WHAT INSPIRES ME
Though our natural world has never been more imperiled than it is today, we are at a moment in human development that has the potential to usher in a renewed reverence to our union with all living things. We are not separate from nature in all of its forms—no more than we are separate from each other. We are living in a time of enormous change, a rushing surge of awareness, stewardship and advocacy for our living planet, and at the same time, a tidal wave of fear, insecurity and uncertainty.
In 2004 I moved to Vermont and formed an instant bond, not only with the inspiring landscape and abundant wildlife, but also with the culture of interconnectedness with the natural world that seems woven into the fabric of everyday life here. My artistic focus has naturally shifted from figurative work to one of my greatest loves—animals—as a language to translate the spirit into the physical world. For me, animals have always provided that grounding connection to what is sacred—a serenity that pulls us out of our everyday chaos and focuses our attention on the present.
Indigenous cultures all over the world have long held the animal kingdom in the highest regard, creating mythologies to help translate their powerful messages. Their stories can help us navigate our own inner landscapes, or speak to larger external challenges that can feel insurmountable. The idea of working from a place of connectedness—both in the spiritual and physical realms—is one I believe begins to heal and nurture our spirits as individuals, and simultaneously the challenges we face as one human family.
Creative process constantly evolves and changes, but for the moment I use mostly Gamblin and Windsor & Newton Oils. My palette generally includes Titanium White, Ivory Black, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Oxide, Burnt Sienna, Terra Rosa, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Teal. For medium, I use a mix of Linseed or Poppy Oil and Gamsol Odorless Mineral Spirits, and I've been experimenting with other things like Windsor & Newton's Oil Primer which provides an amazing ground.
My current go-to brushes are Rosemary & Co. evergreens and eclipse filberts. I also love Windsor & Newton Monarch flats and brights.
My process begins with finding my photo reference, which I prefer to photograph myself. This takes me to animal sanctuaries, nature centers, sometimes zoos (ones that treat their animals really well), and into the outdoors. I pour through the hundreds of images I've captured that day, then narrow my choices down to just a few—the ones that really capture emotion and expression best.