I’ve always loved art and the act of creating, a talent I found uncomfortable at times. I spent most of my year in third grade drawing, with my teacher’s approval. At one parent/teacher conference, Mrs. Hockaday told my mother, “She’s not bothering anyone.” My mother’s concern was well-founded as I flunked math in fourth grade and had to go to Summer school. As a consequence, my relationship with numbers has been rocky all my life. My fascination with art continued, however.
My high school art teacher and I butted heads almost from the beginning. Sister Mary Maurita terrified me; she was a stern-faced, 6-foot tall militant nun who towered over everyone. I did everything I could to avoid her in the halls, to the point of going in the opposite direction, even if that made me late for class. Fate, with its perverse sense of humor, tossed us together in a setting I couldn’t escape from, and the battle lines were clearly drawn.
My art was too representational, she told me. That was what cameras were for. “If it feels like a tree,” she was fond of saying, “it doesn’t have to look like one.” I would do well, she said, in coloring book art.
Somehow, I survived that class with my artistic passion intact. Over the years I tried a number of mediums before settling on photography. More recently, I’ve been exploring digital manipulation, taking a shot and pushing it into a more abstract interpretation. I find that ironic and I can’t help thinking, Sister Maurita would be so proud!