I am a painter.
I didn't always believe that, though.
After college I spent most of my twenties in a whirlwind of having kids and simultaneously growing up. Life was busy, sweet, and blurry. But in the middle of the wild, a simple conversation brought clarity. My daughter and I were talking about what she wanted to be one day. I was encouraging her to follow her dreams. So she asked me what my childhood dream was. It didn't take me long to answer— because it's never changed.
"Do you still want to be an artist, Mom?"
Not long after (at the close of 2018), I cleared out a storage area in my garage, made it my studio, and haven't looked back. Life is still busy and sweet, just not as blurry. Art brings me so much peace, and choosing to make space for it has changed my perspective on life. I am so grateful to Claire Thriffiley for believing in me so early on and sharing my work in her gallery, and for all those who have connected with my work in some way.
I strive to make art that captures something of our universal human reach. The reach for what is beyond. What is within. What is still becoming.
Objectively speaking, this means I paint a lot of hands. There’s a capacity in these fingers to connect, create, feel, lift. I’m very compelled by that. I’m also very drawn to the common bond we all have with nature. The shared air. The shared beauty.
I'll also never tire of painting a portrait. There's magic in how a single expression can convey a flood of feeling. That fascinates me.
I was born and raised in New Orleans, and currently live with my family in the Metairie area.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
figurative, botanical, detailed,
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
I love the way everything in New Orleans has this unspeakable connection, you know? The way the oak trees twist and dance along with the jazz player on the corner. How the smell of crawfish and jasmine can transport you back to a hundred carefree memories. There's something in the air here I still struggle to describe after 30 years.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
As a working mother to three children, I have to schedule and organize studio time. Then once I am there I can be free and intuitive. I think that's a bit how I approach a new painting as well. There's a plan, a sketch, color planning, usually a few words I write on the wall next to the blank canvas. But I also have to just start painting and allow my mind to unwind and see what happens.
Where do you draw inspiration?
My mom tells my kids how as a young child I used to search everywhere in the yard for spider webs so I could stare at them. Nothing has changed. There's something about the beauty/mystery in nature that gets me every time.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
I find new inspiring visual artists daily, but here are a few that come to mind: Truls Espedel, Mary Cassatt, Toni Hamel, Joshua Lawyer, Karen Offutt. There's a feeling I get when I explore their works. I hope I can capture something like it in my own.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Gregory Alan Isakov, The Stable Song
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Playing with my children or feeding them a meal. Cuddling my dog. Biking to the lakefront.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Sunset on a Saturday in Spring.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I've sung background on a few recordings and usually sing while I paint.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
Claire Elizabeth Gallery in New Orleans, LA.