Art has been part of my life for as long as I can remember, as a wee one getting lost in the play of light, color, and shape as I roamed the fields and woods behind our home... and as I watched my mother find time, while raising eight children, to make art with us and cultivate her own creative process. She shared her love of art and gratitude for the beauty that surrounds, and wove it into the fabric of our upbringing. This connection with art and nature has been an integral part of my life, and continues to inspire me and make me grateful to be alive.
Although I received formal training in art at Indiana University, I chose to get my degrees in Social Work. I was both delighted and challenged to discover a much broader world of art than I had yet experienced. It ignited my passion on a primal level to create, and that energy has continued to fuel me in the 32 years that have transpired since that time. I find my deepest learning stems from unending curiosity and a strong drive to continue experimenting and learning new techniques and art forms, and especially from connecting with the creative energy in others.
I worked in the field of social work for 10 years, alongside children and the elderly, with a concentration in medical social work. Those last 5 years I had the privilege of being a hospice social worker, and witnessed time and time again the healing influence of nature and art. Working with people at such a tender and vulnerable time in their lives was a gift that taught me to slow down, be present, and truly appreciate each day. This thread of healing has been interwoven in my personal journey, as well, and has helped keep me connected to the goodness and beauty in life. No matter the darkness, I believe that art can soothe and heal.
Much unfolding has transpired in the past 15 years, as I left social work to have our two boys and moved to the country to raise and homeschool them, sharing this love yet again. Being nestled between the hills and sky serves to ground me and makes me breathe more deeply, offering endless wonders to explore and express. In the past few years, as my boys have gained independence, I've been able to dedicate deeply yearned-for time dipping into the well of accumulated energy that has been waiting. Working with macro photography keeps me grounded in noticing the small details that can be overlooked when in the throes of daily life, and is a way of capturing fleeting moments of time, often rich with symbolism reflective of life's themes and cycles. My intention is that solace, hope, healing, and light are transmitted through these images to the viewer, awakening their own creative energy.
Delving into encaustic art has been a thrilling exploration, full of discovery and innovation. “Encaustic” literally means to “burn in”, and refers to the process of heating the beeswax/ damar resin medium to the previous layer. Encaustic art has been made for over 4,000 years, dating back to the paintings on Egyptian mummies and the hulls of Viking ships, withstanding both the elements and the test of time. Working with this ancient challenging medium allows me to interact with natural elements on both a visual and tactile level. By meticulously building up multiple layers of beeswax, an inherent luminous quality is revealed. These layers provide the opportunity for additional color and surface relief to be carved into the strata, enriching and transforming the original photograph. These carefully constructed layers are akin to the many which protect our inner core. I believe at the center of each of us is a quality of basic goodness, and that this is as integral to us as it is to the encaustic piece, despite being covered by many layers which develop as we progress through life.
It is this process of reimagining my photography by bringing out hidden imagery through layering of wax, cutting, carving, sculpting, coloring, and reconstructing that my work evolves into entirely new forms. This is much like the healing process, which is built out of laborious steps that require sustained patience, and whose end result becomes far stronger than my original preconception. Trusting the process in this way has become a good metaphor for practicing this concept in my life.
I recently had a profound dream, whose words are now etched into my mind. They were uttered directly to me through a wise and gentle guide, and I listened intently as I barely held my body upright, exhausted from the effort of healing. He pointed to metal forms which contained clay that had been coiled in many intricate and deeply grooved patterns, as the foundation for print-making. The words were spoken slowly and with deliberation...
These are the molds
And the impressions are deep.
You can always take out the clay
And being again
Transformation is possible in infinite ways! What validation that although our life experiences shape who we are, we are not bound by them-- we have the permission to change and become who we are meant and choose to be. This is a deep message that I hope is transmitted through the energy of my work, awakening and connecting to the healing and creative energy inside every human being...