I am a contemporary painter living and working in rural New Hampshire, where I live with my husband and two sons. As a child and an adult, I have lived on all three coasts and in between, and traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Now I live in a small New England town. Much of the reason that I live where I live, see what I see, and think about what I think about, is because I am a parent. Being a parent has influenced my work by influencing the choices I have made about where and how to live. These choices, in turn, present different roads for my artwork and for my professional career as an artist than would be the case if I did not have children. Many of my artist colleagues are also artist-mothers whose situations are similar to my own. We are finding ways to work together to create opportunities for ourselves well outside of the usual “art world” venues.
Painting is an essential part of who I am, and I have continued to develop my work, exhibit, and sell whenever possible. I began painting in oils in college and continued until my first pregnancy, when I switched to acrylics. This was the first example of the many times that parenthood and art needed to find new ways to coexist in my life!
As a parent, I am always doing more than one thing at a time, and as an artist, I see no reason to limit myself to only one style or way of working. Most of my work is not explicitly on the subject of parenthood or reproduction. But it shows up again and again in different ways and in different series. Sometimes it’s visceral—like Lupa, a wolf with two babies. The painting is on loose canvas, nailed to the wall, with slashes from her claws. Sometimes it’s joyous and chaotic—like Strong Nuclear Force, a dancing woman with four legs and a baby under each arm. Some are mysterious—like Inside, Mothers Are Dancing, which hints at the nature of mothers together. Some are more remote—even elegiac, like The Minivan Series.
It’s always been important to me as a parent to set an example for my boys of what women really are—separate individuals with their own lives, their own work, their own dreams, their own futures—not just the mothers who take care of them. At the same time, raising my children is all-consuming and wonderful. As my boys grow up, what they need from me grows and changes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that reflected in my work.
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