Monday, December 2, 2013

Sacred Voices exhibit

The Sacred Voices exhibit opens Thursday, Dec 5, 2013 along with the St. John's Bible exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art.  Sacred Voices features Jewish, Christian, and Muslim artists whose artwork is inspired by their faith.

I have been working as a guest curator on the Sacred Voices exhibit for the Canton Museum of Art for almost a year now and am so thrilled with how it has shaped up.  Honestly, researching and selecting work for this show has been so deeply rewarding.  As a person who takes my own faith very seriously in my life and in my artwork, it has been such a delight to find so many others whose artwork is an extension of their faith.  I think that for an artist of faith, art making can be such a valuable way of living out and processing your beliefs, while also sharing them with others.

For Sacred Voices I sought artists whose faith seemed embedded in their creative process and whose work conveyed a spirituality and depth of belief. This is obviously a very personal perspective, but it was the driving force of my curatorial process.  I gravitated toward work that was contemplative, poetic even, in how it drew you in and prompted you to experience the work, regardless of your faith as the viewer.  It is not about differences, it is about how faith inspires art, AND how art inspires faith!

There are 60 works featured in this exhibit created by 37 artists mostly from the US, but also from Australia, Austria, Canada, and the United Kingdom as well.  I have had the wonderful privilege of meeting many of these artists when I picked up artwork in person on the East Coast and Midwest, and am excited to meet some of the other artists who will be attending the opening reception as well.  

If you are in the area, I hope you can come to this exhibit.  It is open until March 2, 2014.


"Community" is a kinetic sculpture that I designed for the McKinley Manor neighborhood. It is part of a neighborhood revitalization project organized by Community Building Partnership to help build neighborhood identity and pride.

After speaking with residents, I came up with this kinetic sculpture design to help capture the identity of this neighborhood. The sculpture is intended to represent flight/abstractions of airplanes, since this neighborhood used to be the site of the first local airport in Canton.  It is also meant to reflect community, with the arms open wide, moving and interacting with each other (as wind currents move them on the Timken bearings.) Special thanks to the Timken Company, Beaver Excavating, Canton Erectors, Morris Bros. Scrap Metals, Ernies Bike Shop, Aaron Brown, Doug Gialluca, and the students at Madge Youtz Elementary School for helping make this a reality!

This sculpture, dedicated on November 15, 2013, is located at Madge Youtz Elementary School, 1901 Midway Ave. NE, Canton OH 44705.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Newly hanging in my studio from my Assisi Thin Places body of work...

Mount Subasio, in Assisi, Italy, is said to be a sacred mountain.  On Mount Subasio there is a cave where St. Francis would go to pray and contemplate.  It is called Eremo delle Carceri (Hermitage of St. Francis). 

The whole area near the cave is rich with symbols, from the frescos in the oratory leading to the cave, to sculptures in the hillside, to a variety of crosses, including humble, rough hewn crosses embedded in nature.

I like the mystery of symbols and visual metaphors.  I was especially drawn to the more natural, subtle symbols. I phototransfered two images onto a wood panel.  One image is of an outdoor chapel just down the trail from the cave.  It had an old tree stump with a small cross carved into it and a twig that also looked like a cross.  I fused that image with one of the door that opens to the oratory and cave.  Together they seemed to portray a beauty in subtlety.

Size: (h x w) 24" x 16:
Media: Phototransfer on wood panel (maple)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Scotland: Full of surprises and inspiration

Photo courtesy of Connie Collins.  St. Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle.  My first thin place experience in Scotland, despite having arrived that morning after a red-eye flight and being jet-lagged!

Thank you again to all who supported me with my Iona Imagery project.  Special thanks to: Barbara J., Lexi D., Pamela Daum, Tom and Joyce Waalkes, Sharon and Jim Charmley, Fredlee Votaw, Brett and Brenda Woudenberg, Emil Alecusan, Jeff Dreyer, Su Nimon, Robb Hankins, Heidi Beke Harrigan, Marcia Everett, Barb Walker, & Paul and Gail Wetherell-Sack for helping to financially support this project! (And to my husband, Scott, who is not only helping to financially support my project, but who has supported and affirmed my calling as an artist all along the way!).

