“Lower Mohawk Lake”
Oil on Canvas
So, there’s this interview thing spreading through the blogosphere, and I finally got sucked in and told Ramblin’ Girl that she could interview me since I knew she’d come up with some good questions. Thanks RG!
Here’s how it works. She asks me five random questions to answer on my blog. Then, I’m supposed to in turn ask five questions to those who comment on my blog asking to be interviewed. So, if you want to join in, just leave a comment saying, “Interview Me,” and I’ll email you questions.
Anyhow, here are my (long and rambling) answers:
1. You’re an engineer, with obvious creativity, (and since I’m an engineer that wishes she was more creative, I have to ask) do you sometimes feel schizophrenic for having both a strong analytical and creative mind? And if you do, what do you do when your “right” brain fights with your “left”? (Did I just expose my crazy?)
Well, I definitely feel like it sets me apart from the crowd. When I was working in engineering, I always had a different thought process than everyone else – like, we might all end up at the same answer, but I would get there a different way. Does that make sense? And in the art world, I often find the same – I tend to approach painting in more of an analytical way than most other artists I meet. Luckily, most of the successful artists I’ve met are also fairly analytical, so I don’t feel completely out of the loop.
Ultimately though, I think engineering is more of a right brain activity than people think. Being a good engineer means being able to solve complex problems every day, which requires a lot of creativity. Just because it isn’t visual or abstract doesn’t mean it isn’t creative. And being a successful artist requires a bit of an analytical mind, especially for the business side of things. All in all, I think the two complement each other, and being able to use both “sides of the brain” just helps me improve at the things I do.
2. Since the Twister obviously isn’t it, what’s your favorite childhood memory?
Oh my – what a big question! I don’t think I could pick just one! I remember that when I was in second or third grade, my mom signed me up for art classes at this frame shop called Studio West, and I would go every Wednesday night. We oil painted, did pastel, watercolor, you name it. I loved it. What I loved even more was that once a month, my mom would pick me up from my art class and we would go over to Pizza Hut, and I would get to get a personal pan pizza, which would be free because I won it by reading so many books for the “Book-It” program at school. What could be better than art class and a personal pan pizza? Back then, not much!
Other favorites were staying out late at night playing games at the end of the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids, diving into the pool for swim practice at 6 am when the pool was still steaming in the cool morning air, and sleeping on the bleachers of the rink at my sister’s early morning ice skating practices. I also used to love it when my dad would ride his bike to the gas station to buy cigarettes (!) and take me along, letting me ride on the horizontal bar of the bike (!!!). He would buy me a jolly rancher and I’d be so excited.
3. I love creating things, but don’t like sharing my “art” with many people. What’s it like to have other people critiquing your paintings?
It’s like a roller coaster. Sometimes people love your work and rave about it and you feel on top of the world. The next day someone comments about your framing choice, or says something negative about your subject matter, and you’re plunged down into the depths of self-doubt. Ultimately, you develop a thick skin and realize it’s all subjective, and it gets easier. I’ve studied art a lot, and I know what I like and what I strive for with my work. At this point, I measure my art objectively on how it lives up to my own goals, rather than focusing on other people’s opinions. But it’s always valuable to get critiques from people whose art you admire – I’m always happy to take advice from accomplished artists, because it might help me to get where I want to go.
4. What do you miss most about college? What do you not miss at all?
I miss learning something new every day (I know – that’s totally geeky, but it’s true). I miss having a totally free schedule and being able to hang out with friends whenever and wherever I want. More than anything, I miss being able to live on $750 a month – it was so nice to be unencumbered by “stuff”.
As for what I don’t miss, there’s a lot! I don’t miss the tests. I went to the Colorado School of Mines for my engineering degree, and the tests were hell. A calculus or thermodynamics test might have four or five questions on it, and it would take two hours to finish. And you’d just hope the professor would give you a lot of partial credit for your work, because it was virtually impossible to get the right answer. I also don’t miss, in general, the people. I have some great friends from my time at Mines, but there were a lot of unhappy, stressed out students there, who weren’t so much fun to be around.
5. Can you ever imagine yourself moving away from Colorado and the mountains? Is there anywhere else that you could live besides here? Is there anywhere else in Colorado that you’d rather live?
Short answer – NO, I can’t imagine moving away from Colorado! Last night, Nate and I drove 2 miles, put Aspen in the baby bjorn, hiked a half mile, and sat on top of some red rocks and had dinner as the sun went down. In moments like those, I’m totally at home.
I lived in Houston for a few years and I’ve never been so miserable in my life. It’s sounds silly, but I feel like I lose a bit of my soul when I’m away from the mountains. I suppose I could live elsewhere in the Rockies, but now that I have a kid I love being close to family and having roots, so I have a feeling we’ll be here for a long time.
Nate and I have discussed living in Steamboat Springs, and it would be totally possible now that he’s been building houses up there. But I’m kind of a wimp about winter, so I don’t know how I’d handle being snowbound for months. And again, it’s been really nice to have our families nearby now that we have Aspen – I love that my mom and Nate’s mom can watch her while I paint so she doesn’t have to go to daycare. I also love being close to city for a night out here and there. So, it would take a lot to entice me to move!