Twenty years ago, when I was taking art classes, a co-worker of mine in a flower shop handed me an old box of Prismacolor pencils. I was hooked the moment I started using them. I like the feel of the wood and the difference I can get with stroke and pressure. It's a bit like playing piano. Like a musical piece, a picture is built out of intertwining layers.
For reasons I don't fully understand to this day, I quickly dropped out of art to pursue a career in science, eventually (15 years later) earning a PhD in Forest Science with a focus on mycology (the study of fungi). However, the call of colored pencils has always been there.
Many years of academic studies in fungi led me to microscope work. This training allows me to observe the minute details in my subjects. It also taught me that the smallest mushroom is worthy of reverence. I see some sort of personality in everything.
Sometimes it is a momentary judgment: the tenacity of a pansy blooming in January, the abandonment of a dog in the middle of play, the disdain on the face of a cat. I think that's what brought me back to art: wanting to show the beauty, humor, and wonderful detail I see in all the animals and plants around me.
My hope is that when people see my paintings, they too will appreciate the subject the same way.
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