As artist, author, illustrator, amateur photographer, teacher, business owner, and real estate investor … I wear many hats. I am a Gemini, so that is not surprising!
Regardless of the “jack of all trades” persona I may present, art has been flowing from my fingers since I can remember. It is for that reason, in this instance, that I will highlight three particular “hats” I wear.
I hope you can trust that it is of the utmost importance to me that I always “do a thing well” … regardless of my Gemini habits of floating on many ideas at once.
I draw, mostly with conte, where I enjoy the indelible marks that are accompanied by a sense of a fleeting existence. Every mark on the page is at once permanent and transient, for the conte is entirely unforgiving yet easily smudged. The paper the marks are made on is so easily wrecked by just about anything; an unexpected breeze, a poorly placed elbow or a missed sip of coffee. The very nature of a drawing is delicate and short-lived until trapped under glass. It is these conflicting ideas of creating something everlasting and yet easily short lived that give drawing a dual identity; practice and purpose. Drawing is my roots, for drawing was my first love and it comes the easiest to me. I don’t do it often enough, but when I draw I do so from a place of contented confidence. I am reminded of the little girl who spent her free afternoons colouring on the front porch; the teenager who spent her spare in the empty art room on double art days which amounted to an entire morning of art every week; the young woman tackling university with an alarming amount of naivety, that found confidence in a room of artists when a pencil or chunk of charcoal was in her hand. I draw.
I paint, always with acrylic on wood board. Through practice I have learned to understand acrylic, and using a smooth wood canvas allows for clean lines and flat edges, as well as messy organic blends of colour directly on the wood. Painting on board with acrylic can sometimes be tricky, as a water based paint on a hard wood surface has very little to absorb into. Instead in floats on the surface and I call upon my draftman skills to place it where I want it. As the air quickly dissolves the water, I am left with coloured marks and sometimes hints of the woods surface peering from beneath. I build my acrylic paintings up from that light wash of colour to the imagery I wish to portray, often leaving some hints of the woods original story within my brush strokes. When I paint I do so from a place of curiosity and exploration. Each mixture of colour and each touch of the brush to the board different then the last, holding a question in it; asking my hand how it will respond to the subtle diversity in the unfixed nature of acrylic on board. I like to believe it is my fingertips that command the colours, but in reality I think it is the opposite of which is happening. I paint.
I write, as I find pleasure in stringing individual words together to create a sentence that has meaning. There is a deep intimacy in writing as it is a solitary thing, yet it is one half of the circle of communication. The very purpose of writing is for someone to read it, to create engagement from someone other then yourself. As it is for writing the same is true for reading. A book is created for many people to enjoy, yet it holds the engagement of one person at a time on a private level. It is also at once solitary and yet connected in the vast cycle of communication. Writing and reading is communicating without speaking or even sharing a space with someone. Together they expand our worlds while we sit in the comfort of our own space by taking us on adventures and introducing us to heroes; by imagining places, people and things we never thought possible and inspiring us to better ourselves; by asking us to scrutinize our past and present to make for a better future; to question our understandings and perspectives and enlighten us to new discoveries; to remind us of where we’ve come from and sometimes to shed light on where we might be headed. I don’t dream of ever writing anything profound or life changing, I leave that to the J.K. Rowlings of the world, but when I write I do so from a place of impulsive desire. My best writing is when I go to my keyboard or journal organically, when my body unconsciously takes me there. I let my thoughts spill onto the page and I get to experience a moment of empowerment. In the act of writing my jumbled up thoughts transform themselves into words on a page that manage to make more sense then I ever imagined in my head. I write.
I illustrate, and in turn play a role in the creation of a story. Illustration is the one artistic endeavor I do more for other people then for myself. Illustrating is an extension and ultimately a kind of blend of my passions in art and writing. It allows me to be apart of the creation of a book, a collection of words and images that tell a story. I take pleasure not only in playing a role in the act of story telling but in playing a role in someone’s dream of seeing his or her words transformed into book form. When I illustrate I do so with an effort to combine by artistic instinct and an embodiment of what the author has communicated to me. I strive to create images that have translated from the authors’ dreams to my fingertips. I illustrate.
It is my mission to spread the magic of creativity and the appreciation of the little things as far as my reach will take me. This is your reminder to pause, open your heart and mind, and truly see!
“Sometimes, the most beautiful is the simplest.” – JSAA