A child lingers for a moment, staring wide-eyed, surveying my artwork,
then proclaims, “You make paint swim!”
I discovered my talent for painting by accident, in my mid-30s, when I reverse-painted a fish on an old window sash. The need to create was cathartic from that moment on, and the responses to this work kept me going. I had no idea that I would be an artist. I started my career as a teacher, and moved to Charleston to be a marine biologist. I felt that painting was a hobby, until I realized that I could inspire and educate with emotional images of wildlife.
My work is influenced by a lifetime of studying biology and spending time outdoors. I love being on the water- rowing in college, living on a sailboat, exploring Antarctica and crossing the Atlantic on research cruises. I also have experience navigating with a sextant and developed an appreciation for nautical charts and maps.
My first series of paintings was born with this auspicious combination. I reverse-paint wildlife on glass and place them over maps and charts, providing a sense of place and history for the piece. I research the natural history and conservation status of the species I paint, and include this with the pieces when they are displayed.
While I strive for biological accuracy, my pieces are impressionistic. I create the paintings with acrylic paint in fast, organic strokes that mimic the nature of feathers and fins and capture the spirit more than the exactness of their image. I want to convey the beauty, importance, and interconnectedness of all living things. I want to display hidden layers and I often paint above and below the surface of water or Earth.
I continue to seek ways to create art that is meaningful and that inspires others. My most recent series, “ Spring Preening”, features birds in flight and preening on large-scale canvas with organic drips of paint to emulate water. I believe that capturing these little moments illustrates commonality and encourages empathy. My hope is that this leads to active conservation of our unique natural history in the Lowcountry.