I started to get serious about watercolor at the end of 2017.
Before that, I did paintings and drawings in various mediums – acrylic, pencil, ink, etc. Aside from a few introductory art classes (including one scene painting class at University of Illinois, where I learned as much about good work habits as I did about technique), I don’t have a lot of formal training, but I’ve been practicing and learning on my own since I was a kid.
My actual education background is mostly in writing and theatre studies. I thought I’d eventually end up in the publishing business, then maybe a dramaturg (which is basically a research assistant for plays or theatre companies) but I soon realized that hanging out in front of a computer all day wasn’t for me, and I didn’t want to work all the nights and weekends that theatres usually require, either.
So, once I finished my degree in 2017, I continued to work part-time at a library job that I love which pays enough to cover the bills. I decided that for Christmas that year, I’d make gifts for family and friends. That included watercolor paintings, from supplies I had left over from my undergrad days.
I soon realized that, without the pressure of a professor telling me what to paint and how to paint it, I really enjoyed watercolor. So, after Christmas was over, I kept painting.
Thus, most of my paintings were done in 2018 and later. As you’d probably notice looking through my gallery, I love bright colors and dramatic light; I love painting spaces that invite you in to imagine what’s around the corner, down an alley, or through a doorway. I also have a fascination with abandoned places and objects, and imagining what they were like (or could be like again). I like to focus too on details that might otherwise get overlooked, especially in a looser medium like watercolor.
I’m drawn also to the beauty of utilitarian things like trucks and trains, I think in part because my family has a long history of building, using, and repairing them (my great grandfather, for example, helped build steam engines) — and they’re such a key part of our larger history. I travel as often as possible and often stop to take photos of things that make me pause and look again: a forest path, a bunch of flowers, a sunlit road or sidewalk. I think there’s so much beauty everywhere once we learn how to look for it, and I aim to capture that where I can.
I put my other interests and hobbies in my work too. Cities and places I’ve visited have inspired paintings. My house plants and favorite flowers also show up in my work.
When I’m not making art, I work at a public library and take boxing classes. I also read a lot, go shopping too much, write on occasion, drink a fair amount of coffee.