who i am and what i do
I am a painter, arranger, expressionist and wholeness seeker. My medium(s) of choice are canvas, paper and paint. I live just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee with my husband and our two kiddos. There I work in my studio that overlooks a large pond and beautiful Lookout Mountain.
When I was growing up I had two artistic loves, painting and collage. I spent hours on each, switching back and forth. As I got older I focused mainly on painting, deeming that the more worthy endeavor. I studied art in college but graduated with a more "practical" (sigh) Marketing degree. After spending a couple years in advertising and design my creative brain was calling for more attention. As I was due with our first child, I decided I would stay home with him and pursue painting more seriously. I sorely underestimated how much time the former would be stealing from the latter. But, having less time to pursue art as a "job" meant I had more time to pursue it as a passion. I spent years developing my style, technique and narrative as an artist. It was a time of real creative growth.
Then came a detour in my artistic journey in the form of illness. In 2013 I was diagnosed with Late-Stage Lyme disease. By the time we got the diagnosis it had already had quite a while to wreak havoc on my health and especially my energy levels. Since creative energy takes...energy, I was forced to give up creating for some time. There were a lot of conversations with God about losing the gift He had given me of creating. But as with all things, He wanted to remove the good, for the best. Having stripped away all of my abilities, He was then able to refine and refocus me. He began healing me, first spiritually, emotionally, mentally and then physically too. And then He gave me back the gift of creating.
During the worst months of my illness, when I was unable to paint, I began to make collages again. That process was more manageable for me and provided a much needed outlet. Collage for me is purely intuitive. I rarely have a set plan, I just pull out what moves me and put them back together to create a new narrative. It also is a great medium for someone who works by trial and error. My process of creating is to start, adjust, readjust, and then finalize. I work best when there is freedom.
As my health improved and my children began school I was finally able to do this thing for real. The combination of painting and collage is the culmination of my story so far. I love the planning, designing and color control of painting my own source material. And then the freedom of cutting it up and reassembling it to create a story. The dimensional aspect of collage also adds so much richness to the narrative. In short, the painting/collage "mashup" is the perfect form of expression for me as an artist. The methods all come together to celebrate both freedom and control.