I create art to make people feel safer and calmer in an increasingly scary world. Much of my artwork is public art geared toward children and families in healthcare situations. If my art makes them feel more confident and relaxed, then I have achieved my goal. When I work with and for children, I am reminded that I need to think like a child to make art that connects with them and is relevant to their experience without talking down to them. I really love creating this type of art and want to do more of it - both public art and print and commercial art.
I also enjoy making fine art for an adult audience. I have achieved some success in this realm. A recent example is my watercolor piece, "Where's my WD-40?" It has been accepted into three juried shows and has received an Honorable Mention in the Watercolor Magic 2007 Watermedia Showcase which will be highlighted in the August 2007 issue. This artwork combines some of the aspects of watercolor I love best - the unexpected textures, the ability to layer and lift off to create a surprising sense of depth and rich, saturated colors. The title adds a whimsical tweak that has made this piece a favorite of the do-it-yourself set.
I start each piece with a series of thumbnail sketches. At this stage it is easy to get very creative and experimental - and also easy to cast off even very good ideas that will not work well in the finished piece. Unexpected connections occur in this stage that often defines the completed work. I use extensive photo reference and use my camera as much as a paintbrush in the creation and composition of my work. The actual painting of the piece is not nearly as exciting as the concept phase - I am just following the direction established through preliminary sketches. I usually work in watercolor or acrylic and often use unconventional ways of applying paint. My traditional brushwork is accented with airbrush, spatter, transparent glazes, sponges, rollers, my fingers - you name it.
I have not had a formal education as an artist or illustrator, but I have come to feel that it is more of a gift than a hindrance. I possess a certain freedom from imposed strictures and rules that bind other artists. No one told me, "You can't do that!" I always try it anyway - if it works, that is great; I have a new technique in my arsenal. If it fails, I have learned. I win either way.
I am working to find more opportunities to create art for children. I am entering my fine art in juried shows and competitions and hope to achieve recognition on a national level for my watercolor work. I continue to teach and share this great gift I have been granted, and hope each day that my art has reached and touched another soul.