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My art practice explores the intersection of self-care and creativity by accessing my intuition and expressing it through nature photography and abstract painting. My photography practice is a walking meditation. When I’m frustrated or blue or overwhelmed, I go outside with my camera seeking beauty and light around me. I can always find a sliver of beauty to focus on even though the world can be filled with ugliness and darkness. My painting practice is quite opposite of my digital photography because it incorporates more of my senses: from the smell of pine-scented candles to the special music I only listen to while painting to the way the paint feels going from my hand to canvas.
My work expresses themes of persistence, healing, acceptance, and big-heartedness. I replenish my creativity and stay aligned with my purpose by taking care of myself. There is a collaborative, interdependent relationship between being in nature to settle my thinking mind, documenting light and color with my camera and then drawing upon those feelings and imagery when I’m back inside my painting studio.
The imagery of plants, flowers, the ocean, the moon, and the four seasons inspire my paintings. Plants embody the very notion of being alive: they thrive with clean air and water, beautiful light, and attention — like people. Flowers also symbolize the whole life cycle: they make us confront the beauty of all of life’s stages from bud to fallen petals to death. Flowers also express the major themes I explore in my work: from the grit and persistence in a flowering weed growing through concrete to the healing power of beauty to the way they symbolize love and care when given or received. The moon and the four seasons represent mindfulness by connecting with circular time vs the linear time of our thinking minds.
When I begin a new painting, I mindfully choose words and intentions that I want the painting to express and write them on the first layer with a small brush and fluid acrylic paint. These hidden words act as a secret, energetic foundation that is carried through to the people who interact with my work. I choose my colors intuitively by mood and often by referencing various photos that I have taken. I’m particularly drawn to using a range of blues that remind me of tropical seas. My paintings represent play, joy, movement, and my love for life. I aim to seal these feelings into our collective consciousness. I want the viewer to know that there is beauty in everything, especially in times of suffering; that there is strength in feeling things deeply, there is courage in our vulnerability, there is healing in acceptance, and there is peace in letting go.
When my collectors tell me that every time they look at my painting in their office or home, they are reminded to take a moment to breathe and take care of themselves, this is evidence to me of a beautiful ripple effect. It is only when I take the time to take care of myself that I can access my intuition and creativity. For that act of self-care to translate into other people through my art is something I believe heals the suffering in the world: one person, one breath at a time.