Biography: Ever A Work in Progress

I have always made stuff, and some of it is art. I voraciously explored media and styles until I found clay, the primal medium, where I stayed for decades.

A life-long learner, I have alternated my learning with teaching it to others. I am proud of my assortment of degrees and certificates, from Sociology to Personal Finance, but it will always be those in Studio Art and Art History that have fed my soul.  I have taught Art from Kindergarteners to adults and I have illustrated two children’s books. Over the years I have shown my work in at least twenty galleries and two dozen art festivals.  The art community wherever I have lived in California is lively and inclusive, especially here in Santa Cruz County, my home studio for the past 30 years.

Recently, I have returned to my drawing, painting and collage roots, delighted to find that my touch and perception have intensified because of my literal hands-on years in ceramics. There is always plenty more to know and practice, I am delighted to say. And lots of new tools and methods. As a student of aesthetics,  art history, the creative process, and plenty of nerdy technical info in each medium, I can say quite cheerfully that I am, myself, the work in progress.


Artist Statement: Whaddya Got to Say?

Artist Statement Mind Map
Artist Statement Mind Map

Decades ago, after looking at a motley grouping of my early work, a kindly colleague once observed, “So you can paint. Whaddya got to say?” She nailed it.

While noting my skillful application, she pointed out the need for a stronger personal point of view, which would augment the spirit and meaning of that body of work. I was a talented crowd pleaser. Ouch.

As a hungry learner, I have always wrassled with the double-edged sword of student-ship. It’s a useful practice, until it isn’t. The goal of seeking blessings from the instructor, the cohort, the jurist, or even the art-loving public ultimately takes one only so far and can seriously warp authentic agency. 

After a lifetime of peeling back the layers of the art-making enigma to find my core self in it, here’s my Maker’s Manifesto:

Whatever the medium, I wait for curiosity and an itch to bring it into materiality before starting in. Ideas abound but most of them aren’t worth pursuing, to be honest. While I am by nature a goal-oriented doer, it is better for me to practice a thoughtful intentionality in the making process and to listen to a piece, too, so I can see doneness whenever it arrives, not just because I want it to.

I recognize that doneness if my works seem inevitable to me. They begin to breathe.  If I sense an effortful quality, I will often take a long break or even begin again. As Brian Eno said, “You cannot control your way out of control.”

My current paintings, mostly still lifes and interiors, have me looking deeply at unusual lighting and symbolic objects, painted with a more muted tonalist color palette. Soon I will move outside.