Filling my nature journals is incredibly satisfying for my mind and soul. Examining first-hand the details of a rock, sunlight on a leaf or even a “bug” always leads me to understand something new about the physical world. There is so much to learn just by observing. Studying creation is a opportunity to see the Creator’s handiwork up close. These studies inform my paintings. It is possible to become habituated to the beautiful sights Virginia, but I hope my art helps others look at their natural surrounding with new eyes.
“When you painted on Earth, it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape. The success of your paintings was that it enabled others to see the glimpses, too.”
-a snippet of conversation between the spirits of two dead artists from The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis.
From the painter’s perspective, I love contrast and will often choose to focus on changes in value or texture. Sometimes, I intentionally use the transparent and opaque qualities of different watercolor pigments to contrast against one another. I enjoy working with a limited palette. Many pieces are created with only three or four main pigments. Sculpting a believable three-dimensional space on a flat piece of paper is a perpetual challenge. But light is always the subject.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art (with Biology minor – a huge influence on my art) from James Madison University in 1996, I began working for a small business as an artist and web designer/manager. That was twenty-one years in which I drew, painted and designed at work. On my own, I pursued watercolor – a medium in which I still consider myself an enthusiastic learner. I also enjoy oil painting and drawing.
At a local homeschool co-op, I teach art classes each Autumn. Occassionally, I give classes and workshops for children or adults on drawing, painting and nature journaling.
My favorite activity – even better than studio painting – is taking long hikes in one of the many public forests or state/national parks in my local area and throughout Virginia. You can bet I will have art supplies in my backpack.