“You would not paint the way you do if you had not lived the life you’ve lived.”
Elizabeth Lyons,  British artist, Umbria, Italy1991

I loved to draw as a child. I was an arts & crafts counselor at fifteen. I went away to college as an art major, but switched to psychology after one year. The next time I picked up a brush was after visiting a shop called “Painted Cloud” in Kyoto, Japan during the very hot summer of 1990.

I went to Japan after my mother’s eleven-month struggle with cancer. I was both grieving a death and coming alive in ways I could not anticipate.  I had gone to Japan to study tea ceremony and calligraphy, dance and martial arts. Painting came as a result of the beauty and ritual inherent in what I learned. It was precipitated by my need to express appreciation to my sensei for those gifts. Though I had not painted in decades, all that mattered was that my effort was heart-felt.

From Asia I traveled to Europe, first Spain.  One morning before dawn - jet-lagged in my Madrid hotel room – I was in bed painting when I heard an inner voice.  It whispered, barely discernable, “This is what you are meant to do with your life.”  And I listened, proceeding to study in Italy and New York with a great and outrageous master teacher, Knox Martin.

In 1997 I decided to share time each day between art and the talent that preceded it…marketing.  The plan was to work part time saving the world – its creatures and habitats- and continue my path as an artist.  But the conservation of our planet is a full-time endeavor.

When I returned to painting years later I felt as if I had never put it aside, though it was a different and deeper experience.  Always there was the same sense of amazement when I picked up a brush.  Amazement and awe that the privilege of this purpose in life had been there and would be there.


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