My current series of paintings depicts artisans at work in traditional crafts, focusing on their skilled hands at their task. The skills used in traditional vocations are passed from person to person, and honed with years of practice and repetition. This repetitive practice of working by hand has an intrinsic beauty which can’t be found in mechanical reproduction. As I paint these people, who are my acquaintances, friends, and family, I find myself drawing on memories of people who gave me a lifelong interest in craft: my grandmother knitting, a woodworking friend who let me sit in his shop while he made me dollhouse furniture, my mother teaching me to sew, my husband asking me to help design a stained glass piece.
I find unexpected beauty in mundane, fleeting moments or scenes. It’s like an artistic treasure hunt, and I hope that my delight in these moments shines through the painting. The idea of painting portraits of artisans at work came as a natural step in my interest in depicting the unnoticed and commonplace. I am captivated by the intimate and revealing moments that happen when I observe people absorbed in making something with long-honed ability and passion for their work. I ask permission to take photos and then I wait quietly until my subject forgets I am there and becomes lost in the work. When I review the resulting pictures, I am struck by the graceful and interesting shapes that these craftspeople make with their hands, without any conscious posing. My work reflects my personal connection to the process of creativity as revealed in many forms.