"Every painting is a self-portrait."
About Paula Moser Steffen
I was raised in Des Moines, Iowa and spent many hours immersed in the eclectic collection of the Des Moines Art Center. There, among the work of artists such as Rodin, Rouault, and Rothko, I took numerous classes in drawing, sculpture, and design. I continued my art education at Iowa State University, where I majored in anthropology, with a double minor in psychology and art. At that time, I explored organic shape and color contrast with linocut prints. Native American patterns were a strong influence.
After marrying and raising two babies, I returned to graduate school and moved to Boston to earn my Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Boston University. During that period I worked with a variety of mediums. My primitive clay figures were informed by neoshamanic journeys as well as the work of archeologist Marija Gimbutas. By the mid 1990s, I was painting with acrylics, creating still lifes, landscapes, and action paintings.
While working as a behavioral psychologist, I also began writing crime fiction (under the name P.M. Steffen). Around 2003 I created altered books and continued working in mixed media — sketching, drawing, painting, collage — integrating patterns of my life — scientific graphs borrowed from my years in the research lab juxtaposed with musical notation and crime fiction text as background for a study in birds, for example.
Recent interests include abstract expressionist painting, found object assemblage, monoprint, collage, and mixed-media abstracts.
I continue exploring the world through mark-making by taking live workshops and on-line courses with artists Michael B. Wilson, Carol Blackwell, Richard Kattman, Robert Collins, Jane Davies, Lynn Whipple, Randel Plowman, and Anne Marie Grgich.