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Growing up on California's Central Coast, I had the immense privilege of proximity to the stunning natural beauty of the Monterey Bay as well as a vibrant and long-established art scene. This upbringing infused in me a deep connection to place and a love for nature's beauty that have profoundly informed the direction of my work. In the years since then, my husband and I have moved over a dozen times. Amid the turmoil of job change, and pursuits of education and entrepreneurship, we became accidental nomads — moving across the country and back, then across the state. Our reality has been one of consistent change, filled with cycles of planting roots and tearing them up again, of commingled losses and gains, griefs and joys. It is from this place of uncertainty and transience that I began my studio practice, painting expressive figurative works in oil on canvas.
My current body of work, “Verdant” is a series of contemporary portraits that chronicles this deeply personal journey of learning to be present with both beauty and pain through experiences of change and transience. The figure invites us to consider the psychological realities of our own embodied experiences, while the abstracted floral patterns that surround and filter her (created by a veil of sheer floral fabric) allude to the fleeting sensation of transcendence that meets us in nature. The fabric is both an aesthetic tool to abstract and filter the portrait, as well as a metaphorical exploration of the way so many of our lived experiences have become two dimensional representations of former realities. More akin to poetry than to scientific study, these loosely painted symbols of foliage capture the fleeting feeling of connection to something beyond ourselves that we do not entirely understand — to a beauty that we cannot keep.
Inherent in this experience is the reality of loss and hope for new life that comes with changing seasons. The rough edges, loose brushwork, and impasto paint that form this body of work reflect a parallel truth about our own lived experiences; that life is full of rough edges and things in progress, and there is beauty in that, too. This visual exposure of process leans into the importance of awareness and presence over perfection. Because, rather than either striving or escaping, nature invites us to remain awake to the entangled paradox of suffering and beauty that comes with being human.