Age of my daughter. She loves old pickup trucks and is starting a new chapter of her studies in Montana. She likes working cow ponies and can win a Poetry Slam in a pinch.
Years married to a writer, sour-dough baker, bicycle enthusiast, champion of all things humanities
Times a day I walk our old doxie-mix rescue dog, Grady.
Number of yellow items in my life (as of yesterday).
The number of months when it’s warm enough for me to paint en plein air. (I work in acrylics.)
Number of chords I can play on
the ukelele. It is an old Martin ukelele that belonged to my Grandpa Glass.
Number of years I have lived in Vermont
Most of my days are about art.
I divide my time between my day job, my painting, my garden and grassroots work for BALE (Building a Local Community).
I’m lucky to work as a Creative Director for the art publisher Wild Apple. In my sunny home studio I wear a revolving set of hats, either working with artists from all over the world, or putting on my paint-crusted apron and squeezing out the acrylics on my palette. An extension of the studio is the garden where principles of design, color and aesthetics are just as juicy and exciting.
In between, I am thinking about what makes home.
In 2017 we bought this old brick house and spent 13 months routing out the mouse nests, opening up a few walls, stripping acres of wallpaper, tearing out falling ceilings and repairing plaster walls. Then we sanded uneven floors on our hands and knees. And thousands of other difficult—yet satisfying—tasks.
We set about thinking of it as a 2400 square foot art project, beginning, as you do, with painting the refrigerator yellow.
We hired two carpenters, an electrician and a plumber to do what we couldn’t do ourselves. And now we live inside the result of all that labor. We’re keeping the mice at bay, and cooking, gardening, writing and making art…the direct manifestation of a pivotal moment for me as an artist.
We were visiting my parents who were living in London for a few years. It was September of 1999. We reveled in London’s pleasures for a few days and then drove south to Lewes, near the famous cliffs of Dover, to visit the home of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It was balmy in England and the roads were lined with inky purple elderberries. The fields were the color of caramel.
Charleston, the house Vanessa and Duncan began to occupy in the early part of the 20th century, is now a restored historic site, open to visitors.
Nothing prepared me for how I’d feel upon entering Charleston.
Annie Dillard’s words describe the exact feeling. Until then I had put my creative life on hold with excuses. Each surface of the house was decoratively adorned with paint or textiles or collage. Even book spines were painted. And the garden was an extension of this artful exuberance. I felt a sense of urgency that now was the time to start, not the time to wait until it was convenient. That urgency hasn’t left me, though it’s been expressed in a variety of ways. For me the act of creative expression is a very elemental thing, and when making or imagining something I feel the most alive, bell ringing and ringing and ringing and ringing.
“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”
— Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
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