Artist's Statement

"All I am or will ever be is deep inside of me." I do not remember in my meanderings where this statement came from, but I believe it suits me. It took a lot of years to realize that paint brushes, clay, stones and canvas were the tools that would help me dig into the depths of who I am. With a little creativity I could show those willing to take a little journey through my art where I am came from, where I am going and perhaps a little of who I am.

I did not set out to "show anyone" who I am through my work. I am a human who is so affected by the world around me that processing it through art is as natural as scraping mud from the bank of the Atchafalaya River. As a child I needed to form a fish from that river clay far more than to catch the catfish my Momma needed for supper.

I love large canvases and large urns and vases to paint and glaze upon - there is so much to say and so much to explore in this world. I paint in bright bold colors – because I see the world as a bright bold place with a million things to discover every single day. The people in my paintings are curious because I am and I love to bring out the natural curiosity children all seem to possess.

My work is intentionally expressive due to a stubborn streak I found I possessed when taking formal art classes. Professors taking my brush out of my hand to "show me" the right way only made me more intent on finding my way. I find that my way has become letting go and reconnecting with that six year old I was playing on the bayou, seeing the world as that child, feeling anything is possible playing with clay unburdened, with absolute abandon. Letting go is key for me and I can truly see when I have achieved that in my work.

Christine A. Hardaker-Merritt