If someone had told me in 2000 that I would become a professional artist, I would have countered, “Sure, right after I’m done orbiting Mars.” Even though my mother was a professional artist and my father a writer, it seemed truly improbable.
I had early illusions of pursuing an art career. Then, a college professor told me my work looked like “smudge by numbers.” I laughed, but something in me fizzled. I became a writer instead. Thirty years later, my mother’s death sparked an interest in art classes. The Art League of Alexandria tapped a vein that otherwise never would have seen the light of day.
Although my work is realistic, there is a strong abstract base to the composition. I love playing colors against one another. My subjects are far ranging, but my relationship to them is apparently thorny. A friend pointed out that my choices reflect a ‘negative emotional resonance.’ My food series of corpulent fruit, vegetables and seafood must be a reaction to my continual weight issues. My Asian series could be traced back to the abandonment I felt when my parents went to Japan and Thailand for six weeks. I don’t paint figures (body image issues?) And the sailboat series only confirms the theory. My childhood summers were spent run aground, becalmed, befogged and capsized.
But then again, my landscapes have only positive resonance. They celebrate the island where I am most at home. I avoided landscapes for a long time because they were my mother’s forte. And though we shared the specific geography, our paintings are nothing alike. Quirky sparks my interest (see my series with vintage windup animals.) I am also drawn to oddity – a basket of shoe lasts, a pile of railroad oil cans, block and tackles – though it doesn’t sell.
I am profoundly grateful to discover I am a professional artist.