I’m a visual artist. I started out as a social documentary photographer, shooting in medium format b&w – I toned my photos with selenium, and experimented with alternative processes including palladium printing. I was also drawn to sketch journaling, mail art, collage, bookbinding and making artist books. I wanted to make things with my hands, and use my graphic design skills. I learned to mat and frame my own artwork. I did this for nearly two decades.

I had begun a photo project called Within a 10-Mile Radius, shooting everything within 10 miles of my home. Some of this included portraits of immigrants that live in my neighborhood, but I felt awkward trying to tell their story; I wanted to do more for my neighbors. I read about local volunteers teaching vineyard workers how to read and write, and I was deeply moved and inspired. I got a teaching certificate for English as a Second Language so that I could volunteer teach for local nonprofits. I pursued a Masters in ESL and Immigrant Literacies and have now been teaching noncredit ESL and Literacy (in Spanish) at my community college for 8+ years. It’s challenging and incredibly rewarding work, to help adults build capacity and good futures.

My art life kept pulling me back in, calling to me to find mediums to work in that resonated. I began to find my voice with encaustic monotypes (because I love working on paper), natural pigments, india ink, graphite, cold wax with oil pigment sticks. Visual journaling is one of my central forms of expression: it’s all about process, not product and is an effective container for ideas and working through things. I am now in training to become a teacher of creative journaling, a “Guidess” to people in life transitions or who feel unqualified or too intimidated to express their creativity because they think they can’t do art. The parallel paths of artmaking and teaching are entwined, a thread that runs through my life. In my day job of 20 years, I was a workshop and event coordinator, and I love bringing small groups of people together and facilitating an amazing workshop experience for them. I have dreams of building a small art retreat space in Oaxaca, Mexico with my partner. I’m excited to see what the future will bring.