Following an art education trip to the culturally rich region of Oaxaca, Mexico, I decided to combine my love of traveling and teaching and pursue a career in International Education.
While living abroad for seventeen years in Mali, Tunisia, Serbia, India, South Korea, and China, I have embraced opportunities to become familiar with the people and their traditions in these and many other countries.
I seek to document and preserve enduring images of traditional life through art, photography, online travelogues, and video footage. I am particularly attracted to traditional clothing and jewelry, aware that these are important details that reveal their villages or ethnic identities.
Elderly people are a notable favorite, as their worn faces beg a story to be told. While with the person, I focus on emotive qualities and establishing a connection. In my paintings, these details are carefully portrayed and often elicit memories in people familiar with these regions. With such a vastly expanded global audience, my images and documentation can now help educate others and put a real and personal face on these countries.
My focus of attention is on getting the eyes just right, as they reveal so much about a person and are the windows to the soul. I try to communicate the thoughts and feelings of the individual, leaving room for the observer to join in our “conversation.”
After choosing the subject from my collection of digital photos and recalling attached experiences, I then decide on the appropriate media. Color pencils on toned paper works well for depicting fine details; oil pastels for bold colors; soft pastels for achieving dramatic, smooth textures. I limit my watercolor materials to a small palette of colors and two brushes. By patiently layering colors, no matter what the medium, I achieve a translucency that reveals interplay of light and shadows. My artwork is a harmonious blend of a meticulous attention to detail and spontaneity.
I feel compelled to document and preserve these images of traditional life before they are gone. They are a record of unique cultures that should not be forgotten. The simple dignity of these people’s lives, the values they place on family, community, hard work, honesty and respect should motivate us to reassess our own values.
Exhibit is on display at the University Hospital in the J5/1 Corridor on the 1st floor. Parking is available in the hospital ramp for a fee.