My career in the arts has been diverse but drawing and painting have always been important to me, even as a child. In the 70’s I was a photographer in Toronto documenting the work of independent choreographers and alternative theatre productions. In 1979 I handled all camera work on a short film that a friend and I made in New York City. It played in several venues. In the 80’s I was a researcher and production assistant on a national television show and worked on feature films in every capacity from set decoration to camera assistant. Then, during the pre-computer cut-and-paste days, I became a graphic designer… designing trade magazines, corporate identities, and packaging.
After moving to Halifax in 1989 I decided to enroll at NSCAD. It took me ten years to complete two years of credits because at the same time as making art, I was making babies! I already had a B.A. from York University and a Graphic Design Diploma from George Brown College in Toronto. And so began my life as a practising artist.
I have been recipient of a Canada Council Explorations Grant, a Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage Professional Development Grant, and a Canada Council Travel Grant. The Nova Scotia Art Bank owns three paintings; drawings from the exhibition, “Holocaust and Memory” travelled to France. I’ve been a jury member for the N.S. Art Bank and for grants to individuals. In 2010 I participated in the invitational Emma Lake International Collaboration Conference in the boreal forest of northern Saskatchewan with 100 artists and craftspeople from around the world.
encourages a generation to appreciate art
As a relative newcomer to Halifax and part-time NSCAD student, and a mom looking for other creative individuals, I joined VANS in 1995. Benefits for me included meeting the artistic community and connecting me to them via the newsletter. The listings of workshops, exhibitions, and opportunities continue to advise and inform me. I’ve attended workshops offered by VANS. When gallery owners from Chicago and several Canadian cities were invited to offer critiques I was lucky to be among the participants.
I was on the Board of VANS for five years representing the South Shore. Working closely with other regional representatives to shape the future of VANS was an honour.
I was the chairperson and creator of “Bloomin’ Artists: A Walk through Artists’ Gardens”, a fundraiser for VANS in 2004 and 2005.
As a member of PAINTS I regularly visit elementary schools offering art-for-art’s-sake projects. High school students get a hands-on introduction to encaustic painting. The PAINTS program is one of the best provided by VANS. The artist not only earns a fee but encourages a generation to appreciate art and familiarizes them with its making.
coming at the canvas straight from the gut
Currently I’m drawing/painting abstract works on paper using mixed media, building up layers of mark-making. I started out painting figuratively and still do but my work slowly evolved naturally – and unexpectedly – until I found myself working non-representationally. I’ve always been an instinctive, intuitive painter, coming at the canvas straight from the gut, and abstraction perfectly suits these inclinations.
I’m a tactile, visual person so everything I see and touch goes into my work somehow, some way. Because my studio is unheated and unless I work in the kitchen, winters are spent reading and letting ideas percolate. Sometimes I paint in my head. The next series comes out of this seemingly fallow time.
I like texture and surface. My oil paintings are built up; the encaustics are scratched, gouged and pitted; even the drawings, though two dimensional, give the impression of depth.
Although I try to see other exhibitions in Halifax or when I’m out-of-town, I prefer not to surf the internet looking for other artists’ work. I don’t even look at art books though I own many. Of course, it’s impossible not to be influenced by what is around one including the work of others.
I learned to trust myself and my instincts
When I was fresh out of school I used to worry that I wouldn’t know what to paint. Eventually I learned to trust myself and my instincts, understanding that when the ideas were formulated and ready the work would pour out.
MJG Gallery on Queen Street East
It’s winter so it’s percolation time. I’m most productive in summer when it’s hot and sunny, the hotter the better.
Last May I exhibited mixed media drawings on paper at the Craig Gallery in Dartmouth. In the spring I’ll start preparing drawings for a show in Toronto at the MJG Gallery on Queen Street East.
Sadly, my website is four shows behind and nine years old. Stay tuned for an update.