In Brookly, NY, June 2011
At Janet Borden Gallery, NYC, June, 2011

95 Clifton Street
Belmont, MA 02478, USA

Born in Carmel, California, to parents from different countries, I was raised between two worlds that have affected me profoundly in the way I view it. Growing up amidst the wild landscape and bohemian circle of artists and writers of the small communities of Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur were contrasted against a backdrop of a more urban life in Hampstead, London, where we had homes. Both environments were rich in culture and I feel fortunate to have had parents that copiously fed us on all the arts. We would be pulled out of school in sleepy Carmel and taken to Europe by train and boat, schooled abroad then pulled out again to be trundled into a car whose roof was piled high with suitcases and trunks and explore Europe for months on end. We spent weeks on the road, careening around steep mountains, picnicking in forests, and spending nights in such places as Bavarian farm houses. My father would knock on doors asking to rent rooms, often in the middle of nowhere other than a mountain or a forest, along with a friend of my mother’s that traveled with us and spoke numerous languages. Midway through months of travel she somehow would disappear and we would then travel to cities that were a stark contrast as there was nothing modest about the posh hotels in the big cities where clothes were unpacked from trunks, washed and ironed and we were expected to be good. We would then meet up with my mother’s friend in Villach, where we spent endless summer weeks in the Austrian Alps at Lake Ossiach,  gorging ourselves on summer apricots and cherries, eating splitz in the mountains or Wiener Schnitzel and Sachertorte or Malakofftorte in Villach and neighboring Alpine towns. I was not raised in a religious environment however my parents seemed fixated on visiting churches, tiny to huge and looking at very peculiar paintings of people being tortured or crying, or baby Jesus in the arms of his mother, radiating light. I was terrified.

For as long as I can remember I have loved the sea, and painted it. The staggeringly beautiful coastline of my youth has become an integral aspect in my work and its wilderness seems to entwine just about everything in my life. Ancient mythologies of trees inbedded with moss tendrilled whispers and echoes of deer, coyote, mountain lions are never very distant. In fact, I was named after the daughter-in-law of the poet Robinson Jeffers, whose home I spent days and nights, our parents being good friends. I witnessed the house being built, as Robinson and his family and friends dragged rocks up from the beach below his house, eventually building his stone office, Hawk Tower, where Una and I would race up the narrow stairwell much to the irritation of this poet. As I grew up and traveled back and forth to Europe, this immersion from birth into such dramatic surroundings of California segued into a need to find signs of nature in city environments. And yet, upon arriving in Europe that first time, at seven years of age, I felt my body relax for the first time into a land that felt more mine and one of historic belonging. The contrast of having divided my life between two continents has contributed to my investigation of transformation and renewal. I was fortunate to have lived in landscapes of astounding beauty that have nurtured my sensibilities. Hampstead, after all was the stomping ground of such greats as John Keats.

The landscapes that I make are intertwined with my love for literature as well as places that have inspired me.  Included are early Eastern and mystic texts of the Levant, or Native American poetry, to allegories used in Troubadour songs from the Pays d’Oc on fine amour (noble, divine love).  From researching Leigh Hunt’s fascinating circle of “young poets” during the British Romantic movement, circa 1820, especially the life and letters of John Keats whose aesthetic appreciation strongly reflects my own. The warren from that rabbit hole has more recently and inevitably taken me to ancient Greece, Anatolia and Italy. As of 2023, I am currently examining those exquisite mythologies and rituals of the Eleusinian and Dionysian mysteries that were appropriated into the foundations of the heretic, early Archeo Christian cult, before being completely subsumed and transubstantiated by the Roman Catholic Church in the fifth century AD.

Evocation is the basis of my work. I endeavor to bring to life those moments of clarity and unity found in the solitary appreciation of Nature. I pull on the dialectical tension between light and dark that I use metaphorically to capture transformation and enlightenment that follows. Twilight is a common, recurring theme in my work and it is the time of day I love the most, when the birds begin to settle in the trees for the night, other creatures stir, the deer come out, the flowers close in on themselves, bees sleep nestled inside a bloom. Less obviously, I play on parallel Universes as an undercurrent archetypal expression of subconscious worlds that dictate what we think is reality but perhaps is closer to our perception of realities, all being ultimately illusionary. I am alluding to the chimeras that comprise the experiences of life. Interested in Quantum Mechanics and String Theory, I don’t pretend to understand most of it but I will happily float down the river of mysterious sciences. The sea and landscapes that I paint are embedded with meaning and are meant to transport the viewer into an internal dialogue with both the inner and outside forces of Nature that form one’s own spiritual world.

A handful of snippets from my story, or to know me a little better:

My childhood was immersed in the artistic worlds of Carmel, Carmel Highlands, Big Sur, and Cannery Row.

While in high school, around 1966-67, my liberal parents allowed me to attend numerous workshops and weekend classes during the early days of The Institute for the Study of Nonviolence, founded in Carmel Valley in 1965 and run by Joan Baez and Ira Sandperl. We studied peace and activism in Joan’s house that was under construction and it was wonderful. Mimi Fariña taught ballet in what was then my school, Sunset School, in Carmel, now a center for the arts. The unexpected death of Mimi’s husband, Richard Fariña was a profoundly sad experience for me – I was thirteen. An excellent book I highly recommend about this circle of musicians is written by a friend, David Hajdu by the title of Positively Fourth Street and can be purchased off his website or other platforms.

An important early adult influence for me was when I first met the Austrian painter and printmaker,  Frederic Hundertwasser I was only eighteen, in 1970. We began a curious and strange relationship but after several years it was all too much for someone as young as I was at this time and I chose to end that liaison.  I spent time with Frederic in Vienna and Venice during early the early seventies and continued sporadic correspondence until the last few years of his life. In 1972, I shared the top floor of 5 Gayton Crescent in Hampstead London with Peter Overend Watts, bass player for Mott the Hoople. Needless to say this was a great time to be young and a very entertaining time to be in London, landing in the midst of the English Rock and Roll scene. My house mate/friend was a delightful soul and he took me to many clubs, recording sessions and introduced me to a young David Bowie that was in the midst of producing Mott the Hopples’s hit song, All The Young Dudes. 5 Gayton Crescent was hardly glamorous, it was almost identical to living in the midst of Rising Damp, a comic British television series I sometimes return to when I’m particularly nostalgic.

My mother had been a dancer in her youth so from the time I was about three or four I followed in her footsteps. Concurrent to studying at California College of Arts and Crafts in 1969-71, I also studied full time at Shawl Anderson Dance Studio that was originally on College Avenue, a subsidiary of the Martha Graham School. Moving to London, England at the age of nineteen I enrolled at Byam Shaw school of art but by the time I was 20, and at Frederic Hundertwasser’s advice, unbeknownst to my parents who were in California at the time, I dropped out of school. It was far more colorful to dance professionally and so I joined and toured with Stomu Yamash’ta’s Red Buddha Theatre production of Man From the East, in England during 1972/73.

I Lived in London and Paris with fellow dancer and musician Goro Kunii from 1972-1978, a deeply loved friend and source of inspiration, with whom I travelled to Africa, living on the island of Lamu, in Kenya during 1977 and 1978. Our friendship is ongoing.

In 1981 I married Belgian photographer Jean-Francois De Witte.  I have one child, Melissa, from this brief marriage, spending time between Brussels, and Kortryk in Belgium, then to Paris and La Roque Baignard in Normandy.

While working as a printmaker in England from 1973 through 1992  I was represented primarily by Lumley Cazalet art gallery in London. I printed in the studios of Annabel Maunsell and Ben Cabrera, (Bencab),  and at Camden Art Center during the 70’s and 80’s.

Because of time spent in Africa over numerous time periods, scientific friends asked me to partake in a short sojourn with Harvard School of Health in Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Ghana in 1986. Those friends were researching HIV/AIDS in West Africa and out of the blue I landed in the midst of medical investigations there with sex workers.  After this moving experience I became an AIDS activist and volunteer and from1987-1991. I volunteered as a buddy to dying patients and volunteered at the Terrence Higgins Trust. I took paid jobs in London’s first AIDS/HIV Counseling Service at the Royal Free Hospital in London, and then continued in HIV/AIDS as an administrative research assistant to professors in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London University. My heart grieves for those that suffer from this cruel and lethal disease.

I forget what year it was after 2010 that the author Henry Lincoln entered my life. This deep friendship changed the entire trajectory of my life though it fit in well with my already mystical thinking and artwork. Thanks to this special man, I discovered South West France, was reunited with my love of troubadour music and the Gitane (Roma) culture that embraces Mary Magdalene. This has led me to study in depth The Gospel Of The Beloved Companion, an ancient text ascribed to the Magdalene herself, scrupulously translated by the wonderful and delightful Jehanne de Quillan with whom I have the honor of studying and knowing.

An accident in 2019 caused a NDE (near death experience) that has allowed my brain to function differently and to experience the universe through a different lens.

I Love poetry, history and non-fiction delving into ancient fields of consciousness, old movies, good food, all of the animal kingdom, trees and forests, the sea with a gravitational pull to the Pacific Ocean whose energies feel feminine to me. I have Lived in Europe half my life, I currently reside in Lexington MA, USA but am working towards relocating back in France, down south of course. I travel frequently to California, especially Carmel, Pacific Grove and Big Sur where I have family and childhood friends.

At the Big Sur Folk Festival, Esalen Hot Springs, 1969, photo by Tom O’Neal, né Gundlefinger