I moved from Minneapolis to Portland in 2003. The decision to come to Portland was not a planned one -- I closed my eyes and picked a spot on a map. For 10 years, I saw myself as a Midwesterner living and working in the Pacific Northwest, but when I started teaching that view began to change. Currently, I am one of the art teachers at Wilson High School, and through teaching, I began to see myself as part of the Portland community.
Portland is a city with many green spaces, and the contrast between its architectural and natural components intrigues me. Often when I am drawing on-site, I construct narratives inspired by the place I am capturing in my sketchbook. As I develop this series of vignettes, I think about our urban landscape and the possible stories that may unfold.
I begin by drawing on-site in my sketchbook using pencil. In the studio, I ink the drawing, expose the drawing onto a screen, and print it. Then, I select a print and add watercolor to create a one of a kind image. I choose to screenprint my drawing for several reasons. First, the process removes unnecessary lines present in the initial sketchbook drawing. When I draw, I sketch out multiple lines in order to find the line I want for the image. When I expose the drawing onto a screen, I eliminate the unnecessary sketched lines of the composition. Second, I can mix the exact color and transparency of ink that I envision for the image. I see an overarching color in the place I am drawing in my sketchbook, and I mix that color for the print. Third, I feel free to take creative risks with the watercolor application because I print multiples of the same image. Prior to working this way, I felt anxious as I got close to finishing a painting, for fear of making a mistake. I found that I was choosing safe creative decisions instead of experimenting with color and technique. Because I have multiple prints of the same image, I feel free to experiment with watercolor and continue to grow as a painter.