Engaged in some form of art most of my life, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t creating. Always with a sketch book in hand, drawing an animal or people and doodling. Some of my fondest memories are of my Walter Foster: How To Draw books, sitting at the kitchen table sketching for hours on end. Being a self-taught artist, I would try any and every art technique I could get my hands on. Unable to focus on one medium is why I would sometimes refer to myself as a “jack of all trades, master of none” type of artist.

I was completely stunned by the versatility of the humble gourd. The different shapes and sizes they come in were fascinating. Not to mention the many different ways you can manipulate them. As I continued to search on gourds I discovered beautiful quality art work, and they were being done on gourds. I then purchase an array of books on gourd art to learn more; even before I purchased my first gourd. As with many other Gourd Artist, discovering the gourd was an “Ah-ha” moment for me. Here was a medium that appealed to “MY” artistic sensibilities. I could merge my love of drawing and painting with my need to craft and create not just with a paint brush, but by carving and burning. So, began my love affair with the gourds. I learned the techniques used in working with gourds such as pyrography, micro carving, staining, weaving, and inlay. But I soon realized that was not enough. To really understand the art form, I knew I had to meet like minds and pick their brains on the “how’s to and the “what if’s” of gourd art. In February 2016, I joined the Calabash Club of Silicon Valley. What I found was an amazing group of people who are fun, talented and willing to share their vast knowledge of gourds and gourd art techniques.

My back ground is in oil painting. I enjoy painting, animals, portraits, and still life. But since meeting the humble gourd, my canvases have been blank. The gourd is now my canvas of choice. I am sometimes asked, "How did you come up with that design or what made you think of doing that?" Creativity is a funny and beautiful thing. Inspiration can come to us in many ways. As a painter, I usually see something and know instantly that I have to put it to a canvas. I can literally see the painting in my mind's eye. But as a gourd artist, a few things can and do happen when wanting to start a new art piece. Sometimes I'll have an idea, look for a gourd that meets that idea's needs, then start creating. Then there is that gourd that keeps staring me in the face saying, "pick me, pick me. I want to be carved and painted!". Those are fun pieces when a gourd speaks to you and your art comes to life. There is also the trial and error approach. Not having any idea what you're going to do before you do it. It can be daunting but it can also be exciting and for me, it fills my heart with joy to see the finished piece.

I read once a quote from Van Gogh, he writes, "I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart." - Vincent van Gogh

I believe this is why creative art happens. It’s pure and it’s from the heart.

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