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When the Unrefined and the Exquisite Collide

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

Kintsugi in the San Juans, 8" x 10" Acrylic painting

When I first began writing my art newsletters and social media posts, I promised myself two things:

1. I would always be authentic and transparent, even if that leaves me feeling vulnerable.

2. I would use my artistic journey to teach, engage, encourage and inspire, not just catalog litanies of artistic accomplishments.

In order to do this, each time I sit down to write I spend time in reflection and prayer, asking myself what I have been learning and how I have been growing as an artist and a person because of the artistic process. However, this time when I sat down to reflect and write, I found myself feeling like Monica’s Christmas tree from a FRIENDS episode. In this particular episode, the FRIENDS gang are all enthusiastically decorating the Christmas tree in a way that truly violates every Element and Principle of Design. Ross remarks in shock that Monica is allowing others to decorate her tree, to which she replies, “Having a perfectly decorated Christmas tree is not what Christmas is all about”. However, Monica then proceeds to rotate the tree 180 degrees to showcase her side of the tree, decorated in a Southern Living and Rockefeller-worthy manner. One tree, two sides—combining the unrefined (and a bit cringe-worthy) with the exquisite; I can’t help feeling like that tree.

I Choose Hope, 10" x 20" Acrylic painting

It seems the further I journey along this path, the more the exquisite and unrefined in me collide. Oscar Wilde once said that “Art imitates life”; however, in my experience, Art does not so much imitate life as it does illuminate it. Each time I begin to plan a painting or pick up my paintbrush to work, my artistic strengths and struggles mirror and illuminate my personal life: abundant joy, and a heart and eye that celebrate the beauty of life bookend what-if’s, unspoken fears, and feelings of “not good enough” in my heart and my paintbrush. Whatever struggles I am facing at my easel are invariably the struggles I’m fighting inside as I face life. Thus, the artistic process has a way of illuminating and bringing these things to the forefront. This is NOT the artistic journey I wanted to write about! No, I wanted to present the side of my artistic journey that is as exquisite and polished as my artistic technique and Monica’s side of the Christmas tree. (Which is why you should have received this newsletter two months ago, but I kept putting it off.) Instead, no matter how long I put this letter off, I kept coming back to the promises I made myself about authenticity and transparency in my journey. While I would love to share artistic accomplishment after artistic accomplishment, the truth is for the last three months I've been struggling because I feel like God is asking me to paint less from photography and my mind’s eye, and more from the eyes of my heart, to let go of the control because neither I, nor my art, are perfect, in essence, to let both sides of my Christmas tree show.

Now some may be thinking that such a sentiment sounds glorious, but the idea of letting the world see both sides of my Christmas tree—imperfections and all—is frankly quite terrifying! So I’ve been struggling these last weeks to let both my life and my art be a more authentic reflection of the exquisite and unrefined, to live and paint from a place of greater freedom of heart and self-acceptance. Though I will continue to use contemporary realistic methods in my work, I do not know exactly what this “letting go” will look like in my upcoming work, but I know that if I and my art are to remain authentic, it is the next right step in my journey.

Autumn Joy, 24" x 18" Acrylic painting

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have great news on the art exhibition front! First, my painting, Autumn Joy won Best of Show in the Traditional Category of Fusion Art’s 6th Annual Landscape Competition. You can view my work and read more about the competition by clicking on this link: In addition to winning top honors, I and the other two Best of Show category winners are invited to participate in a group show in Palm Springs, CA in 2022. Finally, I partnered with a new copywork business in November 2020 to be able to offer limited edition giclées of my work, including my most popular giclées of The Testament, Salvaje (Wild), and Autumn Joy. I am thrilled at the price flexibility this allows me to offer my clients to own museum-quality prints of my original work. To see giclée pricing and available sizes, click here:

From my heart to yours, thank you for your encouragement, your feedback, your support and love.

Here’s to our exquisite and unrefined journeys!


Salvaje (Wild), 36" x 24"Acrylic painting

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