You will know when looking at my work that I am a detail person. Since childhood, trees have been my preferred subject matter. I particularly love dormant deciduous trees, inspired by the intricacies of spider-webbed branches framed against the sky.
I have my Bachelor’s degree in art education (NYU 1968), Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology (SCSU 1975) and 6th Year degree in Gestalt Therapy (SCSU 2976). I was a junior high fine arts teacher in a New York City public school for three years, the director of art therapy at a private psychiatric hospital in Portland, CT for three and one-half years, and I retired in 2006 from a twenty-five year career as a middle school counselor in Coventry, CT.
In 1977 I began exploring Abstract Expressionism while living in an artist’s studio in Chester, CT. (see photo below). The basis of these oils on canvas were to combine balance, composition, lines, shapes, and color to craft a completed painting. Abstract work, very different from my detailed drawings, reinforced the idea of art as problem-solving – each brushstroke created a new problem to solve within the context of balance in my asymmetrical compositions.
Putting Abstract Expressionism aside in 1979, I returned to my first love, pen & ink, creating what I defined as “emotional realism” – the works are meant to elicit an emotional response by the viewer.
In 1990, after discovering Chinese Brush painting, I took a week-long total emersion course in Duluth, MN, and focused the next twenty-four years mastering the art form.
In addition to working in the Chinese brush style, I began what I called my Feminine Mystique series, abstract pastel on lightly textured paper (2004-2008).
In 2008 I began my Birch series when Chinese brush and the Feminine Mystique stopped making my heart sing.
April 2014, needing to move to a new form of creativity, I found pyrography aka wood burning.
I love the challenge of creating ways to bring life to my pyrography creatures. When creating living beings, I always begin with the eyes to capture the essence/soul – an approach that comes from my Chinese brush training. Once I am satisfied with the eyes, I work on the rest of the piece, burning lightly, and then reworking with appropriate pens until I am satisfied.
My process involves the ‘magic’ of lines which, for me, define shapes and details that construct the three-dimensionality that is a defining characteristic of my artistry. I begin with an idea, sometimes inspired by the wood itself. I generally do not pre-sketch on the wood – preferring to begin each piece with pyrographic pens, though I do create a basic plan when I am cutting shapes with my scroll-saw. From pen & ink to pyrography with a variety of media in between; a natural leap. Pyrography is a visceral experience: I love the natural colors of burned wood, feeling no need to add color.