I grew up in a creative household, so I was exposed from a young age to a variety of creative endeavors. My family watched Bob Ross together on PBS, marveling at his skill and protesting loudly as he put a big, happy tree right over a beautiful scene. In my early teens, I was given a set of canvas boards and used my dad’s old acrylic paints to create several natural scenes, using National Geographic magazines and a
thrifted textbook about forests as photo references. My mother’s jaw-drop reaction when she saw the paintings gave me the motivation to continue practicing. Later, she and my dad bought me an expensive oil paint and brush set, saying they knew I could do something with it. I took a few art classes as electives in high school, clumsily learning the basics of what I was doing right and what I needed to improve as I explored how to depict the way light and shadow play off different surfaces in the world around us. I found myself looking at everything around me and thinking to myself “How would I paint that?” I spent hours and hours in my room with classical music, sketching and painting, trying different things to get it “just right.”
Art as a profession
Though art has always been a part of my life, I was not expecting it to become the career that it is now. I began as a first grade teacher in the public schools, where I found ways to incorporate art into my classroom. Later, I taught and developed curriculum for an after-school art program. More recently, I have become involved with a community theater, where I paint sets for the stage and help young performers create their own costumes, props and set designs.
During the spring of 2020, I found myself with time to paint original pieces, which eventually led to painting murals, mostly in the small mountain community where I live. It was then I discovered that painting isn’t just a hobby in my life, or something I should do when I have time to squeeze it in—it is a passion, and I want to share it with everyone.
Into the whimsical
Inside, I think I’m still a playful kid who tries to see joy, beauty and delight in everything around me. When artists create something, they pour a lot of themselves into the piece and I think my artwork gives everyone a peek at my whimsical spirit. I have always enjoyed fantasy fiction, and will admit that even now when I look at a beautiful snowscape, or forested path, I imagine fantastical creatures or characters emerging from the scene before me. Every hike, drive or walk in this beautiful place where I live becomes an inspiration for more art. I love to include unexpected charm