I am the Painter of Cartographic Stories.
In her final days, my great-grandmother was asked to tell us a story. She shakily drew a map.
She drew the boundaries of a property near Herkimer, New York and then drew The New York State Thruway cutting it in half. She then told the story of how the highway had split their 72-acre farm when it was built in the 1950s. They had built a large culvert under the highway that provided access to the other half of the property, but she had feared using it because the local deer would charge through it at top speed.
That forever-poignant imagery is what I capture in my aerial landscapes. Every one of us, at the end of our lives, will still be able to sketch with gnarled hands the places that are burned into our memories. I awaken the memories and ask viewers to place themselves in another place and time.
I want you to simultaneously see a place you know and be intrigued by the perspective I have captured. I work in encaustic - hot wax - to create three-dimensional interpretations of the topography of a landscape and then layer oil paint into and onto the wax. Combining these two mediums allows me to ask the viewer to both place themselves in a representational map and to consider the conversation between the land and humankind.
I talk with people all the time about the places that are most important to them and I learn more about humanity's connection to place through each conversation. If you have a place in your mind that is full of significance and memory, I would love to hear about it. Allowing me to tell your story through a commission deeply enriches the process.
Traditionally, I was first educated to be an agricultural economist and then a science teacher. After graduate school, I came back around to art through reading artist blogs, then attending art workshops, and finally dedicating myself to learning a few mediums through independent teachers around the country. I began teaching art workshops and showing my work during an artist residency in Spain in 2012.
As a creator of fine art, I have dedicated myself to producing archival quality paintings. My work is done on cradled panels that are ready to hang or frame. The cradles and the backsides are painted in a dark brown to seal the wood panel and give a finished look.
Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, the western coast of North America, and Nevada mining operations frequently capture my fascination when scanning the planet from space. The Black Rock Desert, Edinburgh, and Italy are among my recent commission work.
My work is a constant search for the intersection between belief and fact, the spiritual and the scientific. It is here that humans can find a type of truth that takes us beyond our limiting beliefs and fears, and into new worlds. I see less lines between factual and mythical than perhaps I should as a science teacher, but teaching children has shown me that imagination can be a key ingredient to understanding some of the unbelievable facts of how our universe works. Or, as Madeleine L’Engle once said, “It is...through the world of the imagination which takes us beyond the restrictions of provable fact, that we touch the hem of truth.”
Alterations to the earth never cease. Human activity is continual. Biological and chemical processes and shifting tectonic plates do not take time off. Change is inevitable. Particles constantly vibrate. Information and data are beautiful. Patterns are everywhere. These are the beliefs and facts that influence my creative work.
It is by drawing attention to the aesthetic beauty of scientific data, migration patterns, geological processes, and the scars of highways across the land that I am working towards pushing the viewers outside of their own immediate concerns to see the literal bigger picture of this interconnected universe we dwell in. It is by pushing those viewers to consider parallels between hard science and ley lines, astrology and sacred geometry, that I ask us all to consider the impossible, leave open a door for the miracle, and let go of needing to place everything in a neat box.
The materials I use are primarily natural -- beeswax, resin, earth pigments, thread, fabric, paper -- and the processes of application are highly physical and technical. I brush on, scrape off, melt down, pour, and layer with the occasional metal object and stitching. Encaustic allows me to mimic weathering processes and create texture in the work. My intentions and my medium work together in these ways.
Albert Einstein believed that he could find the unifying factor of all forces, or a theory of everything. Some say math is the language of the gods. Pop culture continues to come back to ideas of connections in the universe and imagining deep space. I am inspired by these ideas and legacies -- inspired to create and visualize the intangible connections of unseen movements and inevitable change.
How I Got HerE
Childhood - When asked I said I wanted to be either a writer or an artist. In second grade I wrote a bio of myself in which I said I wanted to be an artist and a scientist. I guess I always knew what I loved. I grew up surrounded by academia and woods in Western Massachusetts.
College - Just about every major fascinated me, but I decided art wasn't practical enough so I majored in Resource Economics and Plant and Soil Science. Towards the end of college I realized that working with teens brought me a lot of satisfaction, so I made the safe choice to get a Masters in Education and pursue teaching middle school science. I got married (definitely too young but I thought I was an adult).
2006 - I started working full-time and started reading artist blogs to once again indulge my creative side.
2008 - I attended my first art retreat to take classes with the artists I followed. Something shifted.
2009 - I took a painting class with Judy Wise and was introduced to encaustic. I was fascinated, but painting was still a scary prospect. I started producing my own tshirts with stenciled natural imagery taken from my own photography. Perhaps the first distraction from painting.
2010 - I began taking encaustic seriously as a medium I wanted to master. I started taking workshops all over the country and attending conferences.
2011 - I started an online network for creatives. An interesting idea but in the end would be my biggest failure, money pit and teacher. Nevermind my biggest distraction from painting. I will say, starting a business you can't explain without a revenue model is one way to learn about entrepreneurship. I went all in and quit teaching middle school. I missed the classroom and the students, but I had ideas I needed to explore.
I did a month-long residency in Spain. I had never painted this consistently and it was amazing. I painted images of homes and would for the next few years. I taught my first encaustic painting class and had my first show in Spain.
2012 - I traveled around the USA and Canada for 3.5 months running free art-making events in bars and cafes and crashing on couches. This trip transformed me. It deserves an entire book. Along the way I taught encaustic painting in Massachusetts, Oregon, California, and New Hampshire.
2013 - I went back to teaching middle school science in an interim position with the intention of finally looking west for a teaching position the next year. I still managed to teach encaustic painting in California, Maryland, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
2014 - I realized I would be moving west alone. I made the transition and resettled in Reno, Nevada which has turned out to be an incredible little city with both culture and wilderness. I took a position teaching 5th and 6th science at a small private school. I met an amazing man who told me to go paint. He still tells me to go paint.
2015 - I started teaching regularly at the Nevada Art Museum, a place I cherish. I wrote an artist statement that a year later would still resonate with me and I knew I was onto something. The man who told me to go paint asked me to marry him and I said yes.
2016 - I went into the studio to figure out what I should be painting. My previous work wasn't where I wanted to go. Close, but no cigar. I finally reached for my oil pigment sticks and something clicked. Encaustic for the texture, oil for the mushy color. I had been wanting to paint aerial landscapes and maps for years and I finally figured out how I wanted to do it. And I got married to my favorite human.
MEd (Secondary Education)
University of Massachusetts Amherst
BS (Resource Economics and Plant & Soil Science)
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Summa Cum Laude / Chancellor’s Outstanding Community Service Award
La Fragua, Belalcázar, Cordoba, Spain
West Coast Topography, Atelier, Truckee, CA
New Work, Hub Riverside, Reno, NV
Confluence, Oxbow Gallery, Northampton, MA
Ten, Artstream Gallery, Dover, NH
Guest Artist, Sunderland Public Library, Sunderland, MA
Small Works, Easthampton City Arts+, Easthampton, MA
Recent Works, Easthampton Arts Walk, Easthampton, MA
International Juried Exhibition, IEA EncaustiCon, San Antonio, TX
Home From Spain, The Whoo Space, Northampton, MA
Under The Influence, Jamaica Plain Arts Council, Boston, MA
Exposure, Ceres Gallery, New York, NY
Square Foot Art Basel Miami, Projects Gallery, Miami, FL
Casa, La Fragua Artist Residency, Córdoba, Spain
Home, Easthampton Arts Walk, Easthampton, MA
Art Teaching Experience
Semi-Monthly Workshops, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV
Weekend Workshops, Atelier, Truckee, CA
Summer School Art Classes, Sage Ridge School, Reno, NV
Weekend Workshops, Queen’s Ink, Savage, MD
Weekend Workshops, Charity Wings, San Marcos, CA
Saturday Workshops, Artstream, Dover, NH
Evening Workshops, Charity Wings, San Marcos, CA
Weekend Workshop, Crescendoh, Santa Ana, CA
Personal Studio Workshops, Easthampton, MA
Art Retreat, EncaustiCamp, Salem, OR
Weekend Workshop, Teahouse Studio, Berkeley, CA
Personal Studio Workshops, Easthampton, MA
Science Teacher, Sage Ridge School, Reno, NV
- Designs curriculum for and teaches 5th Science, 6th Science, and Computer Programming.
- Engages students through art making, long-term scientific research, and acting out science concepts.
- Teaches art classes during mini-semester classes during intersession.
- Leads weekly Art Club.
Seek Your Course, Founder
- Designed and launched a dynamic online platform for listing art classes worldwide.
- Conducted a three month road trip around the USA and Canada running free art-making events in 39 cities in 2012.
2013-2014 and 2006-2011
Science Teacher, West Springfield Middle School, West Springfield, Massachusetts
- Used filmmaking, drama, art, technology, laboratory investigations, a year-long schoolyard ecology research project, and other inquiry-based activities to engage students and encourage exploration.
- Secured over $3500 in grant funding for classroom technologies (including a SmartBoard, digital miniDV camcorder, and ELMO document camera).