Creativity and art have been a vital part of my life from the beginning.
I grew up on a farm in the Midwest, where I cannot say there was any particular emphasis on “fine art” but my own path as an artist started early. I was confined to a body cast for a time as a toddler and this, my mother theorized, is when it all began. She would set me up with paper and crayons and I would spend hours drawing. As I’ve learned more about how the brain develops, I’ve realized that the time I was forced to spend as an observer when, most toddlers are running around getting into everything possible, left me with a heightened ability to notice and really see the world around me. This, for me, is much of what is involved in being an artist, first paying attention, then interpreting and getting creative.
I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I made a living as a graphic designer in my first career until a diagnosis of breast cancer created a bit of upheaval in my life. Making a long story short, I upended things after surviving all the cancer treatments and went back to school to be a massage therapist. I’ve found this career to be extremely fulfilling and it allows me to continue being creative in my work life albeit in a very different way. During both these careers, I did virtually no personal creative work like drawing and painting.
In 2011 I decided to take a workshop in drawing that was part of the Split Rock Arts Program through the University of Minnesota. I had long been thinking I wanted to start making some art again. By taking the week long workshop, I hoped to find out if could I still draw and would I enjoy doing it. Well, I loved it and got very encouraging feedback from my teachers and the other participants. My questions were definitely answered.
Currently I am painting with soft pastels, a new (as of late 2012) medium to me that I have completely fallen in love with. I love the vibrancy and immediacy of the color and the way the colors layer and blend. I also continue to draw with graphite, charcoal and colored pencils.
I find inspiration, solace, renewal and unending fascination in the natural world. This can be in my own back yard, the city streets and parks or out in the “wilds” somewhere. I am lucky to live in Minneapolis, a city that within its borders has amazing wildlife and copious numbers of lakes, rivers, creeks, wetlands, woods, etc. I’ve seen bald eagles, hawks, foxes, coyotes, deer, loons, and many other creatures within minutes of my home and occasionally in my own inner city yard. I walk, bike and snowshoe around the city and get to observe wonderful things. Then there are the drives out of town that bring me to favorite places like Lake Superior and the North Shore, Minnesota prairies and woodlands and the inspiration for my first pastels: Crex Meadows Wildlife Refuge in Grantsburg, Wisconsin.
My return to drawing and painting is very much tied to my spiritual practice including mindfulness meditation, which I have been practicing since 2004. Paying attention to things as they are and seeing that everything changes, always, everything is impermanent, strongly informs my life and my art. When I am working on a drawing or painting it is a practice of mindfulness.