An artist native to Mississippi, I paint full-time and maintain a part-time existence as a paramedic. On my painted surfaces I build images with oil or acrylic of the physical and psychological spaces and connections between church and tree, child and dog, blue and orange.
Whether commissioned, working from my heart in my studio, or painting on location, I am driven to communicate with layers of color and texture until each image becomes its own and I can move on. Several paintings at a time are always in progress, and I move back and forth as each piece develops at its own pace. I try to paint a playful, and often joyful, outlook on life. I have always painted and as it has become my primary work, it has become my way of storytelling.
After years away, studying and making art, it has been in returning to Mississippi that my work has found its rhythm and become highly narrative as I try to make sense of the race, class, religious, cultural, mixed up gumbo of this place. I became a parent in this post-Katrina war time, and that had a profound effect on my thoughts and my work.
New York Studio School, Drawing Marathon, June 2005
Maine College of Art, Khatadin Wilderness: Painting workshop, October 2004
University of Mississippi Medical Center: Paramedic Certificate 1998-1999
La Escuela Sevilla, la Antigua Guatemala, 1996
San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, 1994-1995
Colby College, Waterville, ME, 1990, BA, Religion
Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy, spring, 1990
Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, summer 1989
University of Southern Maine, Stone Coast Writers' Workshop, August 1989
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, 1987-1988
Studied painting under Jere Allen
I have friends who have chickens and over the last decade every time we've visited them, I've spent hours awkwardly positioned in corners, on hay bales, getting to know the bodies and empty brains of these bizarre birds.
Other friends, these a country doctor and an Episcopal priest, live amid cottonfields and levees along the Yazoo River in the Mississippi delta. I've painted here many, many times and painted their clothesline (with the cotton fields, the levees, a fence with muscadine vines growing through it all as its backdrop) over and over. I love its ever changing shapes, the contrast of tension and flow in the cloth and the wire, but also what it means to bring one's damp clean clothes into the sunshine to be dried by the scent of muscadines, cotton, delta air. I've also had clotheslines over the last several years to save money as well as to try to recapture the feeling of my friends' lines, but it's never held the same magic as those out in the countryside. I see magic, also, in the most urban settings for clothesline, like those which adorned the sky patches between tall apartment buildings going down the steep hill of my street in San Francisco, or those from the wonderful dance scene between John Travolta and Christopher Walken in the most recent film version of "Hairspray."
I love them. Even, grudgingly, the tiny yappy ones I've come to know, but those I'm sorry I'm just not intitially drawn to. The dogs I fall in love with at first sight (and rarely fall out of love) are big. At least thirty pounds but get toward 100 and I can't keep my hands off them. And if a dog is a short-haired lab-ish mutt with a playful gentle nature, I'm hopelessly smitten.
Solitary figures in landscapes
These figures are all of us. Connected to the land whether we like it or not, in conversation sometimes with other people, with creatures, with the architectural structures where we (or our chickens) retreat for shelter. We stand, or sometimes sit, a little awkwardly, never knowing what the world is sending our way next.
Have you seen these? They are grand. While the nomenclature is less than poetic (when have you last heard verse floweringly rhyming module?), I love these recent developments in the process of cotton farming. Out on the periphery of fields, covered with tarps, now blue or yellow or green, they stand sentry like so many huge 21st century sarcophagi.
The youngest of 4, and the second youngest of 17 first cousins on my mothers side (only one other on our father's side and she 20 years older at least), I think I may find such delight in children because I was so adored by the older ones myself. And now! Now I am a parent to a fabulous young man, and find such joy in his discovery of the world. What a gift!