My first memory related to art is at the age of five in kindergarten at Oakdale Elementary School in Salina, Kansas. Wearing a little painting smock, I remember standing before a child’s two-sided easel with the paint pots in the tray at the bottom and being totally mesmerized by the moving blob of red paint that I had just brushed on the paper. I watched it run all the way down the length of the paper. I was hooked!
From then on, I have created art all of my life. I recall only a very few times over the years when I was not doing something involved with art. Even before attaining my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from The University of Kansas, I participated in numerous art classes and professional workshops. I lived in England for three years during my early twenties which was an inspiring and educational experience for me in many ways. It was there that I first became interested in ancient civilizations — a pursuit that continues to influence my work to this day.
The initial inspiration for my art is place, whether familiar Kansas landscapes or new vistas from travels. I have visited many important Native American sites in the Southwest and the Midwest of the USA. A recent trip to Belgium, Scotland, and to the islands of Orkney, Shetland, and the Outer Hebrides will, without a doubt, influence my current work. In my travels, I always explore the history and culture of each place, and then imagery and meanings of the visit appear in my work upon returning to the studio. I am waiting for this recent travel muse to tap me on the shoulder!
A painter for many years, I have worked in a variety of media including pastel, acrylic and oil, as well as the printmaking processes of lithography and monoprinting. I like combining these techniques in the form of collage using found objects such as wood, stones, bones, and shells that may be affixed to a painted background or to a piece of handmade paper. Attaching objects to the paper with linen cord serves a practical purpose, and at the same time, the exposed hand-stitching becomes a design element and adds a desirable texture to the piece.
I find that working in two distinct styles of landscape — realism and the collage technique of combining disparate three-dimensional elements — complements each phase of my work. It keeps my work fresh, and opens up new ideas for experimenting in each medium. Eyes wide open, I still look in wonder at the red paint running along the edge, and I know I will never lose my enthusiasm for creating!