I am so deeply grateful for all of your help to make this trip and this project possible.  I have over 2,000 photos to work with for this new body of work! 

My trip to Scotland was productive and full of meaningful surprises and inspiration.  I went to Scotland with the distinct mission of trying to capture the essence of thin places* on the Isle of Iona. What I didn't anticipate was that I would stumble upon thin places in other areas of Scotland as well, not just on Iona.  A pleasant surprise indeed!

This new body of work created with imagery from Scotland will be entitled Traces.  I have been pondering the idea of traces a lot.  Thin places seem to have a spiritual residue, a trace left from the past.  I like the idea that the past seeps viscerally into the present in these places of sacred thinness and beauty.  It inspires and intrigues me -- and I want to portray my experiences of these spiritual traces in my new work.  Wish me luck!

*Thin places are times or places where the veil between the Divine and human is thinner or more permeable, allowing for a deeper sense of God's presence.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


This piece is entitled Visions and was created with imagery I captured while in Assisi, Italy working on my Thin Places project. It was created by fusing two photos.  One image is of a fresco from the exterior of the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, located just outside of Assisi.  The other is of a medieval alleyway winding through the town.  I like how the images work together to create the sense of a vision unfolding ahead.  It conveys a trace of a thin place.  This glimmer of the unknown-- that which is just beyond-- continues to draw me in.

I am very excited to continue my work exploring thin places.  I will be traveling to Scotland May 30-June 8 to capture imagery to create a new body of work that portrays thin places.  I am particularly interested in Iona, which is a very small island in Scotland that is considered a thin place.  I am very eager to explore and experience this place!

But I wouldn't be doing this without the amazing support and encouragement of so many people! I am grateful for those who really "get" this project and want to see it succeed.  A friend recently wrote me: "This is an exciting part of your art journey, life journey too... enjoy/share/create/teach... but most of all = GROW! "   Thanks, my friend, I plan to!

For more information about my upcoming project, visit my Iona Imagery Kickstarter page!

Size: (h x w) 20" x 16"
Media: Digital Photography

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Iona Imagery Kickstarter Partners

My sincere gratitude goes out to the following people who are partnering with me on my Iona Imagery project.  Their support will help enable me to create a new body of work inspired by my experiences of thin places in Iona, Scotland.  

Special thanks to:

Barbara J.
Pamela Daum, in honor of her mother, Betty Joan White Zucker Milner
Tom and Joyce Waalkes
Sharon and Jim Charmley
Fredlee Votaw
Brett and Brenda Woudenberg
Emil Alecusan
Jeff Dreyer
Su Nimon
Robb Hankins
Heidi Beke Harrigan
Marcia Everett
Barb Walker
Paul & Gail Wetherell-Sack

To find out more about my Iona Imagery project and how you can back my project please click here to visit my Kickstarter page!

The piece pictured above is part of my Thin Places body of work that was inspired by my thin place experiences in Assisi, Italy.  It is entitled Shelter, and is a combination of two images.  One is a photo of sheep grazing on a peaceful hillside outside of town.  The other is of the Eremo delle Carceri, which is the cave in Mount Subasio where St. Francis used to retreat for prayer and contemplation.  Perhaps it was because the cave was integrated in the quietness of nature, but I found it to feel even more sacred, or thin, than the St. Francis Basilica with all of it's frescoed splendor.

Size (h x w) 12" x 9"
Media: Phototransfer on wood panel

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Iona Imagery Kickstarter Project

I am so pleased to announce that I will be continuing my exploration of thin places in my artwork!  I will be going to Iona, Scotland, an area described by many as a sacred or thin place-- a place where one experiences a more visceral sense of the Divine.  Many people describe thin places as a "thinning" of the divide or veil between heaven and earth.  This concept continues to intrigue and challenge me personally and in my artwork.

