About Emily

Artist Statement

Define, Refine, Repurpose & Reinvent Oneself…



College years
As a contemporary folk artist, I march to the beat of my own drum. Weaving watercolor and paper-cutting, I find joy as I incorporate my Pennsylvania German heritage while painting the many charms of nature. I also love color. It's like chocolate- I can never have enough.  

At age eight I squeezed my first oil paint tube, only to find mixing colors was more exciting than Saturday morning cartoons. Growing up in the rural countryside of Pennsylvania, tucked in the Appalachian Mountains, the beauty of creation inspired my oil paintings and watercolors.  Pleasantly plump as a child with severe asthma, I was the target of bullies– art was my outlet for empowerment, achievement & success.

Middle School
8 yrs. old
High School Creations
Nature and landscapes were my focus for some time, before I transitioned into "Flags", as my mother calls them.  I visited an Iris farm in North Dakota where thousands of colored petals blanketed a very large area.  I took many pictures of the beauties and was inspired to re-create the detail of the petals; countless colors with their fancy scalloped edges.

Pennies from Heaven

Sharing the Gifts II
However, in recent years as an artist, I realized I was at a point of necessary growth when I asked myself, (drum-roll please)…How are my paintings unique? I was speechless. Having no answer made me feel uncertain and insecure about my direction as an artist. This moment set into action, a chain of events, some conscious decisions and others that were totally out of my control. As in science class, when one mixes oxygen with phosphorus, an explosion occurs. I didn’t blow up, but it created a new vision & clear path with a solid foundation.

Bobbin' for Berries

“Once you know where you come from, you have a better understanding of where you’re going.”

As an artist and teacher, I provide Artist-in-Residence programs to students across the nation, K-12.  Subconsciously the words I share with students had a direct impact on my artwork, “Once you know where you come from, you have a better understanding of where you’re going.” I felt a deep need to learn about the Folk Art of my people; Pennsylvania German AKA, PA Dutch.


My ancestral quest took me to the Heritage Center in Kutztown PA where I was able to fulfill a portion of the emptiness. I was introduced to Scherenschnitte, German paper cutting and Fraktur, black letter type records. I instantly made a connection with these 2 forms of expression and used them as a vehicle to drive my work in a fresh direction that was personal to me; a unique approach which explains where I come from.  The 1st style of works emerged; pictured on left.

Dad's Darter

I Wandered With Winter

While fine tuning these, the 2nd style naturally emerged; paper cuts with watercolor in a circular form known as the “Centripetal Satire” series ( below left).  This series was born, when during my research, I was drawn to a PA German Valentine of very fine cutwork titled “Lovebird”; colorful birds in circular columns, completed by a schoolmaster in the early 1800’s.  Putting my spin on the circle, I wrap objects with irony to tell a story with a twist.


I have a new Georgia O’Keeffe inspired series, “Where Land and Sky Meet.”  It emulates the clean, natural beauty of the earth.  The moon, stars, mountains and water are prominent features, also the buffalo skull.  Georgia O’Keeffe was familiar with the cow skulls she found while hiking around her Abiquiu home.  I am familiar with the buffalo skulls.  I never thought I would be painting skulls, but I realized, once you understand death, you can appreciate life.  What started out as two very distinct visions, has become an entire series. 


The framing is also an art.  I frame all my works which are quite laborsome and time consuming; another part of the design phase which brings the piece to life & fulfills my complete vision.


Weaving realism with my culture is food for my soul, filling me with the need to learn more and share that knowledge with others. It has given me a stronger sence of self, awareness of the world and excitement as an artist. I have found my voice and wish to inspire others. 

As I continue to research my ancestors designs, it’s amazing, the comparisons I find in our artwork.  I revel at our love of flowers and birds.  Imagination, patience and embellishments are three things they impart and lastly I bring my heart. 

East Meets Midwest

Where Land and Sky Meet

Short-term goals: Create a traveling show, a one-person exhibit to travel libraries across the nation. 

A long-term goal: be represented by the National Folk Art Museum in New York City during a one-person exhibit.