As the world becomes more complex, I find that visual approaches help me communicate with people of vastly different backgrounds.
I have a passion for sketching people, especially live human subjects. Aside from community classes in my youth, a couple freshman-level introductory classes in college, and a handful of courses here at CHAW, I’m self-taught and over the years have spent hours upon hours filling sketchbooks. One of my favorite pastimes is taking my sketchbook and pen to a coffee shop to draw fellow patrons, or quickly capturing other commuters’ poses/essences when riding on Metro/bus.
When I arrived at college, escaping West Virginia, yay!, I was an oblivious 17-year-old. I joined a curriculum that was really training, indoctrination, attack therapy, and an artifact of 1930s pedagogy: architecture school.
My first artistic attempts at capturing my children with a camera were not as satisfying as I wanted them to be, so I signed up for photography classes at CHAW. I liked it so much, I returned for more classes and eventually obtained a Master’s in New Media Photojournalism from the Corcoran.
I compare my pieces to political cartoons, but with textiles and buttons rather than pen and paper. Each of my hangings tells a story, describes an experience, or illustrates the double standards of which we are all guilty.
I was not one of those kids in high school who was into photography. You know, the kids who knew about cameras and darkrooms. Had I not stumbled into majoring in art history at Yale, I wonder if I would have ever thought to take a course in photography. Because I had no background in studio art, photography appealed to me as the so-called “royal road to drawing”, something a gazillion people have likewise thought, ever since the nineteenth century.
I went home and told my aunts, who were REAL artists. They told me to paint what I wanted AND gave me better brushes.
This upheaval and its dislocations changed my perspective and made me more observant of people and my surroundings. It enhanced my visual acuity and the creative spirit that I now express through art.
my paintings are inspired by watercolors themselves – they engulf and permeate each other, they go where they please.