While in Iona, I will photograph new imagery and document my "thin" experiences.  Afterward I will begin creating a new body of work that seeks to visually portray the essence of Iona thin places. This project builds upon my recent Assisi Thin Places work, and I am very eager to see how I can push it even further!

If you'd like to learn more about my project or if you want to learn how you can get some artwork inspired by this trip, please click here to visit my Kickstarter page!  Thanks!

Friday, March 22, 2013


Transcendence was created using imagery from Assisi, Italy.  It combines a photo of a stairway going up to the Basilica of St. Francis with an image of the Umbrian countryside, as seen from outside the San Damiano church and monastery.  On their own, each image captured a quiet sense of space, one near and the other far. Together, they fuse into a contemplative space somewhere in between here and there.

Size: (h x w) 24" x 16"
Media: Original digital photography on wood

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Simplicity. This work combines an image of a sculpture of St. Francis in a niche with a photo of a window with plain lace curtains and a sparse, unpretentious window box. Nothing fancy, just simplicity in the everyday. This seemed like a fitting way to portray the humble monk known for striving to live simply and at peace with fellow humans, animals, and nature. 

The imagery was captured while on an artist residency in Assisi, Italy.

Size: (h x w) 12" x 9"
Media: phototransfer on wood

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


The Basilica of St. Francis is a structure with three levels.  Each descending level grows more simple. The Italian Gothic upper church, built upon an existing church, is the most ornate with brilliant frescoes by Giotto of the life of St. Francis.  The lower church, is smaller, darker, and more intimate, with more humble frescos.  Below this is the crypt that contains the tomb of St. Francis.  This rough hewn space with simple adornments, low lighting, and few distractions turned out to be a quiet space of contemplation for me. 

I used an image of a cross candle holder from the crypt and overlayed it with a photo of a long stone hallway from the fortress, Rocca Maggiore (which is lit sparingly by arrow slits and a few lights), to echo the sense of the deep quiet in the reflective crypt space. 

This is part of the Thin Places body of work created from my artist residency in Assisi, Italy last year. 

Size: (h x w) 20" x 16"
Media: original digital photography

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The medieval arched gate seen in this piece is the Porta Cappuccini.  It was built in Assisi around 1316 and is still sound (cars drive through it!).  I overlayed this image with a shot of the winding dirt road that leads to the Arte Studio Ginestrelle, where I stayed for my artist residency.  These images were paired to convey the feel of wandering, of not knowing what lies ahead, and of the intrigue that drives us on. 

Size (h x w) 24" x 18"
Media: Phototransfered digital photography on panel with pastels

Friday, February 15, 2013


St. Francis used to withdraw from others to pray and contemplate in a cave on Mount Subasio, in Assisi, Italy. The cave is now incorporated into a hermitage called the Eremo delle Carceri.  

When I went to visit St. Francis’ cave, which is the main attraction, I was surprised to be so moved by the Oratory of St. Bernadine.  This intimate space set aside for prayer is located on the way to St. Francis' cave.  It was constructed in the 15th century and one of my guidebooks only briefly noted that it had one of “a few worn frescoes.”  Yet this oratory, with its beautiful "worn fresco", was a very thin place for me. 
(A thin place being a place where it feels like the divide between the Divine and human is mysteriously thinner).

I combined the image of the oratory fresco of the crucifixion with an image of a double door that lead into a small mausoleum in the cemetery in Assisi.  In the middle of the doors two halves of a crown of thorns come together.  A brown string held the doors together and yet there was still a small gap in between, offering a sense of accessibility.  

This piece is part of the Thin Places body of work that I created after an artist residency in Assisi, Italy last year. 

Size: (h x w) 16" x 16"
Media: Original digital photography on aluminum

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


While wandering around Assisi, Italy I happened upon this wonderfully chaotic little gallery. The gallery was closed, but I could not resist checking out the different pieces of artwork in this dusty nook.  It was filled with assorted relics of creativity and exuded a captivating sense of history. I resonated with the feel of the place so I took a photo through the bars that were closing it off. I overlaid the photo with an image of a medieval balcony that echoed the artistry and time worn beauty found within the gallery.

This is one of the pieces from the Thin Places body of work that I created as a result of my artist residency in Assisi in 2012.

Size: (h x w) 14" x 18"
Media: phototransfer on arches paper

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Round

In Assisi there were many sensory experiences that were thin places for me.
One of the most memorable was hearing the bells that would start to ring slowly and then quicken triumphantly as other bells joined in and rang in a round throughout the town.

It is the beauty of those bells ringing that inspired this piece. I incorporated a photo of the Basilica of St. Francis (where I was first stunned by the beauty of the bells) along with a close up of the bells in the campanile or bell tower.

This is part of my Thin Places body of work created after an artist residency in Assisi, Italy last year.

Size: (h x w) 16" x 20"
Media: Original digital photography on canvas

Saturday, February 2, 2013


The background image of this piece was taken on top of Mount Subasio in Assisi, Italy.  This mountain, where Saint Francis used to retreat to a cave to pray, is considered by locals as sacred. One pamphlet notes that Mount Subasio has been shaped by “the religious paths that have been moulding these landscapes for centuries...”  It seemed like a good explanation of this thin place.

I layered an image of an arched doorway (from the hilltop fortress Rocca Maggiore) over the photo from Mount Subasio.  I wanted to offer a glimpse of this landscape that has been moulded into a beautiful thin place.

This piece is part of my Thin Places body of work created as a result of an artist residency in Assisi, Italy.

Size: (h x w) 30" x 20"
Media: original digital photography on canvas

Monday, January 28, 2013

Today and Tomorrow

The sense of history and remembrance that is encapsulated in old cemeteries intrigues me.  When visiting the cemetery in Assisi, I was impressed by how much artwork was incorporated into the graves and how many fresh flowers there were--the scent actually wafted through the air.  It was a beautiful place, full of memory, where people paid tribute to those who had gone before them.  

The quiet splendor of this remembrance is referenced in this piece utilizing an image of a side window of a small mausoleum, with fresh flowers inside, and layered with a sculpted figure of a woman above a grave. 

This piece is part of my Thin Places body of work that I created after an artist residency in Assisi, Italy.

Size (h x w) 24" x 16"
Medium: Original digital photography on aluminum

Friday, January 25, 2013


This piece features the Oratorio dei Pellegrini or the Pilgrim’s Oratory located in Assisi, Italy.  It has historically “offered rest and restoration to pilgrims,” as one pamphlet says.   Although I never had a chance to enter this place of prayer/worship while in Assisi, I kept circling back to it, admiring the exterior frescoes and slyly peeking through the thick glass doors from behind the velvet curtains.  It was always locked.  I took this shot from across the street.  It is my reflection in the glass doors--the reflection of a pilgrim.  It seemed fitting to combine this photo with one that showcased Assisi, the place of the pilgrimage to explore thin places.  

Pilgrim is part of my Thin Places body of work.

Size: (h x w) 20" x 16" framed
Medium: original digital photograph

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Passage was created from two viewpoints that shaped my time in Assisi and my perception of thin places.  The first is of an archway that opens up to reveal a stunning view of the countryside.  The first time I came upon this place, it was such a delight to see the hazy blues and greens of the countryside in a break between the pale medieval stone walls!  

The second image is of the window in my room at the Arte Studio Ginestrelle.  When not out wandering the town and countryside, I spent a fair bit of time in this room researching and looking out the window reflecting.  This view offered me a place where I would get lost in thought and it inspired me.

These images capture the thrill of discovery and the significance of contemplation. 

This piece is part of my Thin Places body of work, created after an artist residency in Assisi, Italy last year.

If you have a minute, please read the view the review of my latest Thin Places exhibit!

Size: (h x w) 20" x 12"
Media: Original digital photography on canvas