I turn 43 in a couple of weeks and I’ve been thinking about what it is I’m doing with my life and asking myself a lot of questions around my purpose. This year for the first time, I realized that I do this every year before my birthday, and so it hasn’t negatively impacted me like it has in the past. Rather than being upset and doubting myself, I’m noticing my thoughts and acknowledging that this is normal for me at this time of year. It feels good not to freak out over this stuff, to have perspective and to be able to sit with what used to be uncomfortable thoughts for me.
Does your birthday mark a time of reflection for you? Or send you into a tailspin? What kind of things do you think about during that time?
My family really enjoys watching the wildlife in our backyard right now – the squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks and birds of all kinds – busily and sometimes loudly living their lives. If you’re in Winston-Salem, NC this weekend, I invite you to an art exhibit fundraiser to benefit Gateway Nature Preserve. Here are the details:
Nature-Inspired Art Exhibit, May 19 – 21 at Culture Studio/Gallery The exhibit kicks off at 7pm on Friday night with an opening reception at Culture Studio/Gallery located on the 9th floor of the Liberty Plaza building at 102 W. Third St. Check out Gateway Nature Preserve’s website for more info about the event, and scroll down to see the artworks I’m contributing to the exhibit.
Can’t make it this weekend, but still want some artwork that supports the environment? I donate a portion of my art sales each year to Yadkin Riverkeeper, so any purchase through my Shop benefits this nonprofit that helps keep our waterways clean.
Photographer and all-around awesome human Daniel White interviewed me a few months ago for The Free Pizza Podcast, and our conversation is now live on Episode 188. We talk about early influences, studying in Europe, living in Australia, my approach to painting, teaching at UNCSA and more… You can listen to it wherever you like to tune in.
I recently finished this painting of people and cars at a dirt track, and thought you might like to see how it progressed from start to finish. For reference, I used photos I took at the local county fair in Winston-Salem, NC. I combined parts of the images, then made changes to that and invented other bits.
In this video, I’ll show you the different paint layers and explain what’s happening in each one.
We finally got around to shooting my new work this weekend… which means these paintings will be available for purchase. Subscribers will get first dibs this week before the work goes live here on my shop, so if you don’t already get my emails, follow this LINK to sign up.
There is something odd or awkward about the images, and at the same time a sense of joy. By playing with shapes, color and composition, I’m searching for a way to elevate the ordinary.
A few weeks ago I had a chance to sit with Tyler Nail, the Winston-Salem song writer and music producer, on his Red House podcast. In our wide-ranging conversation we compare notes on making visual art and music, discuss why taking care of your health is a rebellious act as an artist, being purposeful in life and in your creative practice, making tough decisions as a parent and when to let go, the resurgence of tradition and technique in art and music and many other ideas on life and art. Thanks Tyler for the excellent conversation!
You can watch it on YouTube or listen to it on any of the platforms below. And give Tyler a listen if you haven’t already. You can find his music here. Enjoy!
Happy New Year! 2023 is here and I’m off and running (literally and figuratively).
Good things happened in 2022. Thank you so much for your support during the last year. Thank you for reading my writing, following me on Facebook and Instagram, sending me kind messages, buying my work, and sharing my work with your friends and family… all of it helps keep me motivated and supports my artistic practice. Here are some of the things your support made possible in 2022:
I received a NC Arts Council Support Grant to study encaustic painting. I finally got to use this mysterious medium I’d wanted to try for years.
UNC School of the Arts offered me a visiting professor position for the 2022-2023 school year, and I’ve been having a blast teaching in the School of Film.
This week in my studio, we found the tiniest mouse I’ve ever seen. After letting it run all over the place for a day and then have a good rest (it chose to sleep under my husband’s desk for the night), I managed to put it in a jar and release it in the backyard. It predictably broke back into our house a few hours later, so I caught it again and drove it down the road to a more appropriate spot (ie: very far away from our house). I placed it near a mountain of kudzu, thinking that would be a good place for a mouse to go on an adventure.
It made me think of one of my favorite childhood books: Comment la souris reçoit une pierre sur la tête et découvre le monde… I don’t know that it was ever published in English, but the title roughly translates to How the mouse gets hit in the head with a rock and discovers the world!
In the book, a young mouse who lives with her parents underground decides to dig a room of her own. As she digs and digs, she eventually breaks surface and sees the outside for the first time! She goes on an adventure and meets new friends: the sun, the moon, stars, wind, clouds… all sorts of natural phenomena. In the end they all give her a little piece of themselves in a little backpack with compartments for everything. She then continues on her way with the sun so they can make new friends together. As you can imagine, I love her backpack loaded up with all sorts of natural ephemera with a neat little spot for everything. That image has always stayed with me.
You can watch a short video where I share this and show some of the beautiful watercolor illustrations in the book on either Facebook or Instagram.
If you live in the Winston-Salem, NC area, Aperture Cinema is featuring my work all month. Before every screening, you’ll see an interview where I talk about my work and what it’s like to work as an artist in this area. Thanks Aperture!