Here's a dorky recent photo of me. January 2001.

I think I started painting for a few different reasons. One is colors - they are like a drug to me. When I squeeze them out of the tube & begin using them, it is like my eyes are drinking something they've been thirsty for & I feel more satisfied & alive. I started painting when I was young - I remember one day when I was 5 years old I tranced out completely while painting.... I didn't have the words for that kind of transcendant experience, but I knew what had happened and I knew I wanted to do that, over and over.

(I was a self-aware kid.) My mother was/is an artist (see her Web site), which was an influence. When I was 5 & in Kindergarten, the teacher asked us all what we wanted to do when we grew up - I said I wanted to paint pictures for people to hang up on their walls! When I was 9, I wrote & illustrated a story, and I felt so high on the energy of it all, I knew that that was what I wanted to do. I strayed from painting/drawing for a long time - returned to it off and on - but felt frustrated because I didn't feel I was any good at it & my mother was very competitive & critical. I took art & calligraphy classes until I was about 11 or 12, but felt frustrated just copying work out of magazines. I have to say I was weak for many years and because of my inability to manifest what I saw inside, I had a love/hate relationship with visual art. I was more loyal to writing - I have thousands & thousands of pages of work now. It took me years to find my voice in writing - I spent a long time writing for an inner critic, but I think now I write from a place deep inside of me, and I respect and honor that place. I am just now beginning to entwine my art & writing. I am working on an illustrated novel, Green Things Rising. (You can read excerpts of it here.)

I know it sounds hokey, but I do feel like a child of the forest. I always need to live at least near the forests - I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest when I was still a teenager, living in the East Coast (near New York City) - I saw some photos of the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic National Rainforest, the Redwoods, and knew I had to live out here. I moved to Washington state a few years ago, and was very happy there as far as place goes. I had some troubles & bad luck though, and moved down to San Diego for two years. Being away from my Pacific Northwest was a big mistake, as I tried to feel magic in the faded browns & greens of the scrub brush and the endless suburban tracts down south. I moved up to Northern California, in the heart of the Redwoods, just last year. I need to live by the ocean (I prefer rocky shores) & the forest, so this is perfect for me, though basically anywhere along the northwestern coast is. There is a magic in the forests, an energy that is giving, entwined, healing, mystical, spiritual. When I walk through the giants, I am in awe of the towering, natural cathedral. I find my deep, quiet, religious space there, although it is always available to me or anyone, at any time. Place does mean a lot to me. There are some people - like my best friend Mark - who do not have a particular affinity to one place or another, but I find myself drawn to particular places, for reasons unknown to my conscious mind.

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