I am inspired to paint places or experiences that are meaningful to me, including rural landscapes and seascapes. I prefer the dramatic lighting found at dawn, sunset or in unusual weather conditions, which brings out the extraordinary beauty in ordinary subjects. I often paint a subject first from a distance and then close up, so that the viewer gradually becomes a participant in the experience. Most of my paintings feature man-made forms, often contradicted or balanced by the natural environment. A few years ago, I received a rocking chair that belonged to by great-grandmother. My first thought was to replace the worn seat cushion. Then I realized that the hollow in the cushion was actually created by my great-grandmother, and represented her existence on earth. I have always loved architecture; nothing new or pristine, but old, weathered structures that are vanishing from our landscape. They remind me of my great-grandmother’s chair. If they could speak, they would have stories to tell.
To study my subjects, I often paint outdoors in hand-bound watercolor sketchbooks, and then use these sketches along with photographs as references for larger paintings. Most of my studio works are done with soft pastels, because I love their beautiful textures, rich colors and expressive energy.
After graduating from the University of Oregon’s school of architecture, I spent several years painting with watercolors. Then I was introduced to colored pencils through a weekend workshop. Colored pencil proved to be a medium that was easy to use with small children at home. I grew to love colored pencil, and worked with it exclusively for the next 15 years. After illustrating a children’s book, I decided to explore mediums that would allow me to work more quickly and make changes more easily. In 2004, I took my first pastel lesson, and at the same time studied watercolor and oil painting. I wasn’t sure which medium I would choose, but I was intrigued by the rich colors and wonderful textures of pastels. I did not make a conscious decision to work with pastels. They chose me. When I see a subject that inspires me, I envision it as a pastel painting.
I teach drawing and painting at my studio in Vicksburg, Michigan. I am a member of the Great Lakes Pastel Society, The Northern Indiana Pastel Society and a signature member of the Pastel Society of America. In the 15th Annual Pastel 100 Competition sponsored by the Pastel Journal, I received the Ruth Richeson/Unison Award and fifth place in the Still Life and Floral Category. You may see the related articles in the April 2014 issue of the Pastel Journal.
-Silver award in the International Association of Pastel Societies 26th exhibition in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
-French Canvas Award at the 43rd Pastel Society of America Annual Exhibition: Enduring Brilliance
-Bronze Award at the Great Lakes Pastel Society Members Exhibition in Owosso, Michigan in October 2015.
-Third place in the landscape category of the Pastel 100 Annual Competition. Her painting The Bunkhouse will be published in the April 2016 Pastel Journal.