A piece of advice I got early on about how to make better paintings was to make a lot of paintings and after following that advice for a while now, I understand why it was good advice. There is a level of comfort that develops as materials are used over and over. Brushes, canvas, wood panels, paints and mediums all become simply tools used to express ideas; my familiarity with these objects has allowed me to move into a deeper realm of expression. More personal, less about the surface quality of the paint and the colors themselves. In my last body of work I used a lot of collage including books, tissue, and fabric. During a wander-about in a fabric store one day, I had a rush of memory around sewing and the connections I felt to the generation of women in my family who had sewed clothing, curtains & cushions and also decorative items like lace, needlepoint and crochet. Through their work with their hands they had literally made the households that held and nourished generations of marriages, children and elders. What a legacy they built, what strength they had, and what grit they had, and also what joy they felt when something was beautifully made, appreciated and used. I brought some of this into several paintings for my last show and these paintings were the ones that other people were drawn to. The deep personal connection that I drew on to create this work was what made my work unique and what called to viewers. I'm starting a new body of work this week - and thinking about how to make the connections between the 60's and 70's when I was growing up to who I am now. My hands will go to my familiar old tools, my motley assortment of brushes, buckets of paint and my mind will search for the connections to the intentions and aspirations of the women who formed the world I came into.