I am a painter and an Art Educator living and working in Oakland, CA. As an artist I respond to my surrounding environment and daily experience in an immediate, representational manner. As an educator I teach children to be observant and thoughtful in their artistic practice and exploration. I studied painting at Hampshire College in Massachusetts with a variety of professors. My professor, Riley Brewster took our class outside to the corn fields in the winter with our canvases and palates of pre mixed paints and we painted with snow up to our knees for hours. These paintings were messy and difficult, but they felt real. I felt like I had a purpose, to define this place through paint. My final year at Hampshire, I focused on plein air paintings of the landscape and the sheep that lived with us on campus.
At the end of my third year in college, I spent a month long residency at the Studio Center in Johston, VT. My professor was Bernard Chaet. Bernie and I related on many levels: the struggle to capture the outdoor environment, the open awareness of light and color in the world. We had the same favorite spots to paint: the apple orchard, the cow pasture and the river. I felt free and directed in VT and knew that no matter how hard to handle the paints became, I had to be a painter.
After college, I decided to apply to Graduate School and attended The School of The Art Institute of Chicago for Art Education. I discovered my need to become an art educator and pass on my sense of wonder and knowledge of the language of art to children. As my efforts and pursuits as an artist inform my ideas for lessons, insight into the creative mind of the child informs my observations and paintings. In Chicago, I solidified my theories about the relationships between environment and art making. Children respond to their experience, their environment and their ideas in a very concrete and honest manner. I design lessons that allow for children to use their own experience as foundation for their artistic explorations.
For the past ten years I have been teaching and painting in the Bay Area. My work in Art education has informed my artistic practice and allowed me time to pursue an art career. I am involved in many different arts communities in the Bay Area: my neighborhood, Jingletown Arts and Business Community, my job, Museum of Children’s Art of Oakland and a cooperative gallery, Mercury 20 Gallery. I take the summers off to travel and continue my own education, exploring other places and cultures in the world.