My analytical side wants to face each challenge of recreating what I see while the artist within wants to create something beautiful. I meticulously measure, align and mark to put together works in an autobiography of times and places past. Each work begins with a bit of fear and trepidation as my inner perfectionist strains to recreate what I see while accepting each imperfection as part of the beauty of the process. I am a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, although I’m primarily self-taught in watercolor.
I’ve been blessed with a loving husband and 4 beautiful children who sometimes surface in my art but each of whom are the greatest of artworks themselves. In 2011, I was diagnosed with a thankfully treatable form of cancer, but that diagnosis shook my world. This was a defining moment that put everything into perspective and challenged me to reconsider how I was using my gifts and talents. It pushed me to return to pursuing my too long neglected love of art. Now I spend part of each day sitting down with some paper, fond memories and something to mark the page with. God has given me a talent and desire to create, that no matter how busy life can get I cannot reasonably give up.
1. What’s your medium of choice and what do you love about it?
Since having children, my go to medium changed from oils to watercolor for it’s ease of setup and cleanup. Now I love it because I can achieve the detail I want. This past year I’ve been working on an architectural series in watercolor, pen and ink. I love how the pen and ink allows for sharp contrasts and crisp lines, while the watercolor adds layers of color.
2. What are you working on right now? What’s on your camera/desk/easel or in your studio?
I recently started a drawing of the interior of the Great Hall at Ellis Island. I didn’t plan for it to coincide with Independence Day, but am grateful for the timely reminder of freedom.
3. What practices/activities are most valuable to your creative process?
Nearing the end #The100DayProject, it has been enlightening to see how working a little bit each day has been very beneficial. Not only am I producing more work, but it is sharpening my skills, my drive and my imagination. Working each day has become a priority – I wake up early in order to ensure a little uninterrupted time before the rest of the day’s activities take over.
4. What’s one thing you want to share with others about your art and/or process?
My art forms a visual autobiography. I am passionate about experiences in my life and the people who fill those memories. I enjoy the process of recreating what I see, especially special people and places in my life that I cherish. I love to be surrounded by beauty as well as fond memories and am grateful to be able to share my talents and skills to help others surround themselves with memories they love, too.
No matter if I’m working on a graphite portrait or a detailed architectural drawing, I’ve learned that if you want things “just right”, there are no short cuts. Be patient and don’t rush to finish.
Hmm. I suppose that’s two things. I recently wrote about my process (don’t worry, it’s short).
5. What advice would you give to your young artist self?
I’m afraid this is a bit cliché, but truly it is to be yourself (ooh, I have a blog post on this one, too!). I struggled for a long time to find my “niche.” I became overly concerned with the conceptual or with creating a unique style instead of spending time creating. I tried and failed to create in ways that were outside of my nature that left me feeling disatisfied and my art feeling forced. Frankly, not recognizing or accepting who I was as a representational artist was both discouraging to me as an artist but worse, paralyzed my ability to create for a long time. My advice can be bullet pointed as follows:
• Accept who you are as an artist and a person.
• Ignore those nagging doubts in your head.
• Success will not simply fall into your lap.
• If you really want it, work HARD for it. Really, really hard.
Inspired by Esther?
Want to know when the next sketch is posted?