I create art in many different mediums, watercolors have always been my favorite. Before I even considered painting them myself, I was always drawn to the quality of light, the diaphanous nature of watercolor painting. It’s like poetry. With a few brush strokes, you can catch just the right melancholy expression of mist, or the vast emptiness of a sky at sunset. Painted onto wet paper and it turns into the soft focus of a shadowy forest. Painted on to dry and the paint skips along the paper, leaving the perfect white flecks showing through mimicking the glittery sun on the surface of water.

And unlike every other medium I’ve used, painting in watercolor is equal parts collaboration and surprise. You do not tell it what to do. You do not point your color-loaded brush and just wait for the expected result to occur. Instead you work with the watercolor, coaxing the colors where you want them to go. And yet you have to remain flexible. It may take many layers. Or in the next brush stroke you may put down too much water and remove color. You have to work with the flow of water, learning what feels like too much, or not enough. All by trial and error. It is never turns out exactly as I expected to. There is always an element in each watercolor painting that’s a complete surprise to me.


My creative process is deeply rooted in exploring and connecting to the world around me. I’m constantly absorbing the color, shapes and texures I see. Then later on, sometimes in completely unexpected ways, these little bits of interesting flotsam and jetsom I’ve filed away come drifting back to me. Memories of the young fern I saw unfurling in the first days of May mingles with my memory of the pipevine swallowtail, just moments out of his cocoon, opening his wings on a warm August afternoon. Both were brand new to the world. Both were unfolding to catch the sunlight. Different species, different lifeforms, but both opening to be part of world, driven by something deeper to unfurl and find the light.

Later, when I was painting a seashell, both of those images — and the feelings that went with them — came back to me. And instead of painting the cream and bone colors of the inner spiral of the seashell, I found myself adding in the lines of the fern leaves. The earth tones began to edge towards orange, the shadows took on a blue hue. The spiraling became the creative process itself, slow but steady transformation, the soul-level pull to open up. I completely forgot I was painting a shell! Instead something other image was asking to be brought into the world. I listened and let those colors and forms flow from my brush. My role as artist is sometimes the observer, sometimes the creator…. But I’m reminded all the time that sometimes my most important role is to be the clear channel. Not to try to control the art, or stop if it’s not unfolding the way I believe it should. But to stay open, like a portal, and let the creation flow through.