Circa 1980 I discovered that dabbling with a children’s watercolour set enriched the pleasure of sitting around listening to music. Gradually, I learned the joys of watercolour paper and paint that comes in tubes. My energy for painting waxed and waned with the phases of life, motherhood and day job, but it was always there. As a scientist, I am well-established: my graduate students and I publish regularly in highly respected journals and I am frequently invited to speak about my research at conferences and institutions around the world. In contrast, although I have been painting for a quarter of a century, only recently have I “put myself out there” as an artist. The first public showing of my paintings was the month of March 2006 at the Alternative Grounds Gallery/Coffee shop, Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto.
Art and science both provide the excitement of discovery. I start with an idea or hypothesis, do an experiment, and let the results point the way to what happens next. I strive to let the colour and form lead the way, even when it takes me in a direction that is radically different from where I thought I was going. I find this process to be as challenging in art as it is in science and indeed, in life.
My abstract watercolours are occasionally populated by microscopic critters, embryos, fish and other images from the natural world, reflecting both my day job as a biologist and my spiritual connection to the natural world. The images are not intended to be representational. My work is simply an expression of the quiet or joy or turmoil within, influenced by the music and the colours and forms as they emerge.