Thursday, May 21, 2015


Using water as a reference, these paintings serve as an abstract investigation of empathy. There are a number of ways to approach easy questions in the world. "Why is the sky blue?" I could use scientific language to explain how solar photons and ozone interact and how the rods and cones in our eyes interpret those interactions. The simple question might be the wrong question though--forget what you know about photons. On this June day in the garden, observe a warm orange sunrise, a black huff of thunderheads, and the ultraviolet gloaming of a firefly hunt. With the observable world constantly spinning through the spectrum, I am trusting these paintings to help me ask a tougher question. I know we are made mostly of water, but what wet and unobservable thing ripples inside of us, helping us find communion with the people we love? I grew up on Mobile Bay in the rainiest city in the country. My earliest understanding of the power of water had as much to do with tidal jubilees as it had to do with observing the effects of hurricane's storm surge. Water was a source of nourishment as well as a leveling force that, while completely destroying a landscape, also creates an empty space for new development. When I started this body of abstract painting, I was paying special attention to the more subtle conversations about water taking place in Hamlett Dobbins' paintings and Ballet Memphis's ongoing River Project series. I was also studying chemistry and physics and thinking about the nature of particles and waves traveling through water and in the form of light. Once I brought these initial catalysts into my understanding of painting, I had this great feeling of being swept up into something bigger than myself and I was able to paint quickly and intuitively, better understanding how my images fit into a larger cosmos. Art is a great way to connect with people on an emotional level, so empathy is an important tool for any artist. There's a real impulse for me to use my work as a way to understand how a challenging emotion is diffused, transformed or healed. I think that anyone who observes the way waves ripple across a pool will understand the way people in conversation can come together, affect one another, and then move apart in harmony. I have been very pleased with the way that abstraction has allowed me to immerse myself in these harmonic visual relationships.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer 2014 Update

This week I turned 32. I saw two rainbows on two separate afternoons while walking my dog. I saw my name in "the paper" a few times for You can see my name in "the paper" too here in the Commercial Appeal and here in the Flyer. I saw my paintings hanging at Rozelle Warehouse in a show called Unchained II. It was a pretty great display of the power and pleasure of connecting people through art. As if all that art business wasn't enough attention, I had my first ukulele recital with Misti Rae Holton last Wednesday. Ukulele is a really great instrument for socialization and I might even play for people again someday. Probably not the day before I start a new job though--speaking of which . . . Last week I started working as a scholar (which is like a paid intern/dental assistant) at the Church Health Center and on Friday I got to help a little with a dental procedure in the service of a local artist whose work I have always admired. It is really rewarding to see physical evidence that the work I have chosen to do is helping the creative community in a really concrete and personal way. For example, I saw the small but painful problem this artist had been having with two molars and in about an hour I saw the problem resolved through the talents of a great dentist, a very competent and kind assistant, and a few delicately sterilized tools. As we were filling out paperwork, the artist, who didn't know my background, told me that she always thought that dentists were artists too and she told me about how glad she was that the Church Health Center provides dental care to the creative community. I think I may have burst into a glowing explosion of stardust a little at that point because I felt like she had just spoken some magic words that hit me at my core. I can't wait until she comes in for her next appointment. Actually I'm pretty happy to meet all of the patients that come in, so maybe I should say that I can't wait until Monday to see who I will meet and how I can help. I've made a lot of new friends lately and I've been catching up with some great people I haven't seen in years. I am really happy about it--although the pace has been exhausting within the last fortnight. I can't wait to share more of the paintings that I am making in response to these transformative experiences. If you are a new friend or an old buddy and you would like to share a really laid-back studio visit to see some paintings, email me at Just be aware that when I say studio visit, I mean that I will probably feed you popcorn and dump paintings all over my dining room table instead of taking you into a room with pristine white walls and gleaming concrete floors. If you want to buy a painting, or commission a small watercolor, just ask. I promise not to talk about teeth, but I'm probably going to show you some smiles:)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Update: Spring 2014

I am looking forward to participating in two very female art shows this summer. This Art Has Cooties, curated by the amazing Elizabeth Alley, will be at Marshall Arts on June 6. I will be showing some recent watercolor self-portraits. A bunch of other talented women will be showing interesting art too. Please come! Unchained II, organized by the inspiring Mary Jo Karimnia, will be at Rozelle Warehouse on June 13. I will be showing some recent large abstract acrylic paintings and I think some of the collaborative mail art this group of women have been passing around will be in the show too. Please come again! I'm also starting a job as a dental assistant at the Church Health Center. I am still on the alternate list for UTHSC Dental School Class of 2018, but I feel like this opportunity at CHC is going to be really rewarding. I believe strongly in their mission of holistic wellness and in serving the working poor in Memphis. I also believe that this opportunity will help me when I apply for dental school again next fall. If you have ever studied Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, you know that a person must meet basic needs for health and wellness before they can reach the tippy-top of the pyramid to fulfill the need of self-actualization that is achieved through the appreciation of art. I hope that working with the Church Health Center to help take care of mouths in Memphis I can support the bottom of Maslow's pyramid so that the people doing the important art work at the top can be brighter and more productive and be better supported and more easily seen. So that's my basic outline of what I'm thinking about today. What's on your mind?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In the meantime

I interviewed for dental school this week. While we're waiting to hear about how that went, I have some time on my hands. Luckily a friend pointed me to the Getty Virtual Library. You should spend some time there too:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Treatise on Spinning Tops

Loving the illustrations used to depict the spinning tops we've been talking about in Physics this week. They are just really lovely drawings!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reuben Heyday Margolin

I'm taking physics now and the DAT in August. To prepare, I think it's pretty inspiring to look at these mechanisms and think about how the equations we're using apply to this work, which is basically just an arrangement of wheels and strings From the TED site: Reuben Margolin is a kinetic sculptor, crafting beautiful pieces that move in the pattern of raindrops falling and waves combining. Take nine minutes and be mesmerized by his meditative art -- inspired in equal parts by math and nature.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

membrane folding

I saw this video on a science website and it depicts something that we're talking about in my cell biology class, the structure of a cell membrane.  I wanted to show some of my classmates and Dr. Schwartzbach, but while I was trying to get their attention one of them asked if I was going to show them something artsy.  I am still not sure.  What do you think?

Folding Flower from Science News on Vimeo.