I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design from the University of Alberta in 1993. I’ve lived and worked in Tokyo, Japan, London, U.K. and Galway, Ireland as an adult educator and software trainer.
While working with independently housed seniors (average age 86) in an Alberta Health Services funded demonstration project (managing communications, teaching computer skills and facilitating an art club), I started using GoogleMaps StreetView to take seniors on a “virtual walk” of their old neighbourhoods which allowed them to re-discover favourite places and freely travel the world. In the art club, I encouraged everyone to use their creativity without judgement and despite cognitive, visual and mobility impairments. Enabling the joy of discovery and creativity pushed me back towards my first love of painting.
Using StreetView as a tool to help me overcome my insecurities, the digital eye allows for a detached, unemotional viewpoint versus the social connection that is created when visiting the location to capture photographs, sketches or paint. The images snapped from StreetView, allow me to create slightly idealized, fairytale modern landscapes reminiscent of Lawren Harris’s ‘Toronto House’ series. While not intending to be sentimental, the locations are often of buildings that might not have much time left. Often I don’t visit the site of the paintings until they are complete, which provides a surreal experience of both intimate knowledge and discovery of the unknown for both artist and viewer. These buildings capture the living history of Albertan towns and cities.
After many years of artistic block, anxiety and deep insecurity, it is this series that has encouraged me to begin painting again. By using the digital tool to overcome personal hurdles, I hope my paintings create a stronger sense of Albertan identity through discussion that captures the stories and importance of the architecture that built our province.
As a middle aged, ‘emerging artist,’ I am open to any and all opportunities to learn and grow as an artist and the business of art.