Nature has always been my comfort zone. I had a remarkable high school art teacher, Pauline Ronald, who allowed me to complete art assignments through images of animals that I found as poorly reproduced photographs and old paintings in library books. There was no internet and resources were not great growing up in an Indiana town. I had hoped that I could become a scientific illustrator, which in time I accomplished, along with becoming a medical illustrator. Faithfulness to visual communication through subject and story (think surgical atlases) and in the genre of nature–organism and habitat (think National Geographic) is key with little latitude for “personal expression” in these fields. Mother Nature still loomed and I started out with more literal interpretations of her inhabitants in pen and ink art a favorite medium of mine. I wondered what could I create with more artistic freedom and could I break free of LITERAL exactness.
I discovered the mandala artform10 years ago and made it my own by bringing the message of awareness of biodiversity in animals and plants and an acute attention to conservancy. Was there room for other interests? How could I also make this work? Since childhood I had been enamored with beauty in ornamentation and how world cultures express their spirituality and originality in jewelry and fabric design. Now I am on a romp telling descriptive nature stories in the voice of biodiversity, geography AND decorative design. Influences of Bolivian Chiva bus painters, Native American weaving, and Pakistani Truck art all just for the FUN of it. We each make art for ourselves that moves us from intimate and meaningful moments arising in childhood and follow us into adulthood. It is a treasured journey born out of curiosity and compulsion to create. As artists we hope that others will find our art compelling, relative, and joyful for its expression, intimacy, and authenticity and be worthy of possession in the homes and other cherished spaces of our admirers.
6 orange and yellow peacock butterflies, Aglais io, resting on a yellow zinnia flower boom are shown in this butterfly garden nature mandala (available in my shop). This image is part of a collection of 11 of my nature mandalas sized 30″ x 30″ as framed prints on permanent display on the 4th floor of the Skip Viragh Cancer Building @ Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore MD.
For my readers it is my wish that you too find and embrace your path and tell personal stories through your art in whatever form it takes! I send my best!