After my first trip to India and meeting my family for the first time, well let's just say a lot of firsts happened on that trip to India, I felt a great love for my family and discovered a new love for the Indian culture...almost like a hug. Yes, that was it! I wanted to hug the country! How do I portray a hug? Lately, I had been doing a lot of work on the heart, and I knew that feelings such as love are felt strongest from the heart. I wanted to incorporate that into my work, so I came up with the idea of the heart with the veins reaching out with love and hugging my family in both countries.
When I was in India, I discovered that the marigold flower is everywhere, which was surprising to me, since the only place I had seen so many was in my home town the Marigold capital of Illinois, Pekin. I knew right away that was not just a coincidence. I wanted to include that in my work as well, so I nestled my heart in the marigold flower.
I learned about Ganesha while I was there and his story. There was something very welcoming, kind, fun, and whimsical about him that I loved. I felt I could identify with him very easily, and it wasn't hard to feel his presence, since he is everywhere in India. He also found his way into my artwork as well. More about Ganesha
The butterfly from my childhood also found it's way into my work. The story about how it met me while I waited for the bus on the first days of school and how my mother swore it looked like we were dancing together. More about my butterfly story...
So in a way it turned out to be a sort of portrait of my life up to that point. I had all these things in my head and one day I sat down and did a drawing of it. The minute I finished the drawing, I knew it needed to become a print edition.
Below is the sketch. As you will notice if you look closely, it is color coded, so that when I began my plates, I would be able to know what to carve out.