I am an oil painter, and a New Hampshire native.
Like many artists, I spent countless hours drawing as a youngster, but that gradually fell by the wayside as I got older. I earned a master’s degree in biology, married my wonderful husband, raised three great kids, and worked in various jobs. And yet, creativity continued to lurk in the background, insinuating itself whenever it could and leading to excessive time spent making Halloween costumes for the kids, obsessing over what color to paint the walls, and baking cakes in the shape of bunnies and trees.
Eventually I stopped resisting and formally re-invited creativity back into my life in the form of painting. I paint from life whenever possible, which means venturing out of doors (with excessive amounts of gear) in order to paint landscapes, and setting up still lifes to paint in my studio. I feel very connected to the New Hampshire landscape, having lived most of my life thus far in it. And, when painting indoors, I try to bring bits of the outdoors inside to include in still life setups – twigs, leafy branches, flowers from my garden – and combine them with handmade, often vintage, objects.
What all painters really paint, however, is light – the way it wraps itself around a vase full of flowers, or lights up the gable end of some old barn. Light effects catch our eye, but we know they are fleeting – which may be why I feel such a need to try to hold on to them, and capture them, in paint.
And then there’s the science-y part of my brain that makes me want to experiment. There is a seemingly infinite combination of tools, materials, and techniques related to oil painting. Paint can be thick or thin, transparent or opaque; surfaces rough or smooth, brushes tough as an old scrub brush or soft as a feather. I am happy knowing that I will never run out of new things to try.
My tendency is to try to record everything in front of me in minute detail, and yet I believe a painting should leave some things not fully rendered. The viewer should have the opportunity to participate in the process by allowing their imagination to tell a part of the story; to finish where the painter began.
A short clip of a plein air session during fall foliage season.
“Nourish” Show, Museum of the White Mountains, Plymouth, New Hampshire, January 21 – February 15, 2020
Naturally New England Regional Art Show, Sunapee, New Hampshire, August 2019