I like to say my favorite color is the sky because you can find all the colors there. My name is Miss Dena. I have been aware of my sincere love of art since as early as kindergarten. At age five, when I first stepped into a classroom I created a colorful, crayon colored artwork poetically declaring I like to “pat cats” and that “I want[ed] to be an artist when I [grew] up”. So here I am, multiple decades later still appreciating the beauty that surrounds me every day. Whether it's words that rhyme, stories that create inner resonance or how the colors and textures of my cat Ruggles match the woodgrain, I can’t help but see the world as art.
I have lived most of my life in a small town in Maine surrounded by the forest. Trees, lichen, wildflowers, deer, snow and long blades of grass golden with sunlight are large parts of my warmest memories. I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of the Arts in Teaching (MAT) at Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine. I majored in ceramics and found myself gravitating towards animal and wilderness themes as well as using patterns found in the environments I shared with my family as a child. I have always been inspired by many things and love to explore all types of materials. I have always been playful, imaginative, patient, kind, attentive, empathic and bursting with colorful ideas so teaching comes very naturally to me. I have been teaching art to students from age 5 to age 60 for over six years through public schools, extra curricular programs, summer camps, paint parties and private lessons.
I use art to tap into the places and people who brought me great joy. I believe art making can be a personal place of peace. It can help individuals reflect and express themselves in ways that words cannot. Noticing beauty, patterns and connections in the world and creating artwork inspired by them can expand ideas, boost confidence and release stress. I believe art and creative thinking teaches us to think outside of the box in all aspects of life. It teaches us to take time for ourselves and to persevere through problems that don't always have easy solutions. I want to teach my students to appreciate the little things and that their own, unique talents, experiences and interests have value. We all have the power to bring color and beauty into the world.