Artist’s Statement

Birches in the Shire evokes a wind dancing stand of trees found on the British Isles. My family of origin, the Birkinshaws, were settled there, in Yorkshire, England. I love to revel in the lore of my Celtic roots: therein the mystical, the magical, the primal can be found in forest and field.

In my work, I strive to invite some of that mystery in, so that viewers can weave their own narrative into the images. Self inquiry led me to define my message as deep reverence for the earth and all her creatures, and an abiding concern for the well-being of all.

Symbols found in my watercolor collages include the staircase, the vase, the wing, the tree, the leaf, the arch, the cloud and the source of light. While these images have special meaning for me, I invite viewers to observe for themselves the memories, thoughts and feelings that they personally evoke.

I draw inspiration from several women artists: Judy Chicago, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, Beatrice Wood, Lily Weh. They have boldly explored their internal world and likewise their connection and impact on the external world. I am even more deeply moved by women writers: Arundhati Roy, Joanna Macy, Joan Halifax, Dianne Ackerman, Rebecca Solnit. I dance in the words of the women poets: Mary Oliver, Marge Piercy, Jane Hirschfield, Annie Dillard, Margaret Atwood, Naomi Shihab Nye, Adrienne Rich, Maya Angelou.

I have only recently found my medium of choice, as many artists do, through exploration, through happy accident. I was struggling with the whole replicating process from the life drawing process to the painting. I have discovered that the images captured directly from the model are alive with intention, response and rhythm, while any process of duplication falls flat. I have been led to incorporate those fresh and enlivened images directly into a watercolor landscape through the process of collage. I listen to the story that the figure has to share, and then add in congruent images to create context.

I wear the mantle of exhibiting artist, and my heart sings.

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