I was recently asked to do an interview with UncommonGoods! So stinking cool! I was only slightly awkward. :)

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

To be honest, I never experienced that one lightbulb moment when I suddenly decided that one day I would be an artist, any more than I never decided I would have freckles or an innate need to eat chocolate every night before bed. The need to creatively express myself has been a lifelong requirement - I am very sensitive and seem to experience the range of emotions a bit more intensely than a lot of people I know. I always turned to drawing or painting when I didn't have anywhere else to go with my big feelings; it's just what I naturally did. I remember sitting in my back yard with crayons as a little girl trying to match the exact blue of the sky while processing my sadness over the loss of our pet kitty. It's something that I've never grown out of - and I don't think I could if I tried! I'm trying to teach my girls that being sensitive is ok and that creatively expressing yourself is a great outlet when you don't know what to do with your big emotions. 

Describe a typical day at work in your studio, assuming such a thing exists.

I typically get to the studio after my daughters go to sleep. After tucking them in, I try to sneak off to my studio for an hour or two every night. Although it might not seem like much, the hours really do add up. I used to think that because I wasn't dedicating significant chunks of time to painting every day that I might as well not do anything (I tend to be an all or nothing type of person). But after having kids and not having that kind of time, I decided I needed to do something creative even if it wasn't going to be a masterpiece. I realized that if I am kind with myself and set achievable goals, I can do a lot of really cool stuff. An hour a night is seven hours a week; it really adds up! That's seven more hours than if I had waited for an epic painting session. This gives me my much needed me time; as a classic introvert, I desperately crave and am recharged by my solitude. I have a specific ritual: I light a candle, pour a cup of tea and turn on my painting playlist. I'm just like a Pavlovian dog; as soon as I hear that first song on my playlist, it signals to my brain that it's time to relax and just have fun with my paints. 

What's been the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist? What about the most challenging thing? 

I find it so magical when a stranger tells me they enjoy my work. That stranger and I are linked by something that came to life through my imagination! It all feels so intimate and vulnerable and wonderful. As people, our most basic need is connection - we are literally hard wired for it. It's such a profoundly connecting experience when someone else resonates with a painting that I've created. 

The most challenging thing has been juggling it all: my family, full time career and painting. However, it is necessary to take the time for myself and fill my cup, or I won't have anything to give.

Your Doughnut Art Portraits are 100% delectable (seriously, we’re getting hungry just looking at them). How’d you decide to paint a series of desserts?

My daughters were my inspiration! I had been looking for a way to authentically include them in my creative practice. As a mother, you devote all of your love and energy towards your family and there doesn't always seem to be a whole lot left over. I just wasn't interested in anything else as my entire worldview had changed, my whole purpose and reason for being. They became my sun and I revolved around them. As my whole life changed, so inevitably did my priorities and as a result, my art. I love viewing the world through their eyes and being excited about the things that they're excited about. There is something so sacred and genuine about the delight that they find in the seeming simplest things. Their appreciation for a single item that I otherwise would have blown off is so inspiring and wonderful: the way they look deeply for the most minute details that give something character, their all-consuming pleasure in the present moment. I remember being a kid playing in the woods and the reverence I had for things that today I would never notice. Studying an object to paint and becoming intimately familiar with it - noticing the subtle change in hues, exploring the texture with my hands, brings me back to this magical, childlike awe and wonder of the world.

Is there a special trinket or talisman you keep nearby while you work? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

I have a small jade figurine of a cicada that I keep in my studio. My aunt gifted it to me during a time in my life that had a lot of change and instability. It reminds me that I am capable of doing hard things, and that transformation isn't always sweet or fun. Sometimes it's murky and painful, but occasionally it's necessary to completely uproot yourself in order to become who you were meant to be.

If you showed one of your paintings—doughnut or no—to a kindergartner, what do you think they would say?

Funny you should ask, as I have one of those at home. :) She loves the paintings and is quite the artist herself. She is always asking me to take her to her favorite cafe that sells the most delicious doughnuts under the guise of researching to continue my series. 

Finally, what quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

Reach higher! Reach for your spirit! - rumi



Donut Delights

Raising two little girls can be tough, especially when trying to live a full, creative life. I am a mom of two little ladies under three years old, and had been searching for a way to include them in my creative journey. One day, I was watching them as they were completely absorbed in donut-magic-love: chocolate faces, sticky fingers and sprinkles in their hair, and I had a Eureka! moment. I should get on their level, abandon all of my boring adult responsibilities (at least for a moment), and start experiencing life WITH them. Going with the flow instead of against the flow has been such a lifesaving transformation for me, both as a mother and an artist. These donuts are my going back to childhood, completely absorbed in the delicious pleasure of everything being magic. They represent the wonderful memories of my childhood and the memories I’m creating for my daughters with a mother who is fully present. 


Each of the donuts painted (as well as many more) were taste-tested and enthusiastically approved by my daughters. For the past six months, my husband and children have indulged my inner child. We have spent our weekends going to far off places, searching for that perfect donut. It has been so much fun exploring the subtle nuances between the crullers from Lil’s Cafe in Kittery (best!) and Kane’s Donuts in Boston. We found that some of the prettiest donuts could be found at a hole in the wall (Donut N Donuts in the Somerville train station) and some of the most fancy, artisanal donuts were just a little too much! But the most fun we had was in being together, in sugar induced comas. I hope these paintings will help you (even for a moment) rediscover your magic.

Discovering Your Inner Child

My morning commute to work should take about 10 minutes; I live two miles from my job. But I have a two-year old, which means getting out of the house each morning is an intensely dramatic experience, filled with endless negotiations. I’ve tried everything to ensure a smooth transition, from coaxing her with lollipops to letting her watch Taylor Swift videos on my cellphone. Yes, I know I’m totally wrapped around her little finger. The only thing that has helped is to take an extensive scenic drive through the city of Manchester on our way to daycare. Our most important drive-by is the Currier Museum of Art.

My daughter is fascinated by the giant, 35-foot orange and black steel sculpture, Origins by Mark di Suvero, which is located in the front of the Museum. She always lets out a little shriek when she sees it, and then informs me that the “Currier is BOOFUL.” Sometimes as a special treat, we get out of the car and dance on the grass near the sculpture, admiring its impressive height from all angles. She informs me, “It’s a K!” and “want to run and tumble!” Looking at the piece through her eyes, with no associations to art theory or art history, is a pretty cool experience and each time reminds me why I fell in love with art in the first place.

Being a mom has reinvigorated my love for so many things I had forgotten about. After I graduated from art school in 2009, I needed a break from art-making. I was depleted, empty, spent. The joy of creating had lost all pleasure for me. I was focused solely on the outcome of my art-making, as opposed to the process. The first time I picked up crayons and started drawing with my daughter—knowing that no one would ever see or grade our scribbles—I was reminded of why I used to love this form of self expression.

If you put a marker in my toddler’s hand, she won’t write neatly on paper or color within the lines, although eventually she will be socialized to do just that. She’s going to draw all over the walls and herself, playing and having fun. I am so jealous of her freedom, and am trying to reawaken the carefree child within me. I sincerely urge you to also listen for the stirrings of your heart and rediscover the simple pleasures that once made you thrive.

The Art of Kim Kardashian

When I think of Kim Kardashian, I think of someone who’s a little vain, vacuous and vulgar. She doesn’t exactly portray herself as someone who has a lot going on under the surface. So why did Rizzoli—one of the world’s most reputable art publishers—choose to put out a 445-page book dedicated to the reality star, in all her vainglory? This sleek coffee table book, Kim Kardashian West: Selfish, is filled with page after page of pictures of Kim, by Kim, shamelessly showcasing her obsession with her favorite muse. By giving its stamp of approval, is Rizzoli insinuating that Kim and her duck faces should be evaluated in the same way we do Rembrandt, Picasso and Frida Kahlo—the undisputed masters of the self portrait? That might be taking it a little far, but really, I’m curious to find out what they’re aiming for. If she truly is an artist, then that begs the question, are all iPhone wielding, selfie stick-touting Generation Y yuppies artists, too?


The effort that goes into creating Kim’s look could certainly be argued to be a work of art in itself. In one photo, we see her with no makeup, looking almost normal, albeit genetically gifted. In others, we see her in various stages of getting glammed up: hair in curlers, makeup not yet blended in. It’s not easy to transform her into the Kim we know: it takes two hours every morning to get her ready. Her makeup artist works like a master painter, polishing and perfecting her face and body (no tan lines here!) into unattainable perfection. Within the photos, we see the tricks revealed: her face is aggressively contoured with darks and lights to highlight and shade before being blended. Is this any different than painting a portrait, where you have to block out the lights and darks before filling in the details? When I sat down and thought about it, what initially seemed like an absurd link actually isn’t much of a stretch. Whether you paint on a face or on a canvas, art is art, and who am I to judge?


For me, a work of art needs to have a few essential ingredients: color, composition, an emotional impact and a relationship to nature. I realize that while these points may be what springs to mymind as essentials, there actually isn’t anything necessary or intrinsic to a painting or photograph that “qualifies” it as art. There is no such thing as an art gene to prove its heredity. Art isn’t bound by rules or reduced to quantitative or qualitative equations, it’s a completely subjective experience. So who am I to say that these selfies aren’t art? This book was made to provoke and shock. In some pictures, Kim is literally sticking her tongue out at society, daring us to call her bluff. Although it would be easier to simply write her off as a vapid reality star obsessed with her cleavage, I’m wondering if perhaps she is showing us a little something underneath it all (besides her bra). By being so over-the-top and nihilistic, perhaps she’s making a commentary on our society at large: nothing matters except the shape of your derrière and the carats in your bling.