I grew up in Pennsylvania, and loved making things early on. I remember making houses out of cardboard boxes for my dolls and drawing fashion illustrations in middle school. I created things to entertain myself (this was before computers and video games!) I grew up around other “makers”- my grandmother was a seamstress, my grandfather was a carpenter and my sister was a graphic artist.
As a child, I also loved visiting my grandfather’s house, where I was able to explore the woods. I enjoyed finding small nature treasures and studying them in detail. This seemed like a peaceful and magical place. These early experiences in creating and being surrounded by nature inspire my work.
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from The Pennsylvania State University, and my Master’s degree in Painting from Marywood University. I have also studied drawing and painting abroad in Florence, Italy.
I am a painter who specializes in acrylic and ink mediums. My work focuses on nature themes, particularly a study of animals. I think about the interdependency of all creatures, the overbearing presence of technology in society, and the absence of nature from our daily lives.
Sometimes in my work, animals are depicted with wonder, as ambiguous creatures in a world we can never truly understand. Because the creatures are absent from our lives, they have created their own mysterious universe that we are unaware of. Other times I like to show a tweaking of nature- abnormalities and unsettling relationships between objects and creatures. I believe that viewers bring meaning to unusual combinations, and anything can be transformed by juxtaposing it with something unexpected.
My current body of work strives to show an emotional connection between animals and humans, perhaps even a spiritual connection.
I draw inspiration from natural and imagined worlds, children’s storybook illustration, semiotics, travel, and art history references.
I created my first pet portrait for a friend that had to put her dog down. She told me she found a lot of comfort in looking at it everyday before she left for work. I then began painting our dogs and when one of our beagles died unexpectedly, I painted his portrait. It was a very emotional experience. I figured this was because it was my boy Walker, but I realized afterwards I had a spiritual “connection” many times when I painted a deceased animal.
What I love about the pet portraits is knowing that it will last for the human’s lifetime. Every time you look at it you will be reminded of your beloved pet. I believe when a pet passes on, their spirit looks over us, and the portrait is a visual reminder of this.