In 2005, I began taking Cherokee Language classes for personal enrichment. I knew I was of Cherokee Indian descent, and wanted to learn more about this part of my ancestry. I simply thought it would be fun. Little did I know, it would change my artistic path forever. In my first lesson, it became clear to me that I would somehow use this language in my art.
As I attempted to learn the Cherokee language, I had difficulty memorizing the new words and had an especially hard time memorizing the unique syllabary. It uses symbols that represent syllables. Each of the 85 letter characters in Cherokee represents a unique sound of the soft and flowing language. I eventually found that when I used the title of my paintings to describe the subject, I could remember the words. I started with merely naming what was simply portrayed in the painting. I am working my way toward telling a story with the painting and passing on the Cherokee stories, myths and history that I have learned.
In the early fall of 2014, I decided to start taking voice lessons from a talented friend. I've always wanted to sing, but felt that wasn't my natural talent. In my Cherokee studies, I had collected the Cherokee lyrics to songs. It was common for them to take a common hymn tune and put their own words to it. So I gave myself the challenge of learning to sing in Cherokee. Again, this became a pivital point in my art
In 2004, I made Princeton, Kentucky my home. After taking every art class in high school, I then went to and graduated from commercial art school. My real education came from the many jobs I've held in creative fields across the country. Window displayer, automotive painter, picture framer, interior designer, muralist, graphic designer, art teacher, and general art store know-it-all just to name a few. While tackling these jobs, I've lived in Oregon, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Florida, and now Kentucky. I mention these positions and places I've lived because these influences have shaped and formed me into the artist I have become, while giving me more of a world view. For example, the graphic design is clearly present in my clean and uncluttered style, while commercial art school planted the seed for my passion of lettering, and painting cars and murals gave me the courage to paint larger than life. Hawaii introduced me to indigenous languages, Oregon brought out the naturalist in me, Wisconsin and Florida proved I really do prefer warmer weather, and Kentucky brought me full circle to find my life's passion in the Cherokee language, history, and culture.
I currently serve on the board of the Princeton, KY Renaissance on Main/Main Street Committee, and am a member of the Caldwell County Trail of Tears Commission. I also volunteer with several local schools, mentoring students who are interested in pursuing art.
I am also a board member of the Princeton-Caldwell County Trail of Tears Commission here in Kentucky. www.caldwellcountytot.org
I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I teach yoga and fitness classes at Trilogy Performance Sports in Princeton, KY. I eat a clean diet as much as possible. (I avoid preservatives, corn and dairy products and try to eat deliciously fresh as often as I can.) I am also a Wellness Advocate (Essential Oils!)
If you'd like to know more about anything I've discussed, please feel free to ask me about it!