I became a mom in 2016 and it’s been the biggest blessing of my life. Yet, this experience has brought with it so many feelings of chaos and anxiety, constantly feeling like I am racing to keep up with all I need to do and all I should know to be a good mother. In the midst of this experience, I’ve found short blocks of time when I can run downstairs and quickly use my palette knives to spread and mix acrylic paint directly on to wood panels or stretched canvas. I use whatever fits my vision for the particular work of art, but also what I happen to have conveniently within reach. I may use some old wall paint to give a neutral tone or use vibrantly pigmented tubes of acrylic paints and mix directly into the gesso to build up texture quickly.
While painting, I usually listen to audio, often sermons of some kind, and it becomes a time for me to refocus my mind on the bigger picture and what is important. It helps me to remember the great gift of peace in Christ despite any circumstances. It is a therapeutic and refreshing time for me. My hope is that when someone puts up one of my paintings in their home it will add a serene quality to the room. I imagine that my art could help remind them of the deeper peace in life that they can find.
Commissioned art has an important meaning to the one who commissions it. However, everything I choose to paint has a symbolic significance to me. For example, when I’ve painted elephants, it relates back to my childhood experiences growing up as a missionary kid in South Africa. The first time I remember seeing elephants in the Kruger National Park, I was struck with a sense of aw at the power of these magnificent creatures, but was set at ease by the calmness of their demeanor. When I paint doves, deer, and lambs, I am striving to convey the symbols I see in the Bible and how they relate to my life.
I’ve recently discovered that my favorite parts of doing an art show is getting to talk to people about my work and hearing valuable feedback from various perspectives. Since graduation from the painting program at UAB (the University of Alabama at Birmingham), one thing I miss the most is getting feedback on my work. Therefore, the conversations I have with people when I publicly show my work has helped to fill that void to some degree. It’s especially exciting when people can see and describe the feeling and symbolism I was hoping to create. It brings a special kind of satisfaction and joy to me, is usually very affirming, and motivates me to continue pursuing my passion for painting. I am very thankful to have a family who supports my artistic goals, and I’m thankful for the thriving and growing community of local artists in the Birmingham area.