In the summer of 1999, I studied abroad in Italy. One day, during a drawing class in Florence, I remember sketching the interior of Chiesa Santo Spirito, sitting cross-legged on the stone floor of the church, with my drawing board in my lap. My professor came around to critique my work and suggested that rather than getting lost in representing the ornate details of the columns and arches in perspective, I should simply think about how to draw the space contained by the architecture. How would I draw the air itself and the beautiful filtered light? I loved that idea. How would I really depict that intangible feeling of being inside of a particular space?

This summer, when the sun fell across the wall of my apartment, it illuminated that memory. It is a feeling of being inside of a sacred place where the thoughts and emotions of daily life intersect with the larger flow of time. Now, by painting a simpler domestic interior, I can further focus on how to explain all of the intangible things, the personal narratives, that the space contains. The movement of light across a wall or repeated through a stair rail is a reminder of the life that moves through the space. It is a complex tangle of energy, growth, change, and memories. Windows and stairways are the boundaries of the space. These are places where the interior self interacts with the world outside.

Boundary, September 2012

Thinking back to my childhood, I remember my little curiosities and my big wonder about the world. I remember the classic books that were read to me, like The Velveteen Rabbit, with pictures that held so many feelings and abstract ideas to ponder. How powerful these illustrations were, imprinted on my memory through creative storytelling! As the psychologist and author Rollo May says on creating those moments of insight in life, “The world becomes vivid and unforgettable.” I love taking on the role of illustrator today, creating visual narratives with emotional content for smart young readers to learn about their world.

SCBWI Illustration Portfolio, August 2014