After being married for twenty-three years, raising two children, and going through a divorce, I have realized that in order for me to know who I was I first needed to know who I was not. Growing up I was always drawn to art, but was never encouraged to pursue it. As an adult with a family it was not possible for me to follow an artistic path and also provide for my children. During this time I had dozens of jobs, even running my own business for a short time, but never felt completely satisfied. After my divorce, it took a year and a half of soul searching to realize what I had been missing in my life. Through art I reconnected with the person I had buried deep down years ago and realized that I was meant to be an artist all along.
I believe Art is a way of communicating ideas, emotions, and thoughts that would be difficult to express in other ways. As an artist who embraced art late in life, I have discovered this on a very personal level. Through a twist of fate as an undergraduate at the age of 44, I happened upon my school’s fine art program. Deciding to take a drawing class as an elective changed my life forever. Learning to see the world as an artist helped me to discover parts of myself that had, until then, remained hidden.
Through the course of my artistic pursuits I have gained an understanding of how art can affect even the most inexperienced artist in a positive and everlasting way. According to Barnes-Smith in Expressive arts as a means of increasing well-being in children, “[Art] provides the opportunity for individuals to explore their emotions and inner selves in order to deal with stress, explore issues, and improve self-esteem through healthy and creative modes” (Barnes-Smith et al., 2015, p. 5). I believe this as I have experienced it in my own life.
I have gone through several phases concerning my artwork over the last few years. I started out painting, was drawn (no pun intended) to photography, and ended up deeply connected to ceramics during my graduate work. I believe that most of the major things in our lives happen for a reason. The culmination of everything I have learned over the last few years has resulted in artwork that reflects all my skills as an artist.
Much of my work revolves around nature and the animal world. Animals have been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. To me animals are much more than pets or property, they are sentient beings that deserve as much respect and consideration as we give each other. In my work I am honoring these beautiful creatures while subtly highlighting the similarities between them and human beings.