I spent much of my childhood and teenage years making art, but pursued a liberal arts education. While earning a degree in history from Brown University, I took art classes on the side. After spending the early part of my adult life in the corporate world in Chicago, I decided to follow my love of art when New Mexico’s clarity of light, rich feeling of tradition and strong sense of place pulled me “home.” My husband and I quit our corporate jobs and moved to the mountains of northern New Mexico. Shortly thereafter, I began working with oil pastels. Twenty years later, they are still my favorite medium. The buttery feel and the directness of applying the pigment without the go-between of a brush continue to fuel my love for these buttery crayon-like sticks.
Combining my love of history and culture with my passion for the New Mexico landscape and simple architecture, I create art that reflects the timelessness of that subject matter. I’m fascinated with the state’s Spanish Colonial past and the way it merges into and influences the present. Relying on photographs, sketches, and memories of places I have found along the back roads of the American West, I use vibrant, saturated colors, bold compositions and slightly altered perspectives to present, rather than represent, this special place. My “rose colored glasses” interpret the scenes with heightened color. Mine is a contemporary depiction of an ageless place.
I work on various surfaces. I am partial to Canson Mi Tientes pastel paper (flat side), gessoed panels, and fine tooth canvases. I begin by applying colored gesso to the substrate—Matisse Derivan background colors. Burgundy, red, and indigo are some of my favorites. Oil pastels are much like buttery crayons—and I use them that way. I generally start with a loose, light sketch to make sure I am happy with the composition (oil pastels are a little unforgiving.) After I have blocked in most of the color (I generally work from top to bottom). I blend some of the colors using a clay shaping tool or a piece of wadded-up shop cloth. I also scratch out areas with various exacto knives to get sharper, cleaner lines. My favorite brands of oil pastels are Holbein, Sennelier and Caran d’Ache. Once the work is completed, I use several layers of a spray fixative to set the oil pastel so the piece is no longer tacky to the touch. Then I add several layers of a brush-on acrylic resin varnish. Both the fixative and varnish have extra U.V. stabilizers so the art is very lightfast.