Back in 2012, I decided I needed a studio to paint in. It took 2 years to complete and made sure it had a 12-foot by 25-foot wall to hold my large-scale paintings. I would start each painting by attaching canvas to a plywood substrate mounted to the wall, and then start blocking in color and lines. I then would paint and repaint over the original to add complexity and depth to the painting. This was how each painting began. It became a ritual. When I gave myself time in between painting sessions, I often changed my mind. Being a harsh critic, I second-guessed the painting until I no longer knew what to do. When that happened, I was usually done.
Then, in 2017, I contracted Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
I thought that maybe it was from the paint and the chemicals in my studio. As a result, I now paint outdoors in my driveway—the airflow makes it safer when working with oils and acrylics. There is a freedom painting outdoors that I never had in the studio. Lots of people stop by and stare, and sometimes make suggestions—and I always appreciate their enthusiasm. This also helps me get through my fear of showing my work publicly. Putting myself out there in the fresh air by the sidewalk under the tree each day is an accomplishment in itself for me.