I grew up on a dairy farm working with animals and earth, growing crops and building fence, learning to nurture life and respect nature. This is where my life as an artist began. The lessons of balance and harmony that I learned on the farm are invaluable in expressing my feelings and experiences on canvas.
Some of my subject matter comes from early childhood experiences on the farm, but still more comes from my life with my children. I love seeing the world simplified through their eyes. My paintings are more of an essence of nature, not a literal representation of it. It’s the emotion that a stand of aspen stirs inside me that I’m trying to capture. You will notice lots of familial references in the titles of my paintings like “Three Sisters,” “Protecting the Little One,” and “Family of Five;” this is no accident.
My family also led me to another love, Italy. The first time my husband took me there, I felt an immediate connection. Undeniably, I was home. Rich colors and wonderful history overtook me as I absorbed the culture. I experienced Italy with Italians, and was able to embrace my heritage in a remarkable way. I strive to convey this sense of history with my paintings. I want viewers to experience the same enchantment I feel when coming upon a worn and broken, but beautiful old wall.
In order to get the effect of extreme age and texture, I use a ten-step process that allows me to manipulate my work to give it the essence that it has survived centuries. I start by making my own canvas. When the canvas has been properly prepared, I am ready to paint using only oils. Once the painting has dried, I literally break the painting with my hands. Then, I adhere the painting to a self-constructed wooden frame and shape edges to give a torn look. I want the image to look like you found this amazing wall in Italy and found a way to bring a piece of it home.
I will continue adding more oil paint either in very thin applications or with a bold palette knife. The cracks are real; it is not a “crackle finish” and I encourage people to touch and feel the work. Most people are drawn to the tactile nature of the painting and I want to engage the sense of touch. I want there to be an element of imperfection in my work. To have things be imperfect gives a little grace and a sense of freedom. Only through this freedom can we attain a sense of calm. I want to feel that calm my self, that’s why I paint.
In the end, I feel truly blessed to be able to express my experiences and share the intense emotion that is involved in creating.