Artist Statement about my Shadow Tracings and Soil Paintings

Transition to Spring
Transition to Spring

As humans we connect naturally with the space and time in our lives. Our childhood memories and other experiences imprint in our brain. When we fully allow experiences to be remembered there is an energy that grows. I believe that to sense this connection, one needs to surrender to the moment and pay close attention the thoughts at that time. Being present and being mindful is essential.

A while ago, I began a journey to be mindful and present on my creative path. My first breakthrough was realized when I found myself walking  the local land of the  Julianne Woods. Jean, a very wise woman, opened her land to her students on many occasions. Equipped with  art materials, I ventured on a walk on an beautiful, late spring morning. that walk changed my art for the years to follow.

The relationship with the environment when you are alone, lost in thought and emotions, using you senses, create an energy that may spark a creative reaction.

My art reflects the support that I feel from the earth. I am drawn to the presence of light around me and the way in which the earth innocently presents itself to me.

My painted images are records of experiences with moderate and tropical climates, experiences that I  remember from childhood to the present.

Many of the famous master artist of the past have recorded the existence of light in their paintings.  It is not uncommon to see the same subject with a changing color palette or changing shadows. The light on a form changes with the passage of time. When I trace a shadow being cast by a plant, flower, or weed, it is a moment in time, never to be recaptured. It is as if the flora nd fauna are sundials.

Weeds, according to the author Sara Stein, ” are plants that are not only in the wrong place, but intend to stay”!

Luther Burbank writes: ” A flower is an educated weed”!

Many have written about the earth because our relationship with it I ever changing and evolving.

Good soil creates life. Beneath our feet there is another world. We never think about this world of microbes. I began to see that the soil of colors vary and there is a story behind that color or texture. The earth is layered. The soil profile can teach us about those who came before us. We are in a relationship with the earth below.

I continue to observe and respectfully collect from nature. and the earth. My paintings elude to instances when objects were part of the earth. There are indications of footprints, artifacts, symbols, writing, water, rocks and shells. There is something for all to enjoy and ponder.


Reflections on the Julian Woods

I am currently a teacher in a rural school district. It is very much like my home town of St. Marys, Pennsylvania. Just as many teachers take summer course work, I enrolled in an art course in 2005 that took place at the professors home in the Julian Woods. We were a group of people, not necessarily artist, that were in need of this course. I had taken it to brush up on my drawing skills, others enrolled to be close to nature, while others had heard it was an easy “A”. We gathered and over the course of the spring term, we became a close group that had connected on a deeper level than anyone in a three credit course. Led by the most beautiful woman, Jean, we somehow understood that we needed healing and that our art was the medium. To say that I had an epiphany would understate the process that I went through.

Up until I met Jean, our professor, I was unhappy to be in Pennsylvania teaching in a rural school. After all, I lived in Florida with weather and lifestyle my Pennsylvania friends could only dream about.

Jean told me that my students needed me. I did not realize at the time that I needed them as much. I was there to heal and find peace.

The classes always began with sharing and then we could paint with Jean or go off in the woods, swim, pick flowers or what ever we needed that day. I always went off with my tablet of watercolor paper. I struggled for several classes. I am not sure when I began to go inward, but I began to notice the sunlight as it warmed me. I wanted to record the summer. I noticed how happily the plants enjoyed each other’s company. Jean made me appreciate how it is good and natural for the plants and flowers to co exist. My thoughts returned to my childhood when Dad would take us for walks in the woods, picking black berries and skipping rocks. Dad passed away several years ago. I had lived away so many years that I was immune to his passing.

On one of my walks during class, I passed some blackberry bushes and I began to cry. He was with me. I recorded it by taking my paper and pencil and tracing the shadow cast by the sun on the berry bushes. I told Jean about the experience and she assured me that this was an important step in my healing. At that point I became obsessed, chasing every shadow on her land that made sense to me. I traced over a dozen drawings of the wild plants and weeds that grew that summer in the Julian Woods Community. I go into my art studio and paint the negative space and allow the form of the shadow to stand alone. I am playful with my paints and pens as I create beautiful washes around the natural forms. Many viewers may look at my art and enjoy the abstract nature; a botanist might recognize that which grows native.

I have come full circle and know why I create the images that appear in my watercolors and acrylics. My visual memory and wonderful parents have brought me to this point. Just as I love those in my life, I love my paintings. I title my art and always have a story to tell about their meaning.