friday of each month. Come visit me in the Historic Brandon Mill, where Shoeless Joe Jackson worked! My address is 101 Abney Street Studio 8, Greenville 29611.
For the Open Studios Retrospective Exhibit in the spring of 2019, I dusted off my jigsaw and made my first 3D, layered wood painting in 20 years. Sometimes you have to go backward to move forward and this definitely felt like a move in the right direction.