Playing with art and storytelling to make friends with the fear inside me
Biblical Series 2020-Present
When the pandemic first turned all of our worlds upside down, along with a 5.6 earthquake that shook up my city at the same time, I hightailed it to shelter in place above my mother’s art gallery in a small town in the high mountain deserts of Utah.
The greatest blessing to come out of the months in seclusion was meeting my husband, Eugene. I was never going to remarry and simply wanted to make a friend. It ended up being a Covid romance.
Another blessing was experiencing a revived passion for all things biblical. To be more precise, it was a thirst I could not quench. Here I was, raised Christian, losing myself in researching the ancient history of Israel; it’s laws, beliefs, word, customs, foods, festivals, and agriculture. I also resumed my study of the Hebrew language, which I had done at university decades earlier. I also began to create art to reflect what I was learning. Why have I been passionate about all this since childhood? I don’t have an answer, because I don’t know. I have stopped asking why.
Angel Series 2017-2019
My first attempt at digital painting began when I created a girl falling through the sky, surrounded by angels. I was 55 years old, finally safe and single after a divorce preceded by a protective order and arrest. The desire to paint—something, anything—began one night, a half-year after my legal relationship status changed for the better. The moment followed a concert by Tiny Bicycle Parade, in October 2017.
I had never heard their music, and assumed it would be fun and delightful, given the name of the piano and guitar duo. Instead, the poignant lyrics sung by Brian Kershisnik brought me to tears. As an artist he paints messy, as does J. Kirk Richards from whom I took two out of eight oil painting classes in 2015 or 16. I was too weak to do all the classes, having spent most of 2007 onwards in bed, similar to the author, Laura Hillenbrand.
Armed with confidence I could simply have fun making a digital mess while unexpectedly crying my way out of that amazing concert and PTSD-like trauma, this angel series began to take shape. My first painting, created that night, sold at the Art Squared Auction in Spring City the next May.
Years ago, I read a beautiful memoir written by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. It is entitled, “My Grandfather’s Blessings.” A childhood friend, Kris, had given me a copy.
Before the pandemic hit in 2020, I decided to read it in full while healing from witnessing a suicide in 2019, including the reality of gun violence inches in front of my face. Dr. Remen’s words were like a balm to my soul. I decided to look for blessings and miracles, and eventually began to create them in art. My first two attempts are Shabbat blessings for parents to give to their children.
August 2021 felt heavy to me. This was at a time when Covid had mutated into the Delta variant, the Taliban overtook Afganistan, fires still raged in the Western Americas and Greece, and floods were burying entire villages in Germany and China. This was before Hurricane Ida hit our shores. So much suffering.
I began to paint so I could enter the Zen space in my mind, with no idea as to what I would create. As I painted I felt a connection to Him, and this brought me a peace I had been craving for months. These first two are the pieces that seemed to take shape of their own accord. If you want to see the video process, videos are on the website menu for you to click and watch.
There is such joy in creating like a child and being present. Children create art when they are angry, sad, happy and all other sorts of emotions. Art is like that for me. Every shape, color and stroke of the digital pencil is a surprise to me, since I rarely know what I’m going to paint.