Trusting and acting on the spontaneous, intuitive impulse takes me on a creative journey with a myriad of magical destinations that include discovery, joy, delight, connection, transformation and remarkable synchronicity.
This is why I love to make art.
This is why I love to share all that I know about my process…
I have been making art since I was quite young and have a vivid memory of painting for the first time with big brushes in kindergarten class. The paint was gloriously thick and I still remember that amazing pasty smell and the excitement I felt adding vibrant red and blue to the paper.
I still feel that excitement and energy when I make art. There is always a sense of making a connection and the desire to create something that feels alive.
I sometimes revisit tempera paint as a medium though the quality has changed since 1973. I studied art at university and my attraction to different mediums became quite diverse as I learned more about painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. I discovered that I love transformative process; starting with something and letting it evolve and change. This is why I often gather found objects that have been transformed by the elements at the shore of Lake Huron where I live or along the streets.
One day, while at university, after a long walk to sculpture class, gathering found objects along the way, I started to assemble them in the studio. I began to observe that when making I simply knew what to do. I noticed that this process of creating out of a sense of inner knowing was different from other modes of art making like objective drawing or painting.
I learned to call this intuition.
Through this sense of inner knowing, I became a seeker of the joy of discovery experienced by entering a creative process without being conscious of an end result. In order to open up to this as freely as possible, I have learned to really listen to and fiercely trust my intuition.
Making art while trusting and acting on the spontaneous, intuitive impulse takes me on a creative journey with a myriad of magical destinations that include discovery, joy, delight, connection, transformation and remarkable synchronicity. This is why I love to make art.
Trusting the Creative Impulse
For me, this looks like gathering a selection of materials with the intent to listen within for the instructions. These instructions appear as impulses and are often simple and come quickly in for form of feelings, shimmering vaguely formed visions or words like, “Gesture lines. A feeling of big from the heart expression. Big brush. Black ink. Strong calligraphic lines. Oil stick. White smooshed over blue. Opening. Pencil dots. X. Connecting lines. Repeat small shapes….” When the impulses start to fade I get a sense of completion. I have written more about this in my blog post Emerging From the Immediate Act.
Early on I felt wordless when it came to giving meaning to my work but more on that later. Over time, I have developed a personal visual language that conveys a sense of transformative myth or story that contain doorways, arches, feminine form, energy lines or dots, found artefacts, hidden and emerging from layers often within a landscape. I invite the viewer to engage and feel free to trust the messages or emotions, or energy that they receive in viewing my work. It may not always be easy to articulate and can be more like a feeling or memory or dream sequence.
I love colour and texture and about 10 years ago switched from painting in acrylic to learning more about encaustic with encaustic, mixed media, collage artist and teacher Andrea Bird. Encaustic paint has colour and texture built right in! I say more about this in my post, Five Reasons to be Inspired by Encaustic Painting.
Encaustic Assemblage and Sculpture
Recently, I have returned to constructing and assembling pieces in combination with encaustic paint. The medium creates a sense of mystery as layers are hidden and revealed. Objects develop new textures and can become veiled by a layer of wax that alters your perception, like seeing something underwater.
Teaching Techniques Through Creative Play
I love encaustic and the potential for creative discovery that is contained within its process. I often teach beginner workshops locally and in my studio. You can find more information about this on my Workshop page. The focus of my workshops is about learning new techniques while giving yourself the freedom to play and explore.
When the artist takes her solo work from the studio into community an amazing transformation occurs. I have grown to love this process and seek it out in my work with the community arts collective Worth Their Salt and on my own in communities and classrooms. One of my favourites is at the Celtic Day Kids Camp that happens annually where I live in Goderich, Ontario. I often use the art that I make for the Celtic Roots Festival each year to make something new with the children who come to the week-long camp. I have written more about the designing of Ursa Major in the post, Cherish Your Bear.