Sometimes I wonder if I am at heart a conceptual artist. Though I enjoy the tactile qualities of painting or drawing or printmaking, the idea behind each work remains the most important part to me. I look for ways to connect ideas, objects, feelings, and human history.
Even my recent series of paintings of stone monuments is about more than a landscape. The act of making them starts with my relationship with my father, remembering walking through those places with him, sifting through his images, and choosing what to paint. It then turns into a physical act of manipulating watercolor on a wax surface. But while I repeatedly apply and remove pigment, I am also meditating about him, or my experience of the location or the people who built the monuments and lived there. My act of painting/meditation is about connecting with that place and those people.
These days I am in the research and genealogy phase of my installation project “I Am My White Ancestors,” and thus have my head in either a book or on the internet trying to inhale the entire history of Europe. Again, this project grew from a concept that came to me almost fully formed and hasn’t changed much. It is “just” a matter of producing it.
But this process is also filled with a different kind of creativity: asking for help. So far many people have volunteered their time and skills, but I need to raise fund for materials. I will also be collaborating with costume designer Ruth Ann Anderson, photographer Jane Keating, voice over actors, and recording engineers. All this makes it impossible to maintain any illusion of being a solitary artist. The project is bigger than me. I am just the person making sure it happens.