ABOUT THE ARTIST
I have often been told that I have vast interests, but for me it comes down to a few much simpler components: nature, water, creativity, and solitude.
My love of what I now know as art started at the age of 8 when my dad put a camera in my hands on a backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. From that time, I’ve been driven by an innate sense of aesthetics, balance and shape. My childhood was an endless stream of arts & crafts projects, but it was in high school that I knew I wanted to be an artist… or a scientist. My study halls were spent as an assistant either in the Art Department or the Science Lab. People often said that I needed to decide between the two, but I always saw them as interconnected. I learned to silversmith in high school art class, but my love of painting came in junior college. Though I did attend art school, my degree is in Biology & Psychology.
As a young adult I found it difficult to trust my creative abilities enough to be a full-time artist, so my art took the form of hobby businesses such as photography, jewelry making, and clothing design. I worked in Human Services at residential group homes for people with developmental disabilities. Years later I opened a wellness company focused on massage therapy, nutrition, healing & yoga. I balanced my 3 day/week wellness work with my first official artistic endeavor: landscape design. My two businesses served me side by side until my husband, Claus, and I took an 18-month sabbatical on our sailboat. Upon our return I started my current career showing my jewelry and paintings at juried art shows around the country.
Though I grew up in the Minnesota, my life has always been surrounded by water. Our home in the woods overlook a pond, summers were spent in a canoe transiting the BWCA (Boundary Water Canoe Area), which morphed into whitewater canoeing, then white-water rafting. As a college student I found blue water sailing on Lake Superior and tall ships in the Maritimes. My husband and I bought our first fixer upper sailboat with the money we had saved to build a deck on our house. Our current ocean cruising sailboat has been our home away from home for over 20 years. I was a water bug as a kid and am still a Master’s swimmer. I find myself on quiet beach walks gazing at the ever-changing sea and sky. You will no doubt see the patterns of water in my jewelry and to serenity of the ocean in my paintings.
My husband, Claus, and I live in our home Bluffton, South Carolina, in our Airstream trailer, Clover, or on our sailboat, SV Kyanna.
My current body of work started to deepen into my being when we were sailing for 18 months on our sailboat Kyanna. The serenity of the sea during offshore crossings… the sight of islands in the distance…. the dynamic nature of clouds & sea… all these images move me to capture the scenes ever-present in my mind’s eye.
Water is a recurring theme in my life, but yoga and meditation have also been a cornerstone. I lead a very social life and find it crucial to carve out stillness to recharge and connect with my inner guidance. Experiencing nature has been the simplest way for me to disconnect from my world of “to do lists” and mental gymnastics. My seascape and lily pond paintings bring the viewer into my place of stillness. Customers have described my works as relaxing and tranquil, but they also describe being drawn into the painting which allows them to disconnect from daily life to a place where they can look inward to find their own moment of serenity.
Water flows through all my paintings, but the majority are tranquil seascapes with obscure horizon lines. I often add a small boat or whisper of land to draw the viewer into my serene world with the expansive sea & sky capturing the essence of what you don’t see, the space behind the mist, clouds & shadows. My technique starts with a bold palette knife foundation followed by multiple layers of washes and brush strokes to create an etheric painting with depth and texture. I use both acrylic and oil paints for their different properties.
My unique jewelry has a simple elegance that reflects the chemistry between the inherent beauty of a woman and the piece she wears. I first made jewelry in high school art classes and was captivated. My introduction to freshwater pearls was while cruising on out sailboat in the Bahamas. I was looking for a material to compliment sea glass & sterling silver jewelry and pearls were the perfect fit. Little did I know that I would become so fascinated by pearls that I would never make sea glass jewelry.
Today the freshwater, Tahitian and South Sea pearls that I select every year are exceptional with breathtaking luster, superior quality and distinctive shapes. Most of my pearls are from China since the pearl farmers there produce the finest quality in the current market. I am drawn to the unusual shapes of keshi pearls, baroque pearls & coin pearls which lend to both casual and dressy attire. I look for unique pearls that most people have never seen like 30mm keshi pearls or the year’s new trend from the pearl farmers.
The luster of pearls continues to amaze me as they capture light and change instantly depending on a woman’s skin tone or attire which brings individuality to each piece of jewelry. Luster is one of the most important characteristics of fine pearls, but color also brings out their true essence. There is an endless array of white pearls, but I use a wide variety of natural colors including peach, pink, lavender & gold along with a few high-quality color-enhanced pearls. In art school, the dynamic aspects of color intrigued me. How could a color look totally different when placed on various backgrounds? The same is true with pearls. One of the most compelling reasons that I show the majority of my jewelry at art shows is because it is simply magical to see the chemistry when a woman finds the perfect piece of jewelry unique to her.
Many of my pearls are bezel-set using traditional fabrication methods. The sterling silver is cut, formed, textured, soldered, filed, sanded and buffed. Other styles call for wire work to suspend the pearls into wearable art. Finally, pearls are alive and move when they are strung, so a segment of my pearls are strung on silk and hand knotted to create a timeless treasure. Many of my pieces are convertible with necklaces that double as bracelets, removable pendants and items that link together to create a new look.
My hands have held a camera since I was 8 years old. I was fascinated by mountain flora like lupine and cotton grass on a backpacking trip with my dad to the top of Mount Whitney in the Sierras of California. To my dismay, my Brownie box camera could not capture the big horn sheep, but I discovered the majesty of landscape photography in my attempts. I belted out Paul Simon’s song Kodachrome every time it came on the radio as a teen. Three summer jobs kept me in film for my beloved Nikkormat camera turning me into a Nikon snob for life.
Behind the lens composition seems innate. Although I have some formal education in photography and my bookshelves are filled with Porter & Adams, I have always allowed my photographs to flow as they wish. It’s like the knowing that comes with trusting your intuition. My images have taken a few forms; I went through my artsy still-life phase and thought I was a Pro after shooting a handful weddings and graduations, but it all felt forced. I am drawn to macro photography and close-up images of people, as well as the dynamic elements of raw nature. Most of my inspiration is interconnected with travel; my adventures offer me a vast array of subject matter and continue to be the over-arching catalyst for my photography. I’ve clicked my shutter through the spice markets of Asia, in the undersea world of coral reefs, down narrow streets around the world and bodies of water from sea to shining sea. I’m still in awe of expansive landscapes that make me feel like just another creature on the earth. Light and color captivates me most. What I see at any given moment is merely a fleeting illusion of our reality. A moment earlier or later, a different time of day or a different season and it has transformed. I am grateful to preserve these moments to share.
LIFE AS A GYPSY