Growing up in the wide-open spaces of the fields of Iowa were energy for my creative spirit. I found energy in the big skies with the massive blowing winds that rolled over the soft rolling hills. The repetition of row after row of corn and soybeans bending over those same hills making patterns drew me to the subject of landscapes. I was also amazed by the endless colors and patterns that were generated by the sunsets both in the skies and across the land. My love of the land comes from being part of a large family that emigrated from Ireland for a better life in the states and did that through farming. The land has been good to us.
My early art education came from art classes in school, workshops at Central College in Pella, Iowa and home experimentation with all types of mediums, until finally settling on oils. A few of these experiments involved ironing wax out of a batik project into the family room carpet and exploding tubes of paints on new furniture. My degreed education came from Iowa State University where I obtained a BFA in Graphic Design. While working the technical computer side of design, my desire to be creating in the fine art painting side grew with intensity. With the sudden death of an Aunt and Uncle in 1998, I decided that I needed to do what was my deeper passion which was painting. My painting skills for the most part have been self-taught through experimentation with mediums. For me, oils won out due to their ability to be pliable over longer periods of time and the deep strong colors you’re able to achieve. The longevity of oils and in turn the ability of my work to be around for many years was also a strong draw to these materials as well.
Coming from a big family has always held a sense of pride for me. Searching my Irish heritage I was drawn to Ireland for my first visit about 10 years ago. By traveling the land and visiting the people, a flame inside me was lit that I didn’t even know was out. Since then I’ve spent 6-8 weeks a year on residency walking the coastlines, hiking the mountains, sitting on the rocks and feeling the sea breezes kiss my face. That one on one with the land has brought me to the place I’m at today. While physically on the land I capture my experiences through photography and small watercolors which in turn help me render my passion to oils upon returning to my studio. Each work of art is a physical translation of the feelings delivered to me by the land about myself, my ancestors or the “grit” and sacrifice given by those before me for the land. My hope would be that you are able to feel the breezes and the sense of passion that appear through the bold brush strokes and intense colors.