For nearly the past four decades, I have enjoyed the privilege of teaching studio arts classes at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Kendall College of Art & Design. Having recently retired, time has come full-circle for Professor Starck to practice what she’s been ‘preaching’ all these years. The natural world is my holy muse; it serves to heal and astonish. Water. Rocks. Trees. Birds. Insects. In a word, Nature; cloud watcher, birder, gardener, rock collector, weather observer, and former beekeeper, it is these activities and more that I delight in. My best advice: tune in and resonate to the harmonics of the great outdoors and all shall be well.
My Master of Fine Arts graduate degree is in Printmaking from University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and my areas of expertise are drawing and fine art printmaking. As a relief printmaker, I find the act of carving into a plank of wood to be akin to getting acquainted with a new person and discovering some of their unique and sometimes quirky personality traits. Each tree is unique, and each was once alive and breathing. Once a tree is cut and dried into planks or blocks, its Life is put to new creative purposes. Carving into wood is a contemplative act whilst inking and the printing process is meditative. These things require the printmaker to be sensitive to the unique behavioral qualities of each tree’s receptivity or resistance to touch. In a printmaker’s studio, the repetitive process of printing seems to slow down time and one enters a state of flow, of meditative bliss. No computer techno-wizardry nor whiz-bang photo-digital reproduction is of any interest for me; I much prefer the sensory-loaded, process-oriented, hands-on making of fine art original prints. In our frenzied, modern times, this repetitive, contemplative, meditative, physical activity of printing offers an island of calm creative refuge. Combined with being up north on the south shore of Lake Superior, it’s an absolute win-win state of being.
As for inspiration and subject in my art, whilst here on our one wild & precious Earth, I rejoice in the beauty & glory of Mother Nature. In this way, my art is the response to the recognition of my life’s brevity. “You can’t take it with you”, they say…so, I create and draw and paint and carve and print and make. The result is a series of small prayers and celebratory blessings created in the Spirit of Gratitude for this Gift of Time called Life.