ASL Interpreter & Artist
Annie painting a Philippine disaster relief benefit donation piece
Describe the work or activity that you are passionate about:
I have been involved in many different mediums of art most of my life. My mom taught me to sew, and there was a time that I would see her create without patterns. That’s became a “template for an attitude” that I apply today. I look at other art, other vistas and develop ideas; often I am inspired from photographs. I am a writer, have a self-published book of poetry and have written short stories, journals and a very neglected blog.
Annie, 2 years old
Artistically, I have worked with wood carving, sculpting jewelry, pottery, glass, photography, found objects and, within the past 4 years, mostly, I have worked with the medium of pastels or oil pastels. Art is always an invention of patterns or methods or work-arounds; I owe this to Mom.
A few of of my other other hobbies are gardening, dancing (ballroom, swing etc.) and biking.
Annie in 1999, 50 mile cycling fundraiser in Florida
How do you feel when you are engaged in it?
I feel peaceful and connected to a “creative zone”. I do not (maybe I cannot) produce art all the time; I have surges of production and then times when I have no interest. I am compelled to make art, so, when I feel like I must do it, I go “whole hog”. I do note when times are more stressful, with art I escape, and (like Calgon), it “takes me away.”
How does it fill your well, nourish you, or enhance your life?
I feel proud of an accomplishment. Nothing-becoming-something is a powerful feeling. I have a thought that takes shape, and I play with whatever elements of inspiration that I have, and when done, it feeds me. I LOVE color and am not a person who was ever well-fit in apartment living, due to the constrainment of white walls. When I bought my current residence, I had a painter (friend) start adding color immediately. I’ll never forget coming home and he was a fast worker, with at least one wall already painted in the most perfect soft green color. I walked in and I started crying; he was worried he had done something wrong. I was speechless and in tears, and when I found words, I assured him: “I am alright. It’s beautiful, so beautiful. I have COLOR!” I still feel THAT emotional when I am producing colorful art.
What aspect(s) of yourself does it allow you to express?
From an early age, I would try and figure out shapes and patterns in nature and draw them. My childhood bedroom was upstairs, and out that window was a majestic oak. I don’t know how many times I drew the limbs and leaves, just figuring out what came first and what came next, the flow and growth and balance and the ways the limbs split off fascinated me. Art allows me to express my visual curiosity. Sometimes, it’s with photography, as I photograph the play of shadows and light, then I take some of those pictures and reproduce them into art.
How has this work affected or changed your life?
I am adding another dimension to my life. I enjoy having art around me and painting or photography, sculpting or glass work – it settles me. I also like to give-back and I’ve donated art to auctions and raffles, so my artwork has a “life of their own” in charity, out there. I had a long hiatus of not doing anything artistic, and when I compare that time to now, I am more proud of myself for opening the floodgates and directing inspiration. I look at everything with a more analytical and critical artist eye when I am doing art. Adding interest in life is a way to never be bored!
How does it inform your interpreting?
Because producing art settles my mind, it improves my focus. The more I can give myself to the process of interpreting, without distraction,the more I am in the moment. Nuances are important in interpreting and the more I become analytical visually for art – the nuances of my work, being analytical – are more easily noted.
Why do you do this work? What’s your motivation for doing it?
How could I NOT do this? Honestly, I feel this is in my blood. I was always doing art since elementary school. A new motivation, ironically, happened while interpreting. While interpreting K-12, I interpreted art classes. Content-wise, the instructor shows what the new project is – and the rest of the day (maybe even the next week) is spent with out instruction, leaving an interpreter quite available to choose what do do with their time. I always had permission to do what that class project was – and – it was a great role model for some of the under-motivated kids to see an adult get their hands dirty and get in there. THIS was my re-motivation. I didn’t always have a finished project, but art classes often encouraged various methods and mediums and, for me it “blew the walls off my box”, and my attitude changed to “I CAN”. My motivation today, is to grow as an artist and maybe make a name for myself? Hey, a girl can dream!
Annie dancing in 2012
Which of your values does it represent?
I have always had a STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES value. This is why I am an artist. I also value being industrious. I have seen coastal plein art (working outdoors) and it fulfills my desire to be retired and working with the ocean in view. That is the very best of being industrious and productive.
What advice do you have for someone just beginning to align their work with their heart?
DO it. Take classes in things that interest you. There are free workshops, offered by art-supply businesses and it’s an easy way to get your feet wet. Even though not all the methods I learned at free workshops were things I was interested in, I had the opportunity to try. One of my friends says she can’t draw, but she took a class that taught her to do art with layers of paper. Her work is beautiful, and she surprised herself what she could do, even with a “I Can’t Draw” attitude!