T6DH stands for The Six Directions of Healing. An accident provided me an opportunity to explore my inner architecture. I looked to the natural world to aid my healing process. The use of 6 healing modalities, which include diet, complementary, alternative, and integrative approaches to health offered me a second chance at life. In addition to the many surgeries on my arms and hands, I looked to the natural world for alternative remedies in relieving pain. Utilizing natural properties found in the plant and fungi kingdoms, such as turning to a more conscious diet, utilizing teas such as reishi and turkey tail mushrooms, and shifting to a more responsible worldview provided a radical recovery in health and wellbeing. The experience offered me the opportunity to ask how can I be more fully alive, and how can I show gratitude for the offerings of the plant and fungi kingdoms who have aided my recovery? This is how I found my way of sharing gratitude in community. In a recent discussion hosted online by Orion Magazine and Yale School of Forestry: "The Language of Trees: A Conversation with Kathleen Dean Moore and Alison Hawthorne Deming,” I learned all creations share the urge to live. They hold an urgency to protect the plants, animals, and environment which continue to provide us with its generous offerings. Understanding that we are all a part of something much larger than human life is how I find reverence for the natural world at the centerpiece of each work I now create.
I have always been a steward of the natural world. This began more than 20 years ago with the initiation of the Earth Savers Club in high school. I become a licensed wildlife rescuer. In 2010, I lived and worked with Thai Forest Monks and nuns in Thailand. I learned that it is not just our spirit but our bodies that resonate with a life vibrancy that allows us to become more aligned with the natural world. As an artist, it arrives as a calling. Today, I find my calling in The Living Room Laboratory.
I have been an artist for 26 years. For 23 of those years I was an oil painter. I spent the last 4 years learning my boundaries, challenging myself to move forward and learn new ways of continuing to work as an artist by creating works inspired by the natural world. I changed my methods of using oil based paints and resins to using only 100% organic and living materials such as mycelium. I realized that to heal ourselves and this planet, we need to shift our consciousness to a more connected and responsible worldview. Today, I grow my paintings and my sculptures from mycelium, the same material used to grow mushrooms. I also grow my painting palette, which often includes the use of a variety of fruits, vegetables, coffees, and teas. After nearly 4 years of working with my materials, I made the shift to becoming an eco-artist and organic painter. My paintings and sculptures are made using mycelium, seashells, mica minerals, fruits, and vegetables. I then put through an oxidation drying process to make the work as archival as possible. My new body of work is titled
A Generous Kingdom: The Use of Art & Science to Inspire The Next Generation of Gatekeepers. I also promote the organizations who make my work possible and who are changing the international consumer sector in a dramatic way. Ecovative and Grow.bio have developed alternatives to leather, building materials, packaging materials, the fashion industry, alternatives to healthier foods, and many other innovations in development.
Below are samples of past works using oils and resins. This will provide insight on how my medium has changed, but my subject matter will always remain steadfast in the promotion of sustainability and ecology that honor the natural world.
This is how the ocean informs my work:
Much of my work references the ocean and its treasures. The kingdom of seashells is vast and is one of my favorite topics. Their influence on art, archaeology, and commerce is strikingly similar to the fungi kingdom.
Women of Courage:
These painting were made possible in part by the California Arts Council, A State Agency, and The National Arts and Disability Center at the University of California Los Angeles, UCLA. Findings, opinions, or conclusions contained herein are not necessarily those of The California Arts Council, The National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Arts and Disability Center.
Autumn Peltier is an Anishinaabe Indigenous clean water advocate from the Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. She is Chief Water Protector (or Water Walker, which is the name of her documentary) for the Anishnabek Nation and has been called a "water warrior." In 2018, at the age of thirteen, Peltier addressed world leaders at the UN General Assembly on the issue of water protection. The painting I developed honors her courage, her voice, and her wisdom. Water for me is likened to gold. It is what I see as light, engages water, and the two elements come together in movement and create a sacred space. I learned from the journey of creating this piece that such a sacred element to life would be guarded and gifted to a pure heart like Autumn. It is my wish that she continues to guard our waters and receives gratitude for her serving as a guide for others.
MALALA: 3x3ft., oils and collage on canvas. 2020.
Sophie Cruz: 3x3ft., oils and collage on canvas. 2020.
Autumn Peltier Water Walker: 3x3ft., oils, collage and gold leaf on canvas. 2020.
Emma González: 3x3ft., oils and collage on canvas. 2020.
To view the entire body of work please visit: "Women of Courage, Solo exhibition
January 4, 2022 - July 28, 2022
Exhibition for Botanical Art and Illustration
My process involves traveling to the location to absorb its natural surroundings and later visually articulate either onsite or in the studio what I discovered in the experience. Being present and onsite surrounded by the beauty and vibrancy of the ocean translates a narrative of healing in my work. More importantly, my sculptures are meant to share the delicacy of all living creatures found in the depths of the great deep blue.
Water Blessing: 24x36in., oils and collage on canvas. 2014.
Water is an element found in many of my paintings. This painting documents a water ceremony. Songkran in Thai means to move or change place. At some point in Thailand’s history, Songkran integrated with the Water Festival, which historically occurred on the day when the sun changes position in the zodiac. The Thai people believe that water is spiritually purifying: it cleanses you of any bad luck or grievances from the past year and blesses you with fortune and happiness for the year ahead. The festival originated with locals collecting water that had been poured over Buddha statues for cleansing. This was then used to bless village elders and family members by throwing it over their shoulders. Since these somewhat genteel beginnings, Songkran has developed into a kingdom-wide water fight, occurring in April, which luckily happens to be Thailand’s hottest month.