Imagine you are in first grade and your artwork has won a local award. Your creativity will be featured in the Atlanta-based Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital’s annual Christmas Notecard contest. In an unprecedented action, the cards sold so well they were offered the following year as a repeat card design. I am that excited first grader and the artwork I created as a fledgling artist is still hanging in the hospital as decoration.
This experience launched my commitment to art as my creative vocation. As luck would have it, I had fantastic art teachers in school and was invited to dabble in darkroom photography, hand building clay, food styling, prop design, costume design, printmaking, and weaving during my middle and high school years. Those were formative opportunities and planted a seed for continuing to explore different mediums of artistic expression that still thrives within me to this day.
Growing up in Savannah was an incredibly inspiring backdrop for the development of a creative life as it is a uniquely aesthetically beautiful place. Much of my color palette still derives from architecture found in the city of Savannah and the abundant southern coastal flora and fauna surrounding it. Additionally, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) gave an interesting creative current to the city. The mentoring and tutoring from a handful of SCAD students and alumni enhanced my creative vision immeasurably I think having an art college so accessible from an early age was helpful and formative because of the exposure to the recruited talent that has truly transformed the city of Savannah for the better.
While in college at the University of Georgia, my major degree was drawing and painting, with a minor degree in art history. Studies abroad included Cuba and Italy.
Both experiences were very broadening creatively. The experience in Cuba taught me much about color, texture, and intuitive painting, which are all importantly incorporated in my current artwork. Italy was a deep dive into the classical components of art making. This experience grew my appreciation for solid drawing skills, the masters and how they trained, and my affinity for the Florentine color palette. Both study abroad sojourns inspired a love of travel and the anticipation of exciting fresh experiences to blend with innovative inspiration.
With undergraduate degrees behind me, I still yearned to learn. I enrolled in the Parsons School of Design and completed a degree in fashion studies. While in New York I interned directly under both Tory Burch and Ralph Lauren. I still value both of those amazing experiences. Engaging in the fashion industry gave insights into how to build a cohesive collection of art or creative work under a brand identity. It taught me how to work under another brand’s standards and vision, things that are very important to the creative work I am doing today for other companies.
After graduating, marrying, and relocating to Greenville, South Carolina, I dabbled in jewelry design and painting. After attempting to develop product on my own, I quickly realized that I did not have the correct sales roles in place to sell through on that product. This led me to explore brand collaborations and the wonderful merging of my fashion industry training background with my eager artistic creativity.
Eventually collaborations came with the brand Kentwool, a Greenville-based merino wool sock manufacturer. I am currently their creative director and establish all of the color choices used for their sock line as well as assist the Kentwool brand’s creative positioning. Learning the intricacies of hosiery design, visiting and touring U.S.-based hosiery factories (pre-pandemic), and understanding the dyeing process for merino wool (it is more tricky than one might expect), have all been the best way to weave my technical design skills with my creative skill set.
My artwork is also featured in textile patterns for Prodoh, a Greenville-based children’s outdoor clothing company. The mission of the brand is to encourage children to get outside and play. As a mother of two I appreciate and enthusiastically endorse this focus on the value of getting outdoors and into the natural world. The motifs I have developed for Prodoh’s textiles are all centered around a nautical natural bent with sharks’ teeth, palm branches, and fish. It has been truly enjoyable to develop designs that involve a dash of whimsy and decidedly playful for these children’s brand designs.
The coming year, 2021, will find me continuing brand collaborations with two Spanish-based companies, including a high-end leather shoe company and a fine jewelry boutique company. I am thankful for the companies that have been open to working together creatively. I think more industries and businesses could benefit from collaborating creatively with artists. Personally, I find collaborations really fun and an interesting way to explore creativity. They are an arm of my business that I hope to continue to grow in the future.
My husband and I are currently living abroad in Spain with our two children who are immersed in Spanish classes and enjoying various art projects with me in my studio. We moved here as my husband is overseeing operations for a rose greenhouse. Roses have inspired artists for centuries and my art has included many floral compositions, especially since moving to Spain. I have found there is a very broad appeal for collecting florals. Creating art with this theme has been a fun creative exploration to enjoy while living here.
One day I took out an old paint palette and patiently whitewashed it. Then I began snipping out pieces from previous paint palettes and assembling the variety of colors into a quite beautiful bouquet. The result was very layered, textual, dimensional and unlike any other I have yet seen. This is something I am always striving for as a creative.
Developing these floral paintings has been a delight.
We are renting a very lovely country home here in Spain. Adjacent to it is a simply charming and spacious studio that in its previous life was enjoyed by our property owner for dabbling creatively. After learning that I was an artist, this inviting space was graciously offered to me. Tall vaulted ceilings created out of warm wood welcoming natural diffused sunlight that streams through the windows inspires me wonderfully. European antiques and the color hues in the studio have woven their way into my work celebrating the cultural vibrancy of Spain with pistachio, rose, gold, and lapis for my compositions.
In many ways this studio is exactly what I would choose if I could put together my ideal atelier. The multiple work surfaces, a few daybeds for lounging to leaf through numerous architectural and art books, collected antiques alongside architectural elements as visual catalysts, all of this providing imaginative inspiration in a joyful atmosphere for absorbing the fresh perspective this space encourages. My day usually begins with a cup of tea while reading to center myself before jumping into creating. The size of the studio is large enough to allow me to spread out and easily move from one project to another. Every day’s whimsy is my favorite activity of being an inspired artist.
Not knowing how long our family will remain in Spain prompts me to daily relish the nurturing and beautiful environment of this studio as well as the pastoral landscapes and ancient architecture of this country.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” — Picasso
It is so interesting to me that something here half a world away can feel so much like the studio of my dreams. This place is a bit like an intangible. I wanted it, but would not have even known how to take a pen to paper to develop this design and express all the charm and beauty that infuses this artistically aesthetic place. And yet it is just what I have found here in my Spanish studio, a place of calm, warmth, and creativity that magically spills forth.