I continue to celebrate life each day through my art.
My working process is intuitive and instinctive. Visual art comes naturally to me, as an effective way to express myself after surviving a coma and 20+ surgeries. I tend to work with a lot of layering and mixed media materials - anything from tissue paper to fabric, buttons, papers, or toilet paper (I created much art in hospitals and was very limited with materials!). The process really depends on what I am sensing within. I love playing with textures, colors and shapes and allowing them to form the sadness, frustration, joy, or whatever inspiration I am feeling at that moment.
For many of my mixed media collages, I start by covering the entire canvas with magazine pictures. I don't mind if certain layers are not seen in the final picture. It's the process that matters to me. Then I cover the canvas with clear gesso or matte medium, and after that, it's a free-for-all - anything goes, such as tissue paper, decoupage napkins, doilies and anything I can get my hands on.
When I feel like I've done enough layering, the meaning behind the piece usually emerges. Then I paint whimsical shapes with a paintbrush and acrylics. Sometimes I use a brayer for added background colors. I may embellish the finished piece with anything from buttons, charms, lace, old scraps of clothes, my mother's vintage jewelry, clay, letters cut out from magazines, and puff-paint. My working process has been described as “obsessive in a good way.” When I work, I am under its spell, working for hours and feeling such a warm feeling in my whole body when it is completed.
Most importantly, I paint whatever I feel from the heart. I love experimenting with acrylics, painting my world of trees, birds, flight, girls dancing, and tear drops. These are recurrent symbols that appear in my paintings. I've also experimented with altering books (ah, the wonders of gesso!), using mixed media techniques. I found art accidentally on my way to healing physically, emotionally and spiritually and have learned that it is one of the most rewarding, forgiving, beautiful ways to find my way through the darkness and into the light.
I have trained all of my life for musical theatre and two days before I fell into a coma, I was about to send my acceptance letter to one of the top musical theatre colleges in the country. With those hopes put on hold, I am fortunate that I can still express my creative spirit through art, which has positively changed my life. I feel strongly that other people would be inspired by my story.