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I miss eating school paste. The original brands added clove or spearmint oil as an insect repellent and mold retardant. I mention this because I loved to create torn paper collages as a child and eating paste and tearing paper went hand in hand. The paste never tasted as good as it smelled. Over and over I was seduced by that smell and over and over I cringed with disappointment.
Little Cheryl would sit for hours in school or church, with her vaselined elbows and knees, one third of her thoughts present and two thirds of them in a fantastical world far, far away. As early as 4, she didn’t have to close her eyes to make the images dance. Staring straight ahead, eyes glued, she appeared to absorb all the speaker had to say, but with her little ankles crossed and her thick, Royal Crown softened, pig tails sticking out of her head, her imagination would run wild. There were never any telltale signs that she had escaped the room, only an infrequent and slight twitching of her right-hand fingers would ever give her away.
Much to her parent’s chagrin, she had great difficulty keeping the images from spilling out of her head and into the margins of her school work, finding themselves inked to the palm of her hand, running up her thin wrist and traveling as far as her reach would take her. They often bled onto the walls of her bedroom and out into the upstairs hall. There never seemed to be enough surface to cover and never a scarcity of ideas.
My mother was a science teacher and my father a real estate broker. Secretly, they themselves were frustrated, closet artists. Everything we did as a family had some creative bent. My mother was known for her cream cheese frosted Easter Hams and my father was a photographer. Parents lined up to have him take pictures of their children because he flocked colorful baby clothes and other embellishments onto the photos. There was no way that I wasn’t going grow up without paint flowing through my veins and a hankering for orange clouds in a purple sky.
Often, I was a source of worry for my parents, but at an early age, they began providing me with creative outlets for my passions. My father would hunt squirrels, pheasant, and quail and my mother and I would make hats from the stolen, iridescent feathers. I was the only little girl in Kindergarten with a real squirrel tail on her poodle skirt.
And so it began…..
Probably, I am best known for my large-scale public art. Many moons ago, I traded the school paste and tissue paper for bright shards of stained glass and my mosaics grace the walls and floors of public venues all along the east coast.
I think what I love the most about creating large scale work is the opportunity to work with so many diverse communities. All ages and backgrounds brainstorm over their historical imaginings and they trust me to transform all their ideas into visual accounts.
It is titillating to weave their recollections and my ideas into art that leaves them with a new memory that will last for years.
My personal work exudes my passion for painting portraits. Often, I have been encouraged to do landscapes or abstracts, but I always return to rich skin tones and lively eyes. The large-scale ethic still creeps into my spirit. The tendency to sketch in margins or the palm of my hand still invade my creativity. Meanwhile I still tend to gravitate to an unblemished wall and a spoonful of paste.
Please view my portfolio in order to share in my passion.