I am a New Orleans city gal that has "escaped" to the country. We built my studio after Katrina in Pearlington, Mississippi and I have never been happier. My studio is located on a bayou next to a pond. There are no other houses in sight. The seclusion helps me focus on my painting practice.
As a young woman, I graduated from Newcomb College of Art, Tulane University after spending my first two years of college outside of New York City. I received a BFA with a painting major from Newcomb. Then my husband and I raised a family in New Orleans where I taught art for 20 years. I always continued to paint, first in oils and later in acrylics. I painted in my kitchen, the carport, or a spare room.
I call myself an abstract expressionist because I play with composition, color, shape, and mark-making trying to express my emotions at the time. I am influenced by the nature outside my studio and my life experiences. Painting has given my life joy and purpose. It has helped me weather life’s difficulties. Art is my therapy. I always know if I want to feel happiness, I just need to step into my studio and create.
Over the years I have received recognition. In 2012 and 2018, I was awarded the Mississippi Arts Commission Visual Arts Fellowship. In 2014, I was invited to participate in the Mississippi Museum of Art Invitational. I received the Hiatt Fellowship in order to travel to benefit my art. The Mississippi Museum of Art now has one of my paintings in its Mississippi permanent collection. I have received awards in various juried shows.
Painting is what I love, but I do not love marketing my work. I hope my paintings bring pleasure to others. I am especially thrilled when someone responds to my work and wants it in their life.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Abstract, intuitive, expressive,
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in your community? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
What I love most about creating art in my community is that I am surrounded by nature. I love seeing only my bayou, my pond, butterflies, and the occasional boat. This quiet atmosphere and lack of distraction give me the focus that I need for my art practice. The movement of the water in my bayou influences my work, especially the ebb and flow of the tides.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I begin my work on stretched canvas with charcoal or thinned paint in black or Payne's gray. I then choose 2 to 3 colors and begin defining shapes, and adding mark making. I work fast and intuitively. These initial layers will be altered as the process evolves. I step back, analyze the composition, and cover up what is not working for me. This process of layering and change goes quickly, while adding more charcoal, wiping out with paper towels, introducing new colors, and mixing neutrals. I often try to give the eye a place to rest. I work on several canvases at once when I am "in the flow". This sometimes creates a series of related works.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I draw my inspiration from the nature surrounding my studio and from my emotional reaction to my life experiences....joy, hope, loss, expectation, disappointment, regret, surprise, beauty, love, frustration, etc.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
When learning, my teachers were my influences, at first at Newcomb College of Art as I worked on my BFA and later at the New Orleans Academy of Art. I was also influenced by art in museums and the study of art history. My gurus were first the impressionists, then the abstract expressionists. Specifically, I admire Joan Mitchell's freedom of brush stroke, Cy Twombly's mark-making, and Jason Craighead for his resting places and use of drawing in his canvases.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Jazz, especially when it is most creative and free...also the song lyrics of romantic Broadway musicals.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
You will find me taking my dog for a walk, reading a book, getting together with friends, or on my computer or phone.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
My favorite time of day is when I get to my studio, often in the afternoon. I don't have a favorite day, but definitely not Monday, wash day for me.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
When my 7 grandchildren were young, my husband and I ran a camp for them called Camp B's Nest. I was the arts and craft counselor, and he was the nature and field trip counselor.