I've often been asked the most interesting questions which really help me to think about what I do and why I do it...I would love to hear your responses, too.
How did your interest in art begin?
I have always been fascinated with art...I remember as a very young girl, I think I was 5 or 6 years old, our family spent a month in South America and there was art everywhere...pottery, paintings, mosaics. We travelled to Mexico City and the vision of a large building with the mosaic of an eagle still stays in my mind. I saw artwork by Indigenous artists of the region in my own community and it still influences the work I do. My biggest challenge was to decide what would be my focus as I'm in love with every art form. But, no matter where I lived and what I was doing otherwise, I always found time to paint with acrylics on canvas.
You mentioned a year-long hiatus...how did you come back to your art?
I went through a difficult time of disappointment in the art world which caused me to rethink this life of an artist. I sold and gave away everything related to art for a year but I was miserable. I thought it was depression, as there is a history of clinical depression in my family but my husband and daughters encouraged me to paint again. It was the best thing that ever happened to me...I began experimenting and playing once again and totally stopped worrying about the world of art outside of my home studio. I began to create for the sake of creating once again.
How do you motivate yourself as an artist?
That's a tough question as my greatest challenge is not to get into my studio but to get out of it. Perhaps it is because I created a habit of hitting the studio very early in the morning, before anything else in my day, which began 22 years ago when my first daughter was born and I worked full-time outside of our home (I was the Practice Administrator of a busy dental office). I also think that continually learning through workshops (even those not directly related to the visual arts such as English and writing) along with reading about art, art practices and artists definitely motivates me. Visiting galleries, especially public galleries in my case, seems to help when I feel like I'm in a bit of a slump.
What's become more difficult and what is easier after over twenty years of practice?
I think one of the difficult things is allowing myself to try new things when certain practices, images, etc. become a kind of trademark for me. Just allowing myself to experiment instead of relying on what has been successful for me. The easier thing is not being so concerned about what others think about my work. I find that no matter what I create, there is someone out there who connects with it, too, and I think that is why I'm meant to do what I do.
How do you deal with a project that doesn't work?
That is very interesting as there have been many of those through the years...in some cases I didn't follow through and in others the work wasn't well received. In both cases, I allow myself a little break, time to grieve the amount of work that went into a project, and then push past it by working on something else. Sometimes I burn work that I'm not satisfied with and on occasion I paint over it, and other times it just ends up in the trash. I now chalk it up to learning and growth but it used to devastate me. Letting go of attachment certainly helps.
How do you schedule your time and how do you overcome distractions?
I find that beginning my days in the studio works wonders for me...even if it is just to tidy and plan. The days I work at the library, I find that having spent that time helps me to face my day with a positive attitude (very much a meditation) and when I'm working at home it just seems that ideas beget ideas. It's quite wonderful really. These days with my shoulder injury it's been nice even to sit and read in that space. I stare at works in progress or completed pieces and my mind begins connecting ideas that I sketch out or daydream about until I can't wait to work.