I grew up one block away from the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa. I am the youngest of 5 children and the first-born U.S. citizen of a German immigrant family. I dropped out of school after my first attempt at college to vagabond around Europe. Later and more prepared, I received a BFA (1991) and an MA (1993) from Iowa State University and an MFA from Drake University (1996).
Mainly a painter, in 2002, I began experimenting with encaustic painting. Encaustic translates as, “to burn in “. It is an ancient technique (approx. 500 A.D.), which predates oil painting. The traditional medium is molten beeswax, in which pigment has been added. The wax, in its molten state, is transferred with a brush, to the surface to be painted. It solidifies very quickly. Surfaces are built up and parts are excavated to correct or to reveal the past. These layered histories coexist and are sometimes revealed through subsequent building up of translucent colors.
Painting is the vehicle that I use to express what I have experienced. The expression of nature as the subject is poetic and not a literal interpretation. The subjects exist within the ambiguity of space or circumstance. The notion of reconciliation of opposites is present. The intention is to articulate and to evoke an inexpressible longing, memory or truth.
My paintings have been exhibited widely in juried national and international venues as well as solo and invitational exhibits. In 2011, I applied for and received an Iowa Arts Council Major Grant.
I am an Associate Professor and have been teaching drawing and painting at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa since 1993.