Exploring Themes

“The greatest forces lie in the region of the uncomprehended.” ― George MacDonald

Finding Threads

As I wait for “What’s Next,” I paint my way to understanding the present moment, what came before, and what lies ahead. Looking for themes in my work helps me in this process. Join me as I explore the themes weaved within my works. Finding threads that connect artistic works is part of the process: a process that brings the artist and the viewer to a deeper understanding of oneself and our place in the world.

Reoccurring Themes: Childhood and Memoryr

“Childhood” is an experimental piece about early artistic process influences: macrame, beads, macaroni, yarn, pipe cleaners, crayons, buttons, childlike colors, pom poms, found objects, and fascinatingly colorful teething ring keys. I am mindful of how “Childhood” grasps my earliest, primal creative experiences. From “Right Now” I explore my past and reach forward into the future. Themes of childhood and memory leak into all my forms of creative expression.

Creative Process Series

Explore the “Creative Process Series” (below) and learn more about art’s power to make sense of one’s liminal places and spaces. Better understand your “Yesterdays,” “Right Nows,” and “Tomorrows.”

Creative Process: My Great Companion

Dad never considered himself an artist, but his scientific research is full of detailed drawings of cells. I like thinking that I made “Dad’s Cells” with my father. Look and you will see his cell drawings hidden throughout this canvas. This creative act supports my process of letting him go. I am better today because I painted my way here. My creative process is with me in my “Yesterdays” my “Right Nows” and my “Tomorrows.” Art is my greatest companion in any time and place I find myself.

Dad’s Cells, 2018

Creative Process and Making Meaning

I am very much aware of the meaning behind each choice I made for this painting. I’m sure there’s subconscious meaning, but much of it is very conscious. People will ask me if I was aware of what I expressed: as though they could see into me from my painting in a way I didn’t comprehend as the creator. I am very much present when I paint. I am mindful of my choices. I choose to represent things that are loaded with personal symbolism. My family gets it. They know about the stove, the spigot and the flowerpot. They were there to see it all play out. These are the things that were on the stage of my life. From the present moment, I capture the past, what still brings me joy, and what holds great meaning.

Stove, a Spigot, and a Flower Pot, 2021

Stove, a Spigot, and a Flower Pot, 2021

Creative Process and Your Right Side Up

I give a lot of lip service to the idea that my art making is all about the process not the product, but sometimes I get caught in the approval and judgement trap. In these moments, I am not in the flow. I’m not gently noticing what’s happening in the present moment as I work. I am not mindful, centered, and at peace. Instead, I’m outward focused and looking to some kind of recognition and validation for my work. This piece I just created has helped me realize that I need to turn my attitude towards my work on its end. I need to get back to having my personal “Right Side Up” in the “Right Now.” This is how I paint my way to understanding the present moment, what came before, and what lies ahead.

Right Side Up, or Upside Down, 2021

Right Side Up, or Upside Down, 2021

Creative Process in Challenging Places and Spaces

Painting is my attitude adjustment. Even on the most upside-down days, I can find a way to turn most things right side up. Creative process allows me to be mindful of the present moment, center myself, and find gratitude. In the peace of my art studio, I make a painting. I notice that I’m safe and warm. I get a chance to calm my thoughts. As I create, things shift and ease. I sense that everything is going to be OK. Even in the most challenging moments in time, I face tomorrow with the knowledge that art making will be my refuge.

Which Way is Up? 2021

Liminal Hope Series

COVID-19 has created a liminal landscape where we cannot get to “What’s Next,” and we intensely experience “Waiting’s” power to alter time and space. We are all hovering in time- waiting with a strange anxiety to see “What Will Be.” Liminal Hope is a series of paintings that explore liminality in the “In-Betweens” of life. Some of these “In-Between Paintings” explore ordinary waiting spaces that depict the tension, confusion, and anxiety we experience when transitioning from what has been to what will be in normal, everyday life. More recent works depict liminality amidst COVID’s influence on our experience of place and space. Liminal Hope reflects the strange, disorienting, new COVID -19 landscape that leaves us all grasping for hope juxtaposed by the ordinary, everyday experiences of liminality we previously waited within. Weaved throughout is the theme of hope and its power to allow us to sit and wait for tomorrow a little less anxiously.

Explore the “Liminal Hope Series” and learn more about art and hope in one’s liminal places and spaces.

Liminal Hope, 2020

Art, Liminality, and Thoughts on Hope

I create marks, choose colors, and make choices on a canvas. “Right Now” is all mine and I have some control over something. In an unreliable world, my canvas can be relied on. I still have a place where I can dream. As I paint, I hear the words “I am Hope” rise within me. I sense, against the odds, that hope is here.

I am Hope, 2020


Big Hope Today

I don’t know about you, but I could use some “Big Hope” right now. I’m tired of being locked in my house. I’m tired of not knowing whether my toilet paper will run out. I’m tired of worrying about the future. I’m tired of the waiting and not knowing what the future holds. I can’t make plans and I can’t revisit things. I am stuck in time and in place. Liminality rules.

Social distancing is getting really old. I don’t have a lot of places I can go. There are so many restrictions. I know that staying home is the right thing to do, but I still feel the isolation and uncertainty regardless. COVID-19 is not Hope’s friend.

People worry that things will get even more restrictive and there will be little space left for escape and pleasure. I’m lucky that they can’t take my paintbrush away. My canvas is my escape, and my paintbrush helps me find new energy and purpose.  No matter what happens, I have a place where I can sort things out and remind myself that there is hope. Painting tells me that better days lie ahead. Even when the outcome looks bleak, I create my way to a better place. That’s why I have “Big Hope” today.

Big Hope Today, 2020