I officially began using natural materials when I was 6 years old. One of my favorite childhood art projects was drawing on paper with glue and then pouring sand on it and shaking off the extra to make pictures. This, along with various mud pies and smashed-plant concoctions, kept me busy through my childhood in Colorado. Upon completion of high school, I picked up and moved to Texas to use real paints in the lofty pursuit of my art degree.
A transformative experience with a biology major during college made me realize that I was sucking in toxic cadmium and other neurotoxins through my skin while I painted. Having the habit of painting with my fingers, I started exploring other options. I went to Palo Duro Canyon, where Georgia O’Keefe had painted early in her career, and saw that the earth provides many pigments ready-made. I realized that artificial pigments were pushing me further away from nature rather than drawing me closer. I started arranging seeds and sticks and went back to painting with dirt.
After graduating, I took a geology class so I could learn more about where different colored minerals come from and how they form. And I took a few years off from painting to separate what I was looking for in my art from what my teachers had been looking for. In 2007, I moved back to Colorado, where I became serious about pursuing my art career. This, for me, involves spending time in nature, travelling regularly to find and gather new pigments, and constantly trying new things in order to refine my technique.