You’ve said it took about ten years for your work to start to match your vision for what you wanted. Tell me about that. When I started I was 33, and I had two little girls at the time. … When you start a practice and you don’t have the time to really apply yourself, it stretches out over a longer period.
For all that time, I was really actively looking out at the world and thinking, “I’m drawn to that, I’m drawn to this. I’d love it if my work were a little more raw or a little more abstract.” But I didn’t have the tools yet because I wasn’t putting the time in to develop the skills to get to where I wanted to get to.
We live in a small town, a thousand people in our town, a little village by the sea. We have a winter arts festival every two years. So way back in the beginning, when I started painting, around 2000, I would do a solo exhibition for this festival every two years. I can mark my own development by looking at each exhibition that I did. In the beginning it was very naive. I just didn’t know how to use the materials that well.
About 2008, I was starting to feel like I was taking the inspiration from our area, the ocean, the bush, the marks on the beach at low tide that the little clams make, and I’m starting to develop a more abstract style and I’m so proud of my exhibition. This lady came in and had a real quick look around, and then she left, but then she came back in.
She said, “I just have to tell you. I’m sorry, I really like your old stuff better than your new stuff.” She liked the more folk art, the little birds dancing through the garden. And here I am thinking my art is becoming more sophisticated. And it was okay. I said to her, “That’s fine! But I can’t stay in one place, I need to move as I’m developing. I need to move towards what I feel is the right way for me to create.” And that process is ongoing, because we’re developing all the time internally. It’s not a static thing.