Paul, a fine art printmaker, remembers her father's concern during the 1970s for his daughter to leave home to chase after a questionable ambition. But Paul was determined to pursue her goal and be the first in her family to graduate from college. Paul admits that part of her reason in going to college was to experience life away from home. However, on her visits home she always found comfort in her mother's efforts as a multi-purpose artist. "Some of my earliest impressions were memories of my mother encouraging me to model figures out of pie dough, and the detailed paper dolls she created out of cardboard scraps for me," Paul says. Paul's mother encouraged her to follow her dream and become an artist.
Paul had spent her early childhood on a family farm in Snyder County, where she says she developed a great appreciation for nature at an early age, recalling her summers camping, "I always loved exploring nature," she says. From the exhausted look of an outdated building to the weathered texture of a worn barn door, Paul's interest in textures and aged surfaces emerged. The rural landscape and familiar fields her father worked in continue to inspire her. "I find that when I drive to the country where I grew up, looking at that same view, there's a relaxation element, a sanctuary in the natural world," she says.
Paul taught art at Milton High School for 32 years, retiring in 2008. She had graduated with a B.S. in art education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1975, and later earned an M.A. in art from Bloomsburg University. Paul's motivation behind becoming an educator derived from her love of art. "I've always loved art, created art and felt I was successful in making it."
Many of Paul's pieces are collages, multiple images sometimes placed alongside of, between, or even overlapping other images within a single work. A unique piece of her art includes tiger lilies, a piece of window screen and cut-out lace pattern titled, "Linear Lilies," which Paul suggested as, "almost like putting a puzzle together."
Sketches and collages aren't the only techniques Paul uses to create her prints. She uses numerous printing techniques, combining multiple images into each print on her press in her home studio. Some of the techniques Paul uses in her printmaking are collagraph, monotype, etching, dry point etching, and chine colle [see sidebar].
Paul continues to draw inspiration from familiar surroundings, including her own garden at her home in Northumberland, which she calls her "sanctuary." She did a series based on her garden, "Impermanence," which she refers to as "very stark, abstract textures representing the passing of time."
Another series, "Fleeting Moments," was initially presented to "remind us to take care of what we have. Though it is beautiful, it won't be around forever if we don't take care of it," Paul says.
Paul is a member of the Milton Area Artisan Society, the Susquehanna Art Society, and Artspace Gallery in Bloomsburg. Her art has been selected in juried shows and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions. She was selected for an exhibition at State College, "Teacher as Artist," and has won numerous awards including, "Most Influential High School Teacher," in 2001. "I think the most gratifying thing, especially about teaching high school kids, is seeing them succeed. Whether they went out and became art teachers or some type of professional artist, or just seeing that they appreciate sculpture and artwork outside the school setting," Paul says.
As a teacher she talked about women artists, the Guerilla Girls specifically, who were a collection of artists, professors, and women known for using creative posters to promote women and people of color in the arts. "When I retired I used to tease the kids and tell them I was going to become a Guerrilla Girl," she says. From art history lessons to modern art museum class fieldtrips, she encouraged her students to witness and support women in the arts and the idea that women could participate as equally as men.
Regardless of the controversy and rebellion she faced with her father's concern in her career decision, Paul still attributes much of her art inspiration to his background as a farmer, and the outdoor impressions she experienced with her family growing up. "I continue to grow and learn, especially through my associations with fellow artists particularly those at Artspace," she says. Although today Paul has happily chosen the role of wife and mother, her decision to overcome her father's objections to become an artist has given her more reality than any role society could have assigned her.
Collagraph- created by building up the printing plate in a collage manner with boards, fabrics, and found objects. The plates can be inked by rolling ink over the surface, highlighting the raised textures (relief roll) by rubbing the ink into the depressions and wiping the surface clean.
Monotype - made by painting on a plexiglass (or other) surface with oil or water-based inks and printing the image onto dampened paper.
Etchings - images printed from metal plates that have been scratched into with a scribe and the scratched lines are bitten into the surface with an acid solution. Ink is rubbed into the lines and wiped form the surface.
Dry Point Etchings - created by scratching into a plexiglass plate. Ink is rubbed into the lines and wiped from the surface.
Chine Colle - French term for collage. Papers are glued onto the printing surface during the printing process.