Imagination is more important than knowledge-Albert Einstein
My parents encouraged the artist in me-- and I was an imaginative girl who loved to read, write stories and draw. Yet, it wasn’t until the ninth grade, that I began to invest more energy and time, and with ultra seriousness, began to build a portfolio, dreaming of a career in fashion illustration. For me, drawing faces wasn’t only about pretty faces, it was about capturing feeling in the sitter’s eyes, and drawing figures about dynamic movement, plus texture, pattern and line. Hours were spent studying and recreating all the details, even using risky mediums like a nib pen and ink.
I appreciated a good challenge.
At UC Santa Cruz, the natural environment inspired, friends encouraged me to follow my heart, and fellow art students were models of daring in subject matter and technique. Intensive figure-drawing sessions, printmaking, and a watercolor seminar were influential in later artistic choices.
However, the most powerful experience was a 1985 trip across Europe, soaking in the languages, history, and, of course, art. Along the way, I took many photographs and filled up a small watercolor book with paintings. The photographs, journal writing and items collected in that trip resurfaced in 2002 to inspire my first one-woman show...
After graduation, I took some time off from painting and to re-think my artistic path.
Working at the San Francisco Waldorf School brought renewal, by watching children explore color, light, and composition in their artwork. This spark led me to begin, in 1987 what would be10-years of still-life painting. Janet Fish’s light-filled work, with colorful glass had inspired me…Yet, realism was not my prime interest, as much as I enjoyed recreating transparent glass, the weave of fabric or the soft petal of a flower. For me, like works by 17th century Dutch artists, my subjects represented themes in my life, whether chosen intuitively or not, they manifested themselves in the painting.
Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you.
From 1987-1992, I lived in Europe. At Atelier Thulcke in Zurich, I learned the Collot technique which takes patience, but doesn’t rely on a drawing beforehand, as paint is applied in many saturated color washes, and the artist never has a particular motif in mind. Certain images emerge, but the experience is more about creating a color space and luminosity. At first, it was like swimming in the ocean after being in a pool; there was nothing to hold onto. Yet, after a few lessons, this technique freed me and helped me improve as an artist, able to develop background space as an integral part of the work,, rather than an arbitrary aspect of process, less important than the subject itself.
After graduate school, I worked at a middle school for 9 years, teaching art and English. My students inspired me with energy, enthusiasm, creativity and dedication. I was envious, yet did little of my own art until my figure drawing unit provided an opportunity to rediscover the joy of drawing the human form. To the students’ surprise, I drew with them and then it was clear: it was time to carve out a space for myself to do this, for real. So in 2000, I started turning out numerous drawings—some from photographs, others from local figure drawing sessions.
The first hope of a painter who feels hopeful about painting is the hope that the painting will move, that it will live outside its frame.
- Gertrude Stein
In 2001 I took a lithography class at KALA Institute, and then rented an art studio in San Francisco's Mission district, determined to be more productive and focused in my work. There I made some connections with artists who pushed me in directions never thought possible. Using the largest dimensions of paper possible and water-soluble pastels, I drew figures in dynamic poses, to capture movement, the internal force driving the figure. I also began jazz classes at SF Dance Center, first, to break through my own insecurities about dancing, and second, to observe and better capture movement on paper. However, no matter how fast, I couldn’t draw the moves. The photograph seemed my only “salvation” to study and truly develop my ideas. During a trip to Portland in 2001 I caught an exhibit featuring dance photography; I was particularly struck by Lois Greenfield’s work, images of life force—this was what I was looking for...
During a 2002 UC Berkeley painting class, my confidence with acrylics led me to complete 3 works, including Leap. I loved her trajectory, her strength & defiance of gravity, for me, symbolic of risk-taking. Lanza’s rigorous, supportive drawing class also pushed me to be more focused and thorough. Finally, participating in Open Studios, gave me further confidence, and encouragement from my professors led me to try larger scale dancers and photo silkscreen.
So in spring 2003, I collaborated with photographer Leslie Bauer (www.lesliebauer.com)
for a show with the School of the Arts Dance Performance, at Fort Mason. Alongside her black & white photographs were my photo silkscreen paintings on wood panels, a triptych and another life-size painting. Painting on this scale was, to use a euphemism, “challenging”, including the logistics of assembling a wood panel bigger than myself, or fitting a triptych into my compact car. Drawing life-size required new perspective, and the choice of a monochromatic palette was more difficult than anticipated. It was a relief after this series to switch into something different.
The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.
In a new studio in Hayes Valley, I once again began to dedicate myself to a series, this time, 14 works to be shown at the French Cultural Center for my first one-woman show. The focus was my 1985 trip to Europe, a pivotal time in my life. I selected key photographs, 10 digitally printed on canvas; others recreated in acrylic on wood panels. Then there were 3 collages from paper souvenirs. In contrast, each one of the panel paintings were like the best & worst of puzzle-solving, especially the Paris street scene. As the summer passed, the materialistic details began to trigger memories of the moment those photos were taken- what was really going on behind the camera. Thus, it became an exercise in memory, as much as faithful reproduction of an image. This show was very exciting, and I owe my family and friends so much for helping support me to make it happen. The day it ended, I had to re-hang it in my studio for 2003 Open Studios.
And not long after, it was time for a much-needed break. ( Teaching full-time, with a commute to Half Moon Bay, in addition to the artwork was another reason behind that decision. ) In the 2 last years, I’ve been working on music-inspired paintings, and interior wall paintings influenced by Lazure technique.