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Artist's Statement
As I grew up in the forested mountains of Western North Carolina and roamed in the heart of these ancient lands, I became imbued with the mystical nature of this place.  Like the ancestral native Cherokee people, I resonated and harmonized with this quality.  My Father's people came from the lush banks of the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee and my interest in the native world was ignited at a young age.

This interest combined with God-given artistic talent propelled me to let the instinctual intelligence of nature's arrangement speak to me clearly.  I have been an artist since I hit the planet and I come from a long line of artists.  I am a 4th generation artist through my Mother, Joan; my Grandmother, Gertrude; and my Great Grandmother, Lily May.  I am an unconventionally educated artist, that is, mostly self taught by communing with nature and animals.

The nature images and animals often find their way into my artwork.  I distill elemental atmospheric qualities into my work by literally painting outside.  Often, I let the canvas enjoy a Summer shower to soften paint glazes and slow drying, or let the Sun enliven the paint to dry quickly with defined edges.  The elements encourage the paint to bead and run at it's own will.  Sometimes the backgrounds provide a perfect habitat for a fox or and owl or perhaps one of our native species of Luna moth.  Usually I can see the creature reveal itself in the painting before my mind tries to impose an image of what I think I am supposed to be painting.  Other times, the simplicity of just the atmospheric qualities of the day create an uncomplicated and transparent image from my insight, resulting in a contemporary abstract work of art.

I discovered through gilding (applying gold & silver metal leaf to canvas) that I could create a burnished sheet of reflective light as the base of a painting.  The gold of the sunlight and the silver of the moonlight was intoxicating to me - almost magical - and I desired to shape it.  The leafing technique is done in the traditional way: applying size (a special kind of glue) to canvas and affixing thin sheets of hammered gold and silver metal.  Then I paint on as many as a dozen layers of acrylic glaze.  When those layers are dry, I apply multiple layers of oil paint to deepen colors and enhance richness.  Finally, I learned how to finesse a technique to attain the beautiful light quality I desired.  The light provides a fit backdrop for all the beauty of the sky, earth, water and plants- and especially the creatures that share this awesome realm with us.

My latest venture is fabricating jewelry from my original artwork and hand enhancing each piece with gold and silver leaf.  By mixing gold, silver and copper components, I create easy to wear pendants combined with semiprecious gemstones such as turquoise, carnelian and malachite.  Of course, the foxes, bears and owls wend their way into the pieces to be worn close to your heart.  Maybe a miniature version of your totem spirit animal can accompany you on your daily journeys out in the world and enhance your sense of style too!