The Worlds Inside Us is my newest collection of evocative original paintings for sale.
Each small, beautifully textured acrylic painting in this collection wanders the rolling inner landscapes of emotion. Painted purely from my imagination, the process of experimental, dynamic mark-making and slow, thoughtful layering resulted in intuitive, emotional art that captures the complex essence of a feeling. The faces that emerged radiate a unique, mystical quality that I hope transports you to a familiar wilderness and leaves you feeling both seen and full of wonder.
Read on to learn about the inspiration, process, and poetry behind the artwork or click here to view the complete collection.
These paintings were created in the strange spring of 2021 to explore the underworld of complex emotion where there is endless room for possibilities and contradictions as we feel our way into understanding our big and small places in the universe. I painted them as a way to navigate uncharted personal and collective anxiety, depression, joy, pleasure, love, longing, and countless other in-between feelings and I hope these creative maps are as healing to you in the viewing as they were for me in the making.
I am often inspired to paint the beautiful nature external to me, but the acute novelty and intensity of the feelings I encountered inspired me to create art that attempted to personify and capture their complex, fleeting qualities. The entire artistic process and resulting image was an attempt to try to see and understand these emotions.
The unplanned, intuitive approach I used to create this collection allowed me to express raw emotional honesty that was both surprising and revealing in many ways; I learned more about my own inner landscape with each color and stroke, often not realizing the intensity of a particular emotion I was wading through until after I saw what I had painted.
Artist Georgia O’Keeffe wrote about the revealing nature of any creative work, and I see this painting collection as an act of discovery anchored in this type of curiosity.
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant—there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you…” -Georgia O’Keeffe
I began each painting by making experimental, abstract marks with brushes, crumpled cardboard, palette knives, and other various tools in whatever colors I was drawn to at the moment. I had no ideas about what I wanted it to look like beforehand and it was very freeing and to sit down and just create without my usual bout of careful planning. After several layers and days of pure abstraction, I rotated the surface over and over again until I saw a partial or full face in the marks and began slowly refining it (I learned this technique from artist Vanessa Lemen and am incredibly thankful for her generous insights from the painting classes I’ve taken over the last few years).
For many of the smaller paintings on paper, I used my breath to move gold ink across the surface in addition to the paint as an added uncontrolled element because emotions are so closely intertwined with our breathing. In these ways, the invisible steps of the process were crucial to what emerged visually, which is the way emotions behave inside us; the swirling, invisible, powerful inner forces inevitably inform what can be seen on the surface.
This body of artwork formed primarily on small pieces of cold-press paper and gesso board, allowing me to express large, abstract emotions on a contained surface. The combination of dynamic marks and thoughtful discovery allowed artwork to emerge that was completely unique and intuitive, and was a spontaneous exercise in trust that I would be able to express whatever truth was there for me in those moments of quiet creation. The faces that finally emerged from the rich, jewel-toned pigments are instruments meant to carry the wisdom, beauty, and truth of each emotion into their future homes.
The very first face that blossomed to begin this collection was “Our Hands are Blistered Blooms.” When the emotive, ethereal face slowly emerged from deep blue and electric pink and red pigments like an underwater volcano, it was startling to realize just how many unfamiliar shades of grief, love, and longing I had been wading through. Creating then seeing a visual representation on a contained surface helped me to conceptualize and approach these feelings and their weighty wisdom without becoming overwhelmed by them.
Making room for contradictions and complexity has been a major theme in my mind over the last few years. Like many children, somewhere along the way I internalized the unhelpful message that if I’m not feeling good and happy, then I must be bad or doing something wrong. As I’ve interacted with ‘negative’ emotions, as all humans must, I’ve had to unpack the shame that accompanies them. These paintings are part of giving myself permission to feel and express heavy or contradicting feelings without thinking there must be something terrible about myself, transforming them into something that I want to look at and learn about rather than hide and run away from.
All of these paintings are self-portraits in a way; each composition demonstrates the intricate, ordered chaos that may lie beneath an enigmatic or emotional facial expression. As I looked at the completed collection, I realized that all the faces were disembodied like masks. The fact that I would paint masks in trying to express something about feelings then feel hesitant to share them at all taught me a lot about myself and how uncomfortable I am revealing my emotions when they reach a certain level of perceived heaviness.
Your interaction with my artwork is a continuation of the creative process that I am endlessly intrigued by. It is thrilling and fascinating to hear the insights from viewers who engage with my work, and I welcome all thoughts and feedback through email, instagram, or whatever digital platform you enjoy. Here are a few considerations I think this emotional artwork may provoke, but it is ultimately a surprise and mystery how and why a particular piece might move you and what you may learn about yourself from that movement.
"We are Hostess and Guest" is a painting about the multitudes of contradicting worlds and states that live inside us and the masks we wear to reveal and conceal our emotions. This face, along with the others in this collection, invites you to contemplate the ways and reasons you mask, reveal, and translate your feelings. How and why do you express your emotions?
The movement in many of these paintings remind me of memories, thoughts, and emotions streaming through a mind. I tried to explore and capture the transportive essence of thoughts and feelings with “We are Freedom and Flight,” and I hope it hints at our expansive condition and invites you to contemplate the relationship between emotion and thought. Which comes first? Where do they live in your body? How can you change what you habitually think and feel?
"Creatures, captives, colors" is one of my favorite paintings from this emotive new collection. I painted it to explore the colorful, complex feelings of precarious contentment and terrifying freedom. It's becoming more clear to me as time goes by how many contradictory states can exist in a person at the same time and this captive/free feeling is especially interesting to me. What conditions, people, or even objects make you feel both trapped and free?
Many words evolved alongside the painted poetry; here are the two poems I used to anchor this collection.
View the video of each or scroll down to read them and view the artwork.
Our hearts are tangled tides
Caverns, cauldrons, cradles
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting my work. Creating this art and sharing it with you is an immense honor.