I grew up in Michigan where my family would take vacations camping around the state. I loved to draw and paint and find ways to express myself creatively. I admired a variety of other artists from Michelangelo to Monet to Norman Rockwell. In high school my bedroom walls were covered with portraits of celebrities that I had drawn. For a short time I was even commissioned at a local McDonald’s to do portraits for employees of the month. Loving creating, yet trying to be practical, I got a bachelor in fine arts (with the emphasis in graphic design) at Western Michigan University.
Right after college, I had a chance to live in Asia for a year and loved taking in the culture and colors of the places I lived. My oil pastels and sketch book traveled with me. From there I moved to Orlando Florida, taking a job with Cru as a graphic designer. As a designer I solve visual communication problems for other people, the work is varied and interesting. Not deriving my income from selling artwork has given me the freedom to experiment, different mediums and styles. Back in 2003 I returned to Florida after a trip to several National Parks in the Southwest. I took tons of pictures, inspired by mountains and rock formations. I had a goal to complete one piece per week. I worked in oil pastel, which allowed me to work quickly and inexpensively. This continued for over a year when my husband and I welcomed our first child. And then we became a family of four in 2006.
There have been cycles of high productivity and other times where my artwork has taken a backseat to other endeavors in life. Over the years I worked with oil pastes, dried gourds, with mixed media and including wax, and now started painting more regularly this past year using Acrylics. I work best if I have some photographs as reference for my work. Hungry for reference material I decided to do a series of paintings inspired by Lake Eola. I took one morning just wandering around the park, taking photos from different viewpoints, enjoying the mixture of nature and city. I completed 14 paintings of the Lake Eola area over the summer.
This summer feels in some ways that I’ve come full circle as my family again visited several parks in the Southwest. I came back with hundreds of photographs that I’m excited to paint. Besides painting I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, bike riding, and riding roller coasters with my kids. Man’s (and women’s) desire to create is a reflection of our being made in the image of a creative God. Looking at the world there is so much variety, and detail and beauty that goes beyond function. Painting allows me to slow down and reflect more on the beauty that is around us. Beauty that pierces our heart and gives us hope and a sense of longing. Longing for this world to more fully reflect the goodness of God and the Eden of the beginning. Hope that amidst the brokenness a goodness remains.