My artwork features heroines and animal-heroes balancing feelings of mystery or foreboding with a sense of celebration. They have some kind of task or important mission. The images are about the hardest part of the trip; the intersection between potential and conflict. They are narrative, surrealistic, and allegorical oil paintings on canvas. The scenes are amusing, maybe, but also strange or dangerous. The dark side reflects our sometimes shameful society today; our shocking willingness to beat down the vulnerable, while the brighter side evokes our chance, our hope, shining forth when time is taken to look more closely. A visual tension between the two creates energy.

Last September at a residency in Lisbon, Portugal, I was inspired by the portrayal of animals in the ubiquitous, traditional blue and white tiles (azulejos) inside and outside 18th Century buildings and churches. These historical animals appear to be saviors, purposeful, and interestingly unrealistic. Maybe something in the past can save us. I feel a powerful connection to the anonymous artists striving centuries ago. Some beasts are food, some are working, some are biblical: sheep, warthogs, dogs, cats, alligators, camels, and others. They become my own, for a new purpose, in a new world. Odd-looking, they are usually secondary to people in the tiles. But in my newest work there are no people. Humans are utterly complex and not so compelling to me now. Their absence emphasizes the ascendancy of the animal-protagonist. The beasts represent spiritual goodness, as they do in all my paintings. Like familiars, they are an essential part of the women and children.

Patterns are vital in my work as well. In some work, pattern is as prominent as the animal and sometimes diffused in places within their body. The patterns that beckon me are from fabrics my mother chose to sew her clothes, my clothes, tablecloths and bedspreads. She glowed when sewing. Patterns represent strong bonds to her, my grandmother, and my daughters. The sometimes fraught relationship of “decorative art” and “fine art” interests me very much. Again, I think of the anonymous worker. The term “decorative” art is sometimes used derisively in relation to its more highbrow cousin, but without it we would not know the remarkable artwork of such luminaries as Matisse, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Sonia Delaunay, and many others.

Ideally, the work is lyrical, aspiring, and not jaded -yet not simple- and offers optimism despite the narrative’s challenges.