Specializing in aquatic life on wood and pet portraits
Acrylics are versatile and buildable. I can add layer after layer on paper, canvas, wood, glass, or brick. Compared to watercolor or oil, I find acrylics much easier and forgiving to work with. It dries fast, which can be a challenge, but that plays into my personality. I am one of those people that want instant gratification, so it’s fun to jump right in, paint brush swinging.
Sustainability is top of mind
I do my best to avoid washing paints down the drain, so I feel good knowing I am not adding toxins into our precious resources.
When I discovered coffee painting, the idea of combining my love for the sea and my love for a good cup of coffee seemed like an obvious decision. I mostly paint with coffee in the winter because I’m cozied up in my studio, soothed by its smell.
How I do it
To make the paint, I use instant espresso and dilute it. The amount of powder and water I use makes the strength for pigments, giving me tones from dark to light in my palette. Applying the mixture to wood or paper acts much like a watercolor or diluted acrylic. Sometimes I accidently dip my brush in the coffee I’m drinking, but that’s okay, it’s all organic!
Supporting Sustainability & Local Outsourcing
I try to avoid situations in which I am not recycling. The wood canvas I use are locally-sourced, often from an old fence that is weathered, revealing tones of grays. Others come from local upcycling centers like Spaeth Heritage House or Habitat for Humanity. I have found scraps of lumber and discarded pieces of boards, repurposing them into one-of-a-kind works of art.
The first wood canvas I ever used was on a big piece of plywood I found on the beach. Transformed into a scene of jellyfish, it was also the first piece I sold in a gallery. It had been on the beach for so long, that even after drying it for months, it dropped particles of sand when it was moved. That is what made it so authentic and representative of what is important to me – being sustainable. I love making something new out of something old because we throw away so much that still has a beautiful story to tell.
The wooden canvases I use when painting pet portraits are made by a local, family-owned business in Salem called American Easel. They create beautiful birchwood panels for me that hug your pet’s portrait perfectly.