For the past several years my work has been influenced by my life as an educator and working and living with animals. In keeping with that, I am often compelled to include some information in my art. It is the way the information is presented that I find the most creative and enjoyable challenges. For me, art making in and of itself is a lifelong joy, but it is also an unspoken communication with the viewer. How do I take the things that mean the most to me and present that in a way that promotes curiosity and inquisitiveness? How do I get the viewer to wonder about it? How do I invite questioning?
Part of my creative process is bringing to life my observations of our natural world and our place in that world: how we affect it, how we re-shape it, how we are connected to it, and how we become disconnected from it. Making and creating art allows me to speak to that part of my conscience, giving ownership to my particular vision. I may speak to a particular issue that I am concerned about or a reflection on something I've observed. I may create a piece with humor or pay an homage to a favorite artist or piece of literature. Truly, it's a rabbit hole I never tire of exploring, and I explore these ideas in several different media including: mixed media painting, illustration, mural design, box assemblage sculptures, collage, photography, and re-purposing.
If I'm working with a theme of some sort, I usually decide in the beginning on whether it will be mostly 2-D or 3-D in scope. Then, I generally begin working in a process of layering for both 2-D and 3-D work. I may start with a full blown sketch, a small thumbnail drawing, or some scribbled idea on a napkin, sometimes it may even be just a word list. I also keep a 'brainstorming' notebook full of scraps of things I've torn out of magazines or other items I've collected over the years. These may include a particular color or texture that caught my eye, or a figure I found intriguing--different things to get a spark ignited.
Once I get the substrate ready, I may have an idea of the media I want to play with or I may experiment with a new media or combination of media. From there, it really is just play. If things get frustrating, I generally have enough projects spread about that I can put troublesome pieces on the back burner for awhile. I do find it helpful to leave a piece alone for a day or so and then come back to it with some fresh eyes. It has helped many times, as does mindfulness meditation!
It is a wonderful task to be able to express oneself in one's chosen art form, or perhaps the art form chooses us, who knows. And in the end, what can I do about anything happening in the world? I'm not sure, but I do know that I can respond to situations through my work. I can help others to see our connections. I can begin a process of begetting, and I can use the best of my abilities to help facilitate a dialogue about our amazing world.