When people ask me how long I’ve been drawing I tell them I was born with a pen in my hand. A found piece of graphite rock, a charcoal stick from a campfire, or anything that could make a mark I would use to doodle with on any available surface. This occupied me for hours as a child, and I’ve never outgrown it. I wouldn’t be surprised if I was a prehistoric cave painter in a former life. Upon graduating high school I was discouraged from pursuing the “impractical” career of an artist.
Moving into adulthood, I got a degree in Natural Resources, married a wonderful man, raised 3 great kids, and continued to draw like a madwoman. Only my family and a few friends knew of this obsession and they all wonderfully and tirelessly encouraged me to pursue it for over twenty years. In 2008 I discovered an insightful article which opened my eyes to the fact that the true soul and spirit of an artist emerges when he/she draws what they love. I turned my pen and brush over to creating trees, and the words of that article have come to life.
Entering the art world as a self taught artist, my credentials are patience, observation, perseverance and, quite simply – effort. Trial and Error are wonderful teachers. The hours I once spent in the Dendrology lab tediously identifying trees by their bud tips and bark has paid off. I find that I have an instinctual ability to attach human qualities to my subjects – an infectious tendency that now has my family, friends, and co-workers seeing faces, butts, arms, and gestures in trees where before there were none, and sending me photos that remind them of me. I carry a camera everywhere I go because you never know when you’re going to drive by a great face. All of this provides me with an endless supply of ideas, and the desire to challenge myself further in the creation of my long limbed friends. To me, trees epitomize the resilience, beauty, and acceptance of change and life that I seek in my own world, and I yearn to share it.
I try to give my trees personalities and character while telling stories which are sometimes environmentally based, sometimes whimsical, and often humorous. I hope they evoke nostalgic memories, raise environmental consciousness, and appeal to the tree hugger in all of us.
For those of you who wonder why I am the Heartwood Artist.
The heartwood of a tree is the strongest part. No longer a channel for water and nutrients, it provides support and strength unequalled by any other part of the tree. Usually darker than the outer wood, it is more valued by woodworkers for it’s beauty and fragrance, and its strength can keep a tree standing for hundreds of years after the tree has died. Art is my Heartwood.