I was born to an artistic mother and an inquisitive father, working on his PhD in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago. Shortly after he received his degree, the family moved to Shelton WA near Olympia. He could work there as a research chemist, but far more importantly to him, be near the mountains he avidly loved to climb.
I grew up with my two sisters, spending as much time as possible in the mountains and forests. Art seemed as natural as breathing during my early elementary years. Art lessened for awhile due to lack of opportunities and teaching. Music came to the fore in the form of flute playing in the Seattle Youth Symphony.
I attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, sight unseen, and then thought it was the ugliest place I had ever seen on first sight. Over time the brown hills became golden in my eyes, as I learned to appreciate new kinds of beauty. I never appreciated, however, the lack of an interdisciplinary degree, which would have been perfect for me. Looking back it appears I have spent the rest of my years creating an interdisciplinary life.
After receiving an MEd from the University of Oregon, I eventually moved with my husband, William Madill, whom I had met at Stanford, to Portland and went to medical school at what is now OHSU. After a residency in Internal Medicine, I worked at St. Vincent and then moved to the faculty of the Legacy Good Samaritan and Emanuel residency training program. I was medical director of the clinic at Good Samaritan, had a small practice and taught while there.
My husband and I have two children, Catriona Buhayar, married to Ben, and Cameron Madill. I find much of my joy outside of work in my family, extended family and friends who are like family.
I virtually always did art on the side during my medical days. As I started taking classes at OCAC, my interest slowly grew. Finally it expanded exponentially. Although medicine remained very meaningful to me, the art made it clear that it was time for art full-time. I gave six months notice and then moved into this new, larger art direction. I first went to OCAC, which was great, and then moved to PNCA, when it became clear to me that I needed painting classes from many teachers to learn all I wanted. I finished my senior thesis in painting in 2007. It was focused on improvisation and water. Since I did not find much written about improvisation in the visual arts, I also fortuitously found four informal mentors in addition to my painting mentor, Victor Maldonado. They included Kim Stafford, writing; Dennis Plies, jazz; Pat Wong, modern dance; and Ron Paul, cooking. Each of them was invaluable and deeply appreciated to this day.
After finishing at PNCA, I have been painting full-time and becoming ever more excited about it. Some of my ongoing themes include breadth, interconnection, improvisation, interdisciplinary possibilities and ekphrasis*. My two recent painting series have both been universe-inspired. My desire for breadth is being fulfilled! I have three nearly finished interconnected ones, a geology-inspired series, “Worlds Behind Worlds,” a Jungian shadow-inspired one, “Inner/Outer” (which itself consists of 5 subseries), and a series, “Renga,” in collaboration with Tibetan Buddhist poet, Connee Pike. Besides the painting itself, I am especially enjoying working in various interdisciplinary ways with a wide variety of other people, including astronomers, astrophysicists, dancers, storytellers, poets, and musicians, among others. Additionally, my husband and I are working more and more collaboratively, currently on a grant to fabricate changing lighting and benches for the “Worlds Behind Worlds” series.
*Ekphrasis most commonly refers to the creation of a poem in response to a piece of visual art. Its broader definition, which I prefer, alludes to the creation of any kind of work of art (music, dance, poetry, theater, visual etc.) in response to any other kind of art. I am also intrigued with the idea of expanding that to art and science responding to each other.