I don't want to be an artist; instead I want my life to be art. In truth, all life is art. We just have to awaken to this reality. That’s why I paint. I find inspiration in the Creator, and in Creation. The Spirit flows through all, and my art is a (valiant!) attempt to capture this.
My first memory of wanting to create art is watching my dad draw, and thinking it was good. Once I was old enough to hold a pencil, he gave me some “How to Draw Things” books. I studiously followed the steps laid out within the pages of these precious books, and found I had a knack for copying things. But I thought being an artist was about as likely as being famous, or hitting the lottery. It just didn’t seem like a career path for “normal” people.
Back then, I wanted to be normal….
Growing up, I always wanted to teach. So, when it came time to pick a college major, I decided to combine my desire to teach with my love of art, by majoring in art education. I taught elementary art for four years. The schools lacked resources, so I lacked a "home base," sometimes even a room of my own.
I taught art from a cart.
It had its challenges. After having my daughter, I quit work to be with her...then got stir crazy and went back to school. This time for a PhD in sociology. I went back to teaching, this time as a sociology professor. But as an adjunct faculty member, I still lacked a "home base," and never even had an office of my own.
I taught sociology from a cart...and I lost the art for a while.
Then the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) saw fit to hire me as a sociologist for the denomination. The Presbyterians grew on me, and soon I joined their ranks. I was baptized in August of 2015, and began exploring Christian spirituality, reading some Thomas Merton, taking meditation classes...basically, reawakening that sense of wonder about the world and our place in it.
That's when the art came back.
And that desire to be normal vanished.
Now I want to move beyond copying things, to piercing the surface and finding the Truth in the objects and the people I was painting—to move from ‘looking’ to ‘seeing.’ Nothing resembles reality less than the objects in front of us. The objects are shadows. The artist’s job is to uncover reality by integrating what we see with what we perceive—to find that sacred space where meaning and object unite. To find the spark of creation that is shared between subject and object. To practice the presence of God.
As an artist, I want to find the art in life, the Creator in Creation. I want to help others do the same.
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