Aside from the fact that I hate talking about myself in the third person?
Most people want to know where my inspiration comes from… where I learned how to paint… and what makes me tick.
While the latter is something you’ll have to decide for yourself, I can answer the first two rather easily.
I am inspired by nature. I identify with animals. I have a deep connection to the other sentient beings that share our planet, and they are easier for me to understand than other humans. I love the way the earth undulates in hills and mountains, dips and dives into oceans, the way the wind scrapes clouds into messy paint strokes and piles them into marshmallows. I love the way trees sway and cradle baby birds and the earth shelters and protects fox kits and baby bears.
Even when I paint my raw emotions, it comes out in the form of animals and nature. There are perfect metaphors for the dark days of my life, allowing me to reach in and touch those painful parts at a distance.
I’m also inspired by color. The right complementary colors can elevate an experience to a level that is almost spiritual. Beautiful colors bring the world to life. And while we each perceive colors differently, they impact every one of us on a level so deep that they are used to change mood, increase heart rate, passion, put us to sleep or even make us spend more money.
I am not a formally trained artist. I’m just a person who likes the feel of a brush in her hand, the way the bristles lay the paint on the canvas, the way a gentle touch or deep pressure can change the emotional tone of the piece. I started in high school with an “easy A” basic drawing class. I was hooked. I just dabbled for another 8 years until one Christmas there was a student grade acrylic painting set and some lesson books under the tree for me.
The internet is an incredible resource for artists. I turned to a few community groups who challenged me and critiqued my work. Eventually I began to branch out into watercolor and watercolor pencil, and found them a welcoming medium for me as well. Since parrots are a primary passion of mine, they were featured frequently as my subjects. Their colors translate well with both acrylics and watercolors.
Eventually I developed a following of parrot owners and I devoted myself to avian art. But I needed more, and craved the opportunity to capture all forms of wildlife, and so I have branched out into landscapes and wildlife, from big game to ocean creatures, from beach scenery to the Blue Ridge Mountains I call home.
I am always available for commissions, so if you have something in mind, please let me know.
Another big piece of me is my chronic illness. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobile type. This is a big fancy word for genetically faulty collagen that is weak and stretchy. Think of collagen like the glue in your body: it is in every system and everywhere. As a result, my joints frequently dislocate partially or fully, my organs don’t stay in place like they should, and my nervous system does not function normally. I have debilitating problems that are very difficult to control, and am prone to injury after injury. There is no cure for this and very little to be done aside from physical therapy, massage therapy, and lifestyle changes to cope with the limitations.
I have a very difficult time working a traditional job because of this. My art is my primary means of my support, because I can limit what I do and how I do it to accommodate my ever-changing needs.
The zebra is the mascot of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, because each patient has a completely different set of “stripes” – symptoms and problems. This zebra painting, when it sells, will help fund the local Asheville EDS Support group as well as the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. 100% of the money from the prints will also go to funding the support group. If you’d like to know more, visit the Ehlers-Danlos Society.