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I create artwork which embodies both abstractions as well as whimsical imagery. Growing up in the country in a small town in Northern Indiana, I became aware of the nature around me at a very young age. Exploration of my parents farm land they let return to wooded areas, swamps, and flowering fields gave hours worth of investigation and a place for my imagination to blossom. My artwork has taken inspiration from the rural landscapes, animal companions, and the people who have joined along in my journey.
My most current series of paintings are a collection of my memories. In each painting, a rabbit shares with the audience a part of my childhood. I chose the Dutch rabbit as my storyteller because I grew up showing this breed at our local 4-H Rabbit Club for 10 years and stayed on as a Group Leader and Advisory Board Member for many years after. The rabbit symbolically represents my characteristics of humility, kindness, compassion, intuition, and creativity.
I have always been fascinated with the markings of the Dutch rabbit - round curves designating different areas of color, yet unified as a whole and balanced with symmetry. The compositions of my artwork keep to these same elements and principles - desiring curves over straight lines, working with color schemes to create emphasis and unity, and a visually symmetrical landscape balanced with focal points throughout.
My Recollections series takes us up into the clouds to start the journey. The first two paintings have a gateway which transports the viewer from a distant, timeless space of inquiry to the destination of recognition and reminiscing. The rabbit is part of the story, but is also meant to guide us in each subsequent painting expanding upon the favorite memories of my youth.
My love for rabbits began when I was given one from my Great-Uncle. From then on, I was fascinated with rabbit demeanors, colors, patterns and fur types. In addition to raising rabbits, I also practiced drawing and painting them. Over the years, I have honed my skills in drawing the Dutch breed in particular, as well as capturing their various fur colors. Presently, I am developing narratives for my rabbit paintings by delving into my childhood memories as a stepping stone to what could be future book illustrations of a rabbit growing up in the country.
Rabbits exist in most people’s lives - be they in the flesh as a pet or show animal, shared symbolically through cultural traditions, or characterized in comics, tv shows, movies, etc. People collect rabbit artwork because they identify with the depiction, the symbolism, or the aesthetic beauty of such an animal. The rabbits in my paintings inspire viewers to go beyond the recognition of the breed, and to realize there is a story being told of which they can already connect with or can experience for the first time. Even though I am currently working on a series, each painting can stand alone as its own artwork piece. Creating a series allows for several stories to unfold at once, and provides the opportunity for those who want to start a collection the means to do so.
Using acrylic paint allows me the flexibility to adjust application techniques (such as dry brushing, washing, detailing) as well as devise color schemes which suit my color palette. When designing the layout for each painting, I start with the background layers first. I pay attention to the brush strokes and which direction I want the gestured lines to lead the viewer’s eye. I also am frequently analyzing the balance of negative and positive space before moving onto the main elements. Size, placement, and how the imagery develops dictates how the story I want to tell is able to unfold.
Some challenges I have given myself thus far are changing the colors of the sky throughout the paintings to represent different times of the day; working with different textures such as grass, bubbles, and shiny metal; changing the width and height of the canvas to offer a different format presentation; and in some cases, having more than one light source within the composition.
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