Developing your Own Voice Introduction

Listen to Ellie Introduce this LGLC Sample Lesson (You can hear Gemma shaking her big bat-like ears!)

I’m a lifelong artist, with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. Yet, my Master’s degree is in Social Science, which means I’m good at math?

Well, not really. Yet, I can do advanced statistical analysis. My grad school professors told me about studies that show how artists and mathematicians use the same aspect of their brain that can imagine abstract things! More evidence that connect science and art! Over the years I’ve learned to work hard on the areas that I’m “bad at”. Shockingly, I always make improvements. It’s so easy for us to get down on ourselves and feel like failures before we’ve even begun. While at LGLC, let’s put the idea of failure outside in the dog house. We don’t need it with us while we are trying out some new forms of creative expression.

I didn’t realize in high school, or even at art school, that my natural skillset is in bringing people together. I care deeply about my community, which has grown out of California to include folks in Canada, Brazil, Italy and all across the United States. I can’t help but teach everyone how to do art, it’s like a bad habit! I’m thrilled to be able to combine many of my interests into this one project: the Leaves of Grass Learning Center. Most of all, I enjoy inspiring people to collaborate on projects and create a space where art, learning, and sharing ideas can occur. So, maybe it’s ok that my basic arithmetic skills are kind of shaky.

My creative life has become more rich and exciting since I let go of all the types of art I felt like I was supposed to do, and started making the kind of art I want to do. Even if it feels silly or mundane. A great place to start in a creative endeavor is to think about what interests you? A blank page or canvas is wickedly intimidating. What happens when you paint the canvas blue? What comes next after that? An ocean? A sky? A wild mark with your paint brush?

Random things about me

What I like to read

Anything that was written before 1930. I keep trying to read more contemporary novels, but the classics pull me back to read and re-read them. Lately, I’ve decided it’s ok to listen to audiobooks of books I’ve already read, while I make art and go on walks.

All time favorite authors are:

Jane Austen

George Elliot

E.M. Forster

My Favorite Music

Not surprisingly, most of my favorite study and writing music is classical. I also enjoy old-time jazz. Spotify told me I’m in the top 5% of people who listen to Django Reinhardt in the world. Again, not surprising. Really, though my musical tastes go across all genres. I studied dance while I was in high school, and still enjoy drumming up an impromptu dance off!

Abba Dabba, Larry Clinton and his Orchestra 1937:

Try not to dance to this song

My Favorite Artist

Again, lately I’ve been into some of the artists from the Renaissance. Their color palettes are incredibly inspiring. I also appreciate the narratives in the paintings. Over the years, I’ve gone in an abstract direction, but am considering going back into representational art.

All time favorite artists are:

Mary Cassatt

Edouard Manet

Linda Geary

My Natural Skills

While in Barcelona, studying comparative rural policy, I made the mistake of calling a bunch of baby sheep “goats”. Despite growing up in a rural area, I found it difficult to tell the difference.

I’m proud to be a sort of natural cheerleader. We all need encouragement and support, no matter what our goals are. I most enjoy supporting people in creative endeavors, thinking up community projects with others that solve a community problem, and researching how to make things better- because, someone out there has thought of the answer.