About Me

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I am a Colorado native, so I grew up loving the natural environment and the wild Rocky Mountains. Until recently, I always considered myself a watercolor artist and felt confined to that little “box” I put myself in. On a quest for discovery and healing, I took a workshop in mixed media techniques. Since that day, I’ve been obsessed – I’ve found a new and different way to express myself and my emotions. I’m on a constant quest to find unusual and discarded “things” to use in my paintings. I’ve used everything from plaster, twine, metal, foil, and even broken windshield glass. It all somehow becomes symbolic in my paintings and signifies a feeling or emotion. Thanks for joining me on this journey and this adventure we call life and art!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Artist Appreciation Month - Telling My Story

Artist Appreciation Month

Did you know that August is "Artist Appreciation Month"?  In honor of this month, I was encouraged by Patience Brewster to write a blog about the artist that has inspired my work.  I jumped at the opportunity because I know who "my" artist is.  I couldn't wait to tell the story.

In July, 2011, I resumed a friendship that I thought was long lost.  My friend and I had not spoken in a few years.  We had just both been busy, trying to live our lives and deal with the day-to-day.  My friend emailed to say hello and that he had found my website and spent a couple hours looking at my paintings.  At the time, all I did was watercolors.  I felt like that was the work I was supposed to do and couldn't really do anything else.  We began corresponding through email and picked up our friendship, just like we had last spoken yesterday.  We had always been able to talk to each other and open up to each other without judgement or fear.  He told me he had been struggling in his life and he wasn't sure what to do or what direction to go in.  I encouraged him and I told him what I always told him...after the rain comes the rainbow.  I told him that this time would pass and things would get better.  He had struggled before and I just knew he could find his way out and head towards brighter days.  I was wrong.  On the morning of July 22, 2011, my life changed forever. I got the worst call of my life.  His sister, my best friend, called to tell me that he had ended his life.  My mind couldn't comprehend what had happened.  My first instinct when she told me that he had ended his life was to ask if he was alright.  Isn't that the weirdest thing?  It's funny how the mind can't wrap itself around something so shocking, tragic, and unexpected.  The next few days were a haze.  To tell you the truth, I can't remember much of the days afterwards. When I returned back to work after that weekend, I found he had sent me a goodbye note via email.  I was one of the few that he left a final message to and as painful as it was, I will always be grateful for that.

After this, I couldn't paint anymore.  I couldn't pick up a brush or even think about it.  I felt guilty that I didn't know he was in such a bad place.  I felt like I should have known...we had always had such a connection...how could I not have known.  In trying to find answers, I kept re-reading his emails, over and over and over again.  An unexpected theme started occurring to me.  He always mentioned my paintings.  His final email told me how much he loved my paintings.  At the end of that year, something clicked and I felt like he would have wanted me to keep on painting.  But, I couldn't do it in the same way as I had before.  That's when I saw a workshop that Carol Nelson was doing.  She is my "inspiring artist".  She does the most amazing abstracts and mixed media work.  I signed up for the workshop thinking I would just sit in the back of the classroom and I wouldn't have to talk or look at anyone, I would just paint and see what happened.  Carol was so encouraging and such a great teacher. Through this new artwork, the healing began.  I could express myself and my feelings like I never could before.  I painted and painted.  The funny thing is, people started responding.  My best friend told me she had never seen so much emotion in my paintings.  This new way of doing art was healing, expressive, and so emotional.  I was never the same.

This was my first mixed media painting, done in Carol's Class.

So to sum it up, I wouldn't be painting if it weren't for Carol.  I've since taken several of her workshops...same thing, I'm still sitting in the back and hoping to not to be noticed.  I just immerse myself in the work and try to learn all the techniques I can from this amazing artist.  I think she "gets it".  There are no criticisms and no grand expectations, other than trying something new and using your imagination.  I will forever be grateful to Carol for opening up this new media to me and sending me on this healing journey.  I think my friend would be so proud and I'm hoping he's smiling down on the work I'm doing and creating.  Much of it is in honor of a life that was lost all too soon.

Thank you, Patience Brewster, for encouraging me to tell my story.  I hope in some small way it helps someone.  I hope it allows someone to be brave and take a step towards healing, whatever that may look like.   

By the way, if you haven't already happened upon her website or if you are not already familiar with her work, Patience Brewster has the most whimsical, incredible Christmas ornaments, in addition to her gift items, stationary, and figurines.  She also has an inspiring, incredible story...check it out! 

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