As a child I loved to draw and paint, but for twenty years my creative process went in the direction of stagecraft -- acting and dance. At the University of California, I majored in Theater Arts and minored in Religious Studies. At Sonoma State University I earned a California lifetime teaching credential and a Master of Arts degree in Education. My professional career included 25 years of teaching elementary school.
In 1978 I became a student of Avatar Adi Da Samraj, and since that time have engaged a serious life of study and devotional practice. One of the subjects I learned about from Adi Da was the significance of Sacred art in the East and West. My interest in art was finally given expression in 1984, when Adi Da invited me to paint a miniature scene on a pendant as a gift for a member of his family. Painting on small surfaces was experimental at first, but I totally loved doing it, and one project led to many.
Avatar Adi Da’s Instruction and Blessing were generously offered to me for several years of this service, and the opportunity to make art for my Beloved Spiritual Master was wonderful. It was also challenging, because I had absolutely no training, and Adi Da’s aesthetic standards were highly refined. I became acutely aware of how much there was to learn, and how making fine art is both a gift and an intensive practice that requires real commitment to going beyond one’s limits.
I practiced drawing and painting by making “free renderings” of Japanese woodblocks and copying the work of well-known contemporary artists including Marc Chagall, Georgia O’Keefe, Michael Parks and Paul Gauguin, the paintings of Australian Aboriginal artists, and Eastern Sacred images such as those of B.G. Sharma. It was a process of learning by using the apprenticeship method -- copying masterworks to develop skill in rendering and in sensitivity to color, form and composition.
In 1995, while on a retreat on Naitauba Island, Fiji, I offered a deeply felt prayer that I would be able to make beautiful works of art. Although I wasn’t satisfied with many of these early compositions, I consigned the truly terrible work to the trash can, moved beyond my frustration and disappointment, and kept painting.
Over the years, I took time to attend two figure painting and drawing workshops, one in 2001 with Frank Covino and one in 2017 with Anthony Ryder. I was grateful to learn from them about technique, tools and ways of seeing. As I gained confidence, I started participating in exhibitions and art shows. Then at some point in the late 1990’s, I began to make figurative artwork that – amazingly – people appreciated and valued enough to display in their homes and offices and I felt that my prayer was being answered.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic is making it difficult for people to gather in groups and art shows are not happening, I have accepted that for now, the Internet is the way to offer my work in the world.