Tell us a bit about yourself and the kind of art that you do?
I'm a full time, professional artist living in the DC area with my husband and children. As of late, I have focused primarily on abstract realism and contemporary landscape paintings. My signature style includes dramatic stormscapes and richly detailed contemporary tree paintings. One of my lightning storm pieces was used on the set of “Save Me” which aired on NBC this past spring. I will also have one of my tree paintings featured in the book, “The Custom Art Collection: Contemporary Art for the Home” which will be available in Barnes & Noble in November 2013.
How long have you been creating art/have you always been a creative person?
I began painting on my family farm in rural Arkansas with my grandfather and siblings when I was a young child, but I did not pursue art professionally until January of 2012. I believe that all humans are inherently creative as it is a part of our God-given nature to desire to bring things into existence.
What are the most important lessons you have learned through creating art?
The most important lesson I've learned is that mistakes can be beautiful. Much of what I've learned has started with an accidental drop of colour on the wrong part of the canvas. It ends up completely transforming the piece. I've always said that each painting is a journey. I've also learned that you must go boldly forward into your art and be willing to make yourself vulnerable by taking what risks are necessary to help grow your career.
Where do you get your inspiration from?/What inspires you?
Nature, in essence, is a grand reflection of the imperfection of man and that is why I choose it as my theme. There is always room for improvement in nature just as it is with humanity. Nature is a constant struggle to grow and make better and stronger what was once weak. There is no room for perfection and that is understood, but there is room for improvement. At the same time, every tree bends a little differently and that is what makes each one beautiful in its own right. Every day in nature is a fingerprint, completely unlike the day before and completely unlike the day after. I like to reflect this in my work. I can paint the same tree a dozen times and each tree is still going to have unique qualities that make it completely its own.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist?
The biggest challenge I face is trying to juggle my family life and my work life. I have two children and a wonderful husband and have found it absolutely necessary to strike a balance between work and home. One of my children is also chronically ill. My son, who is now 9 years old, suffers from a rare Chiari Brain Malformation that is basically a chronic pain illness resulting from a blockage of the flow of Cerebral Spinal Fluid. There is no known cure and precious little research to date making guidance in how to deal with a child who lives in chronic pain difficult to find. I can tell you, though, that he has found healing through art.
Name 3 artists you admire and why?
Sheri Wilson, who is a contemporary seascape artist. I can absolutely lose myself in her oceans and even have one of her works hanging in my home. Rene Magritte, whose surrealist works allowed for a truly unique viewing experience. Claude Monet, who was known mainly for his impressionist works. He greatly influenced other artists, including Van Gogh!
What are you trying to communicate through your art?
There is absolutely a story behind each and every piece of art I create. Some I choose to share, while others I keep for myself. In many cases, I don't make the story public but am happy to share it upon request. I want to allow those viewing my work the chance to find their own meaning and connection with the piece.
What do you think art’s role in society is today?
I believe that art brings healing to a broken world. By no means is it an exclusive form of healing, but in conjunction with other means, it helps to bind the wounds of society. I decided from the beginning to commit my work to God in hopes that my paintings would bring some amount of peace to those who view it.
Do you work in a sketchbook/art journal?
No, not at all. There are no rough drafts in life, so I don't allow myself rough drafts in my artwork. I create in the moment and allow the colours and brush strokes to determine where a piece will take me. Like I've said before: every piece is a journey.
Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself and/or your art?
You can find my original works for sale on Etsy in my shop. I currently don't offer prints as I want to be able to offer affordable and ORIGINAL art for every home.
Thanks to Rachel for sharing with us, her work is so beautiful and I, for one, have gained a lot of inspiration not just from her work but from her words as well. What an inspiration her son is too! We all can learn from people like that, who suffer more than we can even imagine everyday but still keep going and find strength and healing through art. When I hear stories like this my faith is restored in the place of art in our society today.
I hope you enjoyed this week's interview. If you are interested in being interviewed on the blog email me on email@example.com. I am interested in all types of artists, big and small, old and young, all are welcome.