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About Gretchen

I grew up in rural Maine, supported by the many creative people in my family, where the weather and raw landscape made their impression on me. I majored in art at Bates College and spent a semester at the Tyler School of Art in Rome. After the birth of my first daughter, I left a graphic design job to become a full-time mom but made art a priority ten years later. As a painter and occasional graphic designer, I live in Westford, MA with my husband, two teen girls, a nervous Bernese Mountain dog and a sassy calico cat.

ARTIST STATEMENT (updated 2018): Why do I do this?

I am addicted to being in “the zone”—the I-am-making-something-and-have-therefore-lost-all-awareness-of-anything-besides-the-paint-and-paper moments of making art. It starts with something I’ve seen or heard outside the studio, (I’m perpetually on the hunt for the interesting and beautiful—especially small, insignificant things) that has made me stop and think—a shadow, a line, a phrase, a place where contrasting colors meet. Once I have faced the empty paper and gotten some marks/colors down, my process becomes more intuitive and responsive—using gestural marks, wet-on-wet painting, playing with transparent and opaque paint, wiping out and painting over the ghosts of marks left behind, and lines… so many lines. I use the lines as a tool for making connections, creating structure, texture, and moving the eye around the piece. My current love affair with paper stems from the non-preciousness of it that seems to foster experimentation, mistakes, and mapping out of ideas. I often play with the idea of mixing organic shapes and textures with architectural or mechanical elements. Sometimes I think, “How would God design a mailbox or a powerline? What would a cathedral look like if it grew out of the ground?” Yes, there is a spiritual element to my work. I try to honor, copy, and hold on to truth and beauty that can only come from a loving and brilliantly imaginative creator. Other influences: Star Wars and outer space, phrases Krista Tippet says on her podcast, “On Being,” insect wings, weather, kites, bridges, my dad’s engineering drawings, and instruction manuals.

I’m realizing that the title of an abstract piece carries an equal—and sometimes greater— impact as the artwork itself. I like a title to leave room for the viewers’ imagination—to take a second look and decide what the piece means to them, while giving them a springboard that helps that thought process along. My daughters are title geniuses and help me come up with the best ones.

SIDE NOTE: I'm right-handed, but I draw and paint with my left hand--sometimes both hands at the same time!

EDUCATION:

Bates College, B.A., Studio Art, 1996

Temple University, Tyler School of Art, Spring Semester Abroad in Rome, 1995

SHOWS

2016--Westford Regional Art Event, Parish Center for the Arts, Westford, MA

2016--First-Annual Juried Exhibit, Milton Art Center, Milton, MA

2016--"Abstracted" Juried Show, Chelmsford Center for the Arts, Chelmsford, MA

2016--Solo Show: "Ladders," Epsom Public Library, Epsom, NH

2017--Solo Show: "Float," Parish Center for the Arts, Westford, MA

2017--18th Annual Roddy Art Competition and Juried Show, Concord Art Association, Concord, MA

2017-2018--Juried Show and Affordable Art Show, Zullo Gallery, Medfield, MA

2018--Members Juried Show MJ1, Concord Art Association, Concord, MA

2018--Third-Annual Juried Exhibit, Milton Art Center, Milton, MA

PUBLICATIONS

Dialogist: Quarterly Poetry & Art, Vol. IV, Issue III, https://dialogist.org/v4i1

Cassidy, Benjamin: “Art Selfies: Is Instagram Worth the Time?”, Art New England, March/April 2018, p. 18-19

AWARDS:

2016--Best in Show. Westford Regional Art Event,  March 2016, "Foggy Morning"

2017--First Prize. Art Muse "Abstracted" Contest, December 2017, "Refined"

WORKSHOPS

Water Lab: Art Experiments on Yupo Paper--West Elm, Burlington, Aug. 22, 2017

ABOUT THE NAME OF THIS SITE: Toddy Pond is a real pond, which is walking distance from where I grew up, and also the name of a tiny, alternative-education school my parents and some of their friends started and where my brothers and I attended. When someone says, "just go to your happy place"--I always think of Toddy Pond.