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My first journey into painting began at age seven. My mom signed my brothers and me up for an oil painting class. Even then, I remember getting lost in the rest that comes from pushing paint on a canvas. I still have a landscape from that class! Through my school years, art was a refuge from the stress of grades and sports. An amazing high school art teacher gave me a strong basis in color theory and design. In college I focused on "important" work, not my painting "hobby", and studied French and education. I continued to paint as a means of processing emotion and relaxing. With my French major, I got to spend a summer in France. In each small town and of course in Paris, I spent hours and hours walking through museums and galleries, feeding my soul on the beauty of French art. Eventually I put painting aside to become a high school teacher and then stay home with my three amazing kids. A few years ago, I began teaching art as a volunteer Art Docent in my kids' classes. It was actually through teaching little kids and playing around with examples of projects that brought me back to this love of paint. Last spring, I taught a lesson on Georgia O'Keefe's flowers that inspired me to take hundreds of flower pictures and I then painted several as examples for the third graders. When their project was over, I just kept on painting flowers up close. After that, I began painting a series of European windows...of photographs I took way back in college. Next, I jumped into painting landscapes from our family's favorite trips. Looking back, it's like this was what I've been meant to do all along. I am thankful that I can spend hours painting while my kids are now in school. Once they get home, I can continue painting in my studio that doubles as their hang out space. (Sometimes I paint more just so I can keep an eye on them and their friends, without them knowing I'm really spying on them all!) I'm not sure where this journey will take me, but I am excited to travel the road before me pursuing the calling to draw people's attention to the comforting and exhilarating places in Creation. I hope to honor my Creator in representing the soothing beauty he made. I'm also fascinated by the idea that we each have places that are in particular special to us. When I see a canoe on a lake, a host of memories with my family and at camp come pouring back over me. The same is true for Aspen trees and snow. These are places of significantly sweet memories that somehow remind me that all is well in my soul. They are majestic reminders that I am really so small compared to the world and my Creator and yet I matter enough for him to create such beauty that nourishes me. Remembering these places helps me to trust Him and rest in the fun of this journey of life.