About Me

Artist Statement

My work is about being brave on unexpected journeys. Mixing personal and universal symbols drawn from a range of folkore traditions, my paintings are about looking up to the stars, opening up to wonder, trusting to intuition and following impossible dreams. Inspired by a deep desire to explore the world and seeking respite from everyday anxieties, my works are full of characters pursuing unknowable quests and animal totems acting as guides through looking glass lands touched by fairy tale magic. From reinterpreting local landscapes to imagining entirely new dreamscapes I paint the world as I would like it to be - full of secret symmetries and hidden meaning.

Creative Process

From signing my name backwards at the start to building a spiral of stars one cocktail stick pinprick at a time, my process is time-consuming and meticulous, requiring months and sometimes years to bring an idea from its initial sketch to it’s finished form. Rich in layers and vibrant colours, concepts evolve continuously throughout the painting process until each pane of plain, ordinary window glass has been transformed into something extraordinary. 

Artist Bio

Now based in West Sussex in the south of England, I was born and grew up in California before attending Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. I graduated in 1996 with a BA in Literature and a minor degree in Russian language. Since then I have travelled extensively around Europe, living for extended periods in Belgium, Jordan, Ukraine and Croatia. 

Today I balance my creative practice with my role as a parent/carer for my children, one of whom has special learning needs related to Autism. These two parts of my life have not always been compatible and, knowing first hand how much of a struggle this can be, I now actively support other Carers who want to develop their creative interests alongside their Caring roles. Please see the Community Arts section below.

The Croatian Naive and Me

While in Croatia I was introduced to the Croatian Naive art tradition of reverse oil painting on glass. Over three sessions I practiced the basic skills of putting paint to glass before I was told that I was ‘no longer a student but a colleague’ and instructed to answer my own questions. While my work is very different from anything else in this tradition, I cherish the sense of context and grounding that the tradition has given my creative practice and  the emotional and aesthetic resonances I continue to find as I discover new works from the tradition’s past. Above all though, I value the friendship and mentorship of those contemporary artists who have welcomed me into their circle so warmly. 


Prior to 2010 I worked in self-taught watercolours - creating a series of original postcards, illustrations and seasonal greetings cards over many years. 

In 2010 I was introduced to the reverse oil painting on glass technique by the Croatian Naive artist Ivica Fišter, he then introduced me to Katarina Krvarić while an expat friend introduced me to her landlord, Željko Seleš.

In 2011 I was invited to participate in the "First International Meeting of Naive Artists" hosted by the Croatian Association of Naive Artists in Zagreb. One of my paintings, "Night Owls" was then selected to become part of the Association's permanent collection, making me one of only a very few foreigners in their collection. 

In 2012 I held my first solo exhibition to exclusively feature my reverse oil paintings, "Bears of Medvednica,” and in 2015 I held my second solo exhibition in London, "Through a Looking Glass.” 

In 2016 I exhibited as part of the Brighton Festival Artists Open Houses and in July one my paintings helped raise money for the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice as part of their Big Heart Auction. 

Since starting to paint on glass my works have been bought by collectors in Croatia, Germany, Malta, Italy, the US, Canada, Israel and the UK - with some collectors owning more than one painting and others  commissioning something special. 

For those just starting to buy art, my limited edition fine art prints are proving to be an increasingly popular way of beginning their collections. 

Art Educator

In addition to creating new work, I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm and skills with others: whether as an art instructor helping others to develop their own creativity, sharing my work in progress, participating in exhibitions or introducing the Croatian Naive tradition to new audiences. 

Community Arts

I am involved in my local arts community and am passionate about promoting positive and empowering creative experiences for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. I have participated in the Burgess Hill Summer Festival each year since 2013 running free drawing workshops for a range of ages and I've been  Chairperson of the Burgess Hill Artists group since January 2014.

In 2014 I started offering Creative Carers art classes for carers who want to develop their own creative practice, build creative confidence or just need a bit of a break from their caring responsibilities. From my own experiences I know how important positive creative activities can be in promoting emotional resilience and mental well-being in people of all ages and abilities.

Those living in and passing through West Sussex are welcome to visit my home studio and gallery - please contact me to schedule a visit or to join one of my art classes

Three Little Words Project
Breathe, Nurture and Dream 

In March 2016 I was asked by London Professional Artists to share the #threelittlewords that inspire me. 

My words are Breathe, Nurture and Dream - they are how I remind myself to focus on the important things in my life as I balance my health (mental and physical), family caring responsibilities and creative practice. It's a juggling act we all struggle with from time to time, sometimes in a downward spiral of stress and anxiety. My words then are my battle cry to the challenges that might otherwise overwhelm me - a reminder to treat myself gently, to treat others with kindness and to treasure those insubstantial thoughts which make me unique and offer respite from the 'real world' when it all becomes too much. 

I  paint objects as I think them, not as I see them ~ Picasso

All images and site content © mjhodge