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Mistral Gold and Byzantine Blue

Updated: 2 days ago

From green and cyan to gold and Byzantine blue—I look back at the evolution of the Mistral series as it approaches 50 pieces.

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The Story Behind and Evolution of the Mistral Series


As I work on the next evolution of the Mistral series, I am moving away from a primarily cool green and blue palette. I am exploring the use of gold paint and expanding beyond wood panels into transparent Dura-Lar, marble, and large canvases. I want to explain how I arrived at this point, starting from the series' inception.


The Mistral series grew from my affection for shadowboxes, love of the seashore, and newfound self-acceptance. However, the paintings were only made possible through a personal journey of renewal, guided by the profound influence of key individuals who believed in me and my art.


My life took a transformative turn when I relocated to Switzerland with my husband in 2019. It was there that I met a British gallerist, Sophie Scott. She saw the potential in me and encouraged me to create art and exhibit it in her gallery. This gentle nudge was the catalyst that propelled me to become the artist I had always aspired to be. Yet, despite this profound change, I still struggled with accepting myself as an artist. 


I grappled with my identity, tethered to my education and career as a designer, a path that left me unfulfilled. It took the insightful guidance of my art coach, Martha Zlatar, to break free from self-imposed limitations. Together, we identified beliefs holding me back, including the notion that allowing myself joy was frivolous and indulgent. This realization was a crucial step toward embracing my true passion.


Martha and I dug into my past to a time when I created without constraints. Growing up, my grandparents took me to a local New England beach. My favorite time to go was at low tide when there was a bounty of tidepools to explore. I still maintain this fascination, collecting shells and flotsam to mount in pristine white shadowboxes. 


As an exercise, I created a new shadowbox inspired by Joseph Cornell, one of my favorite artists. I applied paint in various ways to create the background, including blowing paint with a straw, a technique I regularly played with as a child. This background is a direct precedent for the Mistral paintings. The series began as ocean-inspired abstraction and, over the years, transformed into cosmic scapes and then celestial portals. 


A new catalyst emerged when artist Joseph Abbati invited me to exhibit in his show "Visible." He presented portraits of influential LGBTQIA+ individuals in the Bay Area art scene. I was honored to be one of the subjects. His use of metallic paints in the portraits inspired me to create pieces that would complement his work, leading to the incorporation of metallics in the Mistral series.


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