Artist, yogi, nature lover… your passions in life have clearly had a large influence on your artistic journey. Can you please tell me more about your life’s passions and how they have had a direct influence over your work?
I paint my life and what I love, so my work always involves my passions. I can’t help myself. I have always painted my friends and things that I’m inspired by; fashion, my girlfriends (strong, talented, stylish women), yoga, meditation, the cosmos, nature, punk rock, colorful interiors, my daughter… As I evolve and change my paintings do too. I try to stay true to myself and not paint what I think someone else wants to see.
Here’s a random little timeline from my notes about passions and inspiration:
-Early years – Girls. I would ask my dad to draw girls for me.
-Teen years- Fashion. I would draw from fashion magazines.
-High school- I was obsessed with punk rock and burlesque. Loved pin-up art and Toulouse Lautrec. I loved interior design, light and color and I loved seeing homes, mostly vintage and eclectic. My parents were both architects, so I grew up with architectural digests and blueprints around the house.
-Art School- I painted my friends and girls I’d meet in bars.
-Yoga – I started doing yoga 12 years ago and fell in love. Not only is it fun, but it is maintenance for the body.
-Nature- What I appreciate about nature is it feels timeless, spiritual and magical. Nature offers the best color, atmosphere, harmony, mood. You can’t ever fake or manufacture what nature gives you freely.
-Motherhood- With my daughter I experience unconditional love- simplicity.
-Meditation/cosmos- with the loss of loved ones and life’s stresses I started meditation. Something I find important for all.
As my paintings progress they retain fragments of every passion that I’ve been into along the way.
Have you seen a transformation in your work after you began to experience motherhood?
Yes, definitely. I started looking at things differently and with more meaning. Well, first I should mention that after my daughter was born it was tough for me finding time to paint, and that was a huge challenge. Being a painter is long, lonely hours and I have never had to organize my time before. That was a struggle that took longer than I wanted to figure out. Plus I was in a painting funk, not happy with my work at the time which only added to the challenge. Then I remembered my first love, painting from life, and went back to the basics. Simple things, which is also what I discovered is most important in life as well.
Having said all that my daughter has been the biggest blessing EVER!
When I stop and listen and look through her eyes, I see more. I realize the beauty in simple things by sharing them with her. Going through pregnancy and birth and breastfeeding and all of that awesome craziness, it definitely changed the way I viewed myself and women. It gave me so much respect for how powerful and strong we are. We can handle so much. I want her to have a positive view of herself and the world, and to create what she wants. My last show was about expressing those ideas.
You highlight the female form in much of your work with a stunning and open representation of female sexuality. Can you tell me more about your feelings surrounding the freedom to express our sexuality as women?
I feel women should be able to express their sexuality freely and respectfully, however, I mainly feel more women should stop judging each other. Women can be each other’s harshest critics, worst enemies, while they should be supporting one another, especially female artists.
The women I paint are “sexy,” which is not quite the same thing as sexual. I am intrigued by the controversy sex creates but I don’t really think about trying to make my work “more” sexy than feels right to me. My women are unapologetically sexy because I don’t think that the female form or the nude female form needs to hide her sexuality. Neither one is an open invitation for sex. It’s just the body. Women can own their own sexuality for their own sake and enjoyment. I always tell my models they don’t have to be sexy. Because they already are sexy. That thought is really empowering and liberating.
Your solo show “Rainbeau Samsara” intrigued me. You created pieces that celebrated femininity and empowerment. What are your views on female empowerment?
I think females (especially artists) should have the same rights and earn the same respect as men. It is empowering to not have to think about what other people think of you. Owning and freeing the part of yourself that you find beautiful or exciting. There are all kinds of female archetypes — like the virgin and the whore — that don’t match up to the reality of actual roles women can hold. It’s a very male way of thinking in the business world, to shame women for being open with their sexuality. Some people think that to be respected or esteemed you have to hide your sexuality and femininity, including some women that call themselves feminists but deride anything overly feminine. I think when women are open and unafraid they are inspiring, and sometimes my paintings are about making beauty from female insecurities. Women recognize this. They connect with my art because it’s often how they feel inside, or want to feel. Not what society is always telling them to be. There’s no shame. My women are vulnerable and yet predators at the same time, they have the freedom to choose.
You also have a passion for teaching art and one of your favorite students is a retired physician, Stan. What inspired you to go in the direction of teaching art?
Aww Stan! I love him! He says, “I left the medical business to make the big bucks in art!” Haha!
I have always wanted to teach, but was scared to. I knew I needed to take the leap and luckily it happened organically and at a perfect time. As I was recommitting to painting from life as my focus, I had a friend that was teaching who asked me to take over her class because she was moving. I knew it would be challenging and that I would question my entire process and everything I do. I have had to articulate what I do, make sense of it and relearn everything and go backwards and start from the beginning. It has helped me more than I could have imagined. I truly love teaching. Now I teach at Kline Academy in Los Angeles (among others), and privately in my studio. I love my students! And I’m lucky to have many rad female ones!