At my gallery talk at Highfield Hall last Sunday, someone asked who my biggest influences are as an artist. Well, naturally my mind first went blank. But since the whole theme of my talk and show was how my paintings area collaboration with my father since I use his research photos as reference, I said "My parents, they were the biggest influence on my artwork." I really couldn't remember the name of any other artist or thinker or friend or anything. I promised to think about it more and come up with a better answer for future talks.
My mother was a constant artist. There was never a time it seemed when she wasn't involved in some sort of art making. Her later years were a furious concentration of acrylic painting and pastel drawing.she loved working outdoors and used a traveling easel Dad had fashioned for her. While I was growing up she taught us ceramics, printmaking, jewelry enameling, drawing, painting, sculpture, rug hooking, batik inch, papier-mâché puppet making. The house was awash in unfinished projects. It was a shock to me when my brand new husband moved into my house in Venice Beach, CA and expected things to be picked up. I'm proud to say that I have now learned to be considerate of others and do clean up. I also have a studio away from home, which Mum never had.
But here is the thing. She communicated such a love of making art and the magic of creating new worlds that it seemed to be the most wonderful activity I could imagine. And my Dad, he gave me permission to follow an idea and trust where the path would lead, no matter how unexpected the route. So thanks for that.
As for artist influences, I remembered two people: the painter John Marin and my dear friend and visionary Betsy Damon. I'm sure there are more.