As I was thinking about what I’d want people to take with them from this talk and from the paintings, I was thinking about how it feels to take a hike and explore the world… I want to deliver those same feelings through my art… a breath of fresh air. I want you to be set free. I want you to break out of the rigidity, criticism, and conflict of the world that you hold much too closely inside of yourself. I want you to dream up your biggest and most humbling and profound dreams. And I want you to be open to the joys of just simply being in this world.
Authentic celebration and bonding over dreams are two of my core values… and I’ve noticed that it’s something the world needs. Painting these animals and plants is calling attention to something I love and want to share with the world.
As a kid I created a “good news newspaper”, which was in response to my frustration with the news always being filled with horror and sadness. As a kid I thought, “aren’t there just as many good things happening?” My newspaper, which was called something like The Ping Times, named after my favorite guinea pig, was a collection of happy moments that I experienced in the neighborhood. My paintings carry on this same sentiment… wanting to uplift our community, and bond over a shared love for nature, kindness, beauty and the exciting goodness of life.
Theres a podcast called Creative Pep Talk that I listen to, and often with my coworker Molly as we work restoring textiles together. One of his episodes covers artist archetypes. Mine I would say, is the Healing Bard. As Andy J Pizza puts it, “These artists inspire, move and heal with magic from the heart. Bards master the art of conjuring emotion & feeling in their audiences.” I see nature as being so therapeutic, pure and wise… and it helps give breath and make sense in a world that is filled with so much hate, discrimination and destruction. The plants and animals… the geologic time… the infinite sky… the stoic, piercing mountains… all of them are our allies and reflect our most authentic passions & selves.
Someone once said that looking at an animal in one of my paintings was like looking at a long-time friend. This striked me as exactly what I’d hope for someone to experience from my paintings. A deep and profound intimacy, so much so that the characters in the paintings feel familiar and close to you. There’s magic in that, and how you can capture and express a personality in art that you didn’t even know was inside of yourself. It’s also been interesting to see how each person notices something new in the paintings… like they’re essentially seeing deep inside of themselves.
I see and notice more when I’m involved in a process of cataloguing plants and animals through painted illustrations. Each critter and plant has an infinite amount of detail and there’s always something new to discover.
My painting process inspires me to become more aware, attuned and present in the world. I get excited thinking of new ideas for pieces when I’m out in nature and looking closely at a plant, or how what a critter is doing… or what insects like certain flowers. I love illustrating relationships and delicate details.
I chose the title Abundance/ Impermanence for this show because they’re two topics that speak to one another profoundly and sum up so much of what makes living in the world vivid and alive. This title speaks to the amazing abundance of wilderness and how yet, ecologies are so fragile... how only 3 percent of the forests from when Europeans landed here are still remaining. Realizing the fragility & impermanence of life is a part of what creates a profound sense of gratitude, and a desire to take care of the world.
My job as an artist is to hold up the important, juicy, beautiful bits of life up to the light, and also the powerful, deeply sobering bits as well… to identify what’s lacking in conversations, but is yearned for. That’s one of the roles of the Healing Bard, if you are distraught that your voice and feelings aren’t being reflected, bring it into the world because other like you also need it.
Abundance is one of my absolute favorite words. It expresses joy and juiciness, and our desire for harmony and an overflowing… enough to go around.
which is something I carry in my paintings. It also speaks to how diversity is essentials for a healthy, thriving ecology… there needs to be an abundance of personalities, critters and plants in nature for it all to work!
I truly believe that all of the beauty in the natural world and inside ourselves, being catalogued, collected and shared is deeply important… that love is what will get us through the mess… we need to love ourselves, the place we live and each other… and we need to bond over dreams and the beauty in the world. We need a profound sense of wholeness, aliveness and authenticity from art and nature.
A theme throughout my work and life is likewise, nostalgia & newness… a looking back & forward all at once, grieving what was lost and learning from the past to move forward and create our future.
My paintings come from the knowing in my heart of what I value and am fighting and living for.
I love art, and am passionate about it.
I love community and the capacity to be seen and see others.
And I especially love being a part of the natural world, and learning from it’s sustainability, harmony and balance.