December 02, 2021
I am an art therapist by training, artist by nature and general Jane of all trades by luck and circumstance. Returning to my childhood hometown of Juneau, Alaska as an adult was never the plan, and it has been a delight-filled surprise, bringing with it new exploits in the realms of art, adventure and love... and often all three at once. I live a sweet life in Juneau with my adventurous husband, Craig, brand new daughter, Wilder, and ball-crazed brown dog, Huckleberry, all in a house that I helped my dad build... yet another set of unexpected delights I never could have predicted.
I established Elevate in 2018 in Juneau, Alaska as a platform to share my art and to extend my reach as an artist, art therapist and community member wanting to affect positive change in a world that can feel disconnected.
If it’s a piece that will have some form of writing in it (all of my original pieces, minus most commissions unless the person wants something specific, have some sort of message written into them), I let the image tell me what it needs to say, perhaps play with the wording a bit, and then work the final phrase into the drawing.
Of note, almost all of the phrases found in my art are active. It’s important to me that when viewing the art, there’s a sense of active participation. The phrase is there to bring the viewer into the art, into that moment, and into their body, where they know that place that’s captured not only by the imagery, but by the words as well.
Once I’m happy with that, I go over everything with ink (microns of various sizes) and go back through to erase all the pencil marks. Next I go in with liquid watercolor. Liquid watercolors are different from the dry palettes most people think of when talking about watercolor. (I’ll explain that below.)
I try to prep the watercolors a good number of days ahead of when I’ll need them. They’re water based and the way I like to use them is by squeezing them into the dips of a round palette, then allowing the water to evaporate over a number of days until all that’s left is the concentrated pigment, which ends up a little sticky. This allows me to get incredibly vibrant, saturated colors out of them, while controlling how much water and dilution I want.
I try to be patient with my painting process and allow separate sections to dry before moving on (e.g. paint the water, let it dry, then paint the adjoining shoreline, let it dry, then paint the adjoining mountains, etc.) in order to at least attempt to give things definition and stop everything from running together. My patience doesn’t always win, however, and sometimes this results in a lot of flowing colors that I have to keep reworking, other times it results in some beautiful mistakes. The last step is to go back over all the inked lines with the microns once again over the top of the watercolor, providing more significant definition.
What is your favorite Medium?
There’s a combination of inspirations at play – obviously the magic and beauty of the natural world inspires the imagery I create, but there’s an important additional component inspired by growth, learning more about ourselves in order to live our best lives, and the knowledge that we are complete while also constantly in a state of becoming, which all finds its way in through the words and phrases in my work.
I love getting out into the wilderness, away from the sounds, energy and reminders of humans, and spending time with Craig, Huckleberry, and now Wilder.
Another place that holds that kind of magic for me is Cooper Landing, on the Kenai Peninsula. I’m a sucker for glowing water.
Advice to Aspiring Artists & Creative Minds
Just create. Get your thinking and critical mind out of your way and just create. You can share your work or not, but make it. Create it for you. Allow space for evolution, growth, and the simple knowledge that sometimes it’s the finished product that holds the most significance, but just as often, it’s the process itself that matters most.
We are grateful to carry such incredible work from artists with big hearts and burning passions here at Forests, Tides & Treasures, and consider many of them family. Thank you to Kelsey Fagan for interviewing with us and bringing us through her artistic journey. It is our goal at FTT to bridge the gap between artist and consumer and embrace the humanity that we all share. After all, we are better together.
Comments will be approved before showing up.