My first significant insight came when I was seven years old. It was then I realized I'd never be able to take a vacation from myself.... I became very upset! From that moment my life as a seeker began.
Over five decades, encompassing many adventures, my most loving and generous guidance came from learning to listen to my intuition. Walking through life's experiences provided a profound schooling. Over time, learning to listen to my inner creative voice developed into an awareness, which continues to provide a growing incentive to go even further in exploring my creative process.
Since 1976, my work and teaching has been in a wide variety of creative venues. As the only American in a group of 10 hair design artists, I led an international team based in Hong Kong. We created and implemented new concepts and styles in contemporary high fashion hair design. Eventually I became restless in the stylized fashion world. It was time to let go of this successful career in teaching and training. No longer could I focus on creating for external results and the outside validation on which that industry is based.
In 1983 I set sail from San Francisco to French Polynesia. This two-year journey was a major turning point in my life. During this outer journey I became aware of a longing for inner self-expression. One in which I could simply follow my own intuitive impulses. This was a radical shift from designing for aesthetic appearance and external reward. I felt called to create simply for creation's sake; I needed to break free from the striving and efforting.
Upon my return to the United States in 1985, I began to practice Vipassana meditation, taught by S. N. Goenka. Vipassana means, insight into the nature of reality. Through this practice I became very curious and interested in how life is, rather than how I wanted it to be. In the next few years I continued this practice and began to look at creativity from a different vantage point.
The need to express my creativity was deeply felt. Since I did not want to go to a traditional art school I sought out unconventional teachers that used creating as a process rather than an end unto itself. Heidi Rupda Lesser was my first guide into this world through sculpting clay. It was exhilarating to dive into my inner world as I watched the clay come alive. During my four years of this creative study I completed four sculpted life size figures—each one an aspect of myself, my history, and the conditioning of my younger life. With this foundation of creative inquiry in place I felt ready to venture beyond the known.
In 1992 I met Michele Cassou, founder of the Point Zero Painting Method, co-author of Life Paint and Passion, and author of Point Zero and Kids Play. Her approach to creativity through painting grabbed my attention. Having learned through my meditation practice, to observe things as they are, I threw myself into painting in the same way. Not efforting for an end product, not having to change or fix what appeared on the paper, meant meeting myself where I was, making peace with my expectations and judgments. I found myself giving way to unexpected painted shapes and colors. I discovered my creative home and was fortunate to study and co-facilitate workshops with Michele over the next 17 years.
Over the years, I have heard hundreds of people say, "I want to feel connected, inspired, and alive when I paint." When we give ourselves the freedom to pick up the brush and paint what the intellect may perceive as ugly or childish, absurd or fantastic, we begin an amazing journey of discovery. In time we come to understand that it is not important what the painting looks like, the importance is in what happens inside our hearts as we surrender to the wholeness and vital passion that creativity enlivens. The painting process brings a sense of deep connection which, along with form and color, can access otherwise hidden dimensions.
My thirst for limitless expression—unconstrained by outside expectation, technique, or pressures from a deeply ingrained work ethic—continues to give birth to real passion. This aliveness emerges every time I pick up the brush. I've witnessed, experienced, and continue to dive into this endless wonder called process art. I have learned to trust the truth of my intuitive voice while celebrating the innocence and treasures that painting awakens.