Artist statement

My MFA thesis work builds on the long traditions of the human figure and domestic interiors.  This work embraces the balance between comfortable and uncomfortable quiet, solitude, and the simultaneity of harmony and discord.  In this work, I explore the emotional potency of presence, absence and isolation with figures, color, pattern and the occupation or emptiness of space.

I am interested in engaging all 5 senses while showing an impression or glimpse into a room. Using simplification or suggestion of form in concert with the falling and laying of light has a long history. I am working with this idea of an optical, emotional, and auditory impression of a space before the eye and mind can take in all of the information and put it in order.

This thesis work explores emotion, vision and sound visually thru the use of pattern, color and composition. Literary influences of traditional Haiku and American writers Raymond Carver and Sam Shepherd inform the visual terms of compositional narrative, tone and color.

My family has a long history of visual art, craft and decoration that informs my work. Interior decorating, clothes construction, theater, decorative painting and historic renovation, are resources that support my narratives.


Paddy Aidan grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  She began drawing, painting and theater in middle and high school

She earned her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Western Michigan University in Painting and State of Michigan certification for k-12 Art Education. During her undergraduate studies, she began participating in puppet theater which  combined her interests in theater, figures and narrative.

Paddy has participated in painting intensives at School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Oxbow School of Art, Saugatuck, MI

Her puppetry theater work includes a feature length shadow theater play Rootwitch, written, directed and performed by Paddy. She has also collaborated with modern dance company Wellspring  and worked as puppet builder for Red Moon Theater in Chicago, and participated in intensive puppetry workshop at Sand Glass Theater in Putney, Vermont.

She has taught as adjunct instructor at University of New Hampshire and Western Michigan University. In Michigan, Paddy taught grant funded art programs at alternative high schools and juvenile detention facilities as well as art and puppetry residencies for the Education for the Arts program for grades k-12 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In the twenty years between undergraduate and graduate studies, Paddy was working as a teaching artist, interior decorator, historic renovator and mother. Her work in the graduate program at UNH brings these experiences with historic interiors, pattern and narratives of life together.



Masters of Fine Art, Painting , University of New Hampshire 2018
Landscape as Narrative, Vera Iliatova, Oxbow School of Art, August 2015
Sandglass Theater Summer Intensive, Puppetry Training 2014
Aesthetic Education Training   June 2013
Western Michigan University, Teacher Certification 2003 Major: Art Education
Bachelor of Fine Art, Magna Cum Laude, 1993 Major: PaintingSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago, Advanced Painting 1992
Oxbow School of Art,  Advanced Painting 1992,1993
Kendall School of Design. Grand Rapids, MI 1982-83


MFA Exhibition, UNH April13, 2018
Graduate Drawing Show, Alcove Gallery, University of New Hampshire 2017
Art Prize, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2016
Faculty Show, Richmond Center for Visual Art, Western Michigan University 2015
Advanced Painting Group Show, Oxbow School of Art 2015Shadow Theater and Dance Collaboration, Cori Terry and Ritsu Katsumata  1015
Faculty Show, Richmond Center for Visual Art, Western Michigan University 2014
Puppetry Showcase, Sandglass Theater Intensive 2014
Star Building Group Show, Art Hop 2010
International Women’s Show, Flat Iron Building Chicago, IL. 1996
Root Witch, shadow puppet theater performances:
Waldron Art Center Bloomington, IN
Common Ground Theater Louisville, KY 1994
B.F.A. Exhibition Paintings, drawings, puppetry, Western Michigan University 1993
Group Show, Oxbow School of Art 1992
Carnival of Art I&II East Hall, Western Michigan University 1992-93
Annual Student Exhibition, Western Michigan University 1992
Kalamazoo Area Show, Kalamazoo Institute of Art 1992


Professional Development Grant: Ox-Bow 2015
KRESA / Education for the Arts
Frostic School of Art, Western Michigan University
Professional Development Grant: Sand Glass Theater, Vermont 2014
KRESA/Education for the Arts
Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Women’s Education Coalition Grant 2002, 2003
The following are awarded through the Art Department of Western Michigan University
100 Bridges, One Hundred years Top Alumni Award 2003
Walter F. Enz Award 1992
Presidential Scholar 1992
Oxbow Scholarship 1992
Art Star-Painting 1991
Merit Scholarship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago 1991
Department of Art, Enrichment Grants 1991-1993
Dean’s List 1991-1993
Painting Untold Stories published for departmental brochure 1993


Adjunct Instructor, Introductory Drawing, University of New Hampshire, Spring 2018
Private Art Tutor, College admission portfolio development 2014-16
Adjunct Instructor, Two Dimensional Design, Frostic School of Art,
Western Michigan University 2013-16
Teaching Artist, Education for the Arts-Aesthetic Education/Arts Initiative 2013-16
Art Instructor, Gull Lake Gateway Alternative High School 2013-16
Mural Painting, Allegan Alternative High School 2015-16
Recruitment/Portfolio Review, Western Michigan University 2015-16
Puppetry Residency, Portage Northern Middle School 2015
Painting co-teaching with Conrad Kaufman Kalamazoo Institute of Art  2005
Substitute Teaching Kalamazoo Public Schools 2003-2004
Teaching Internship Kalamazoo Public Schools
Lincoln International Studies School,
Kalamazoo Central      2003
Pre-Internship Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts 2002
Oxbow School of Art, Puppetry teaching Assistant Blair Thomas 1994
Gila Community College,  Globe, AZ.  Puppets and Performance workshop 1994


Interior Design/ Color Consultant
Purple Martin mural, private residence 2015
Peace Jam mural 2003
Dining Hall Murals, Western Michigan University,  2007
Jeff Bernstein Exhibitions:
Salt of the Earth, Healer Within, Michigan Space Center-Mars Rover 1998-2003
Armstrong International:
Business Culture Project 1998-2003
Red Moon Theater, Chicago, IL.  puppet and set builder 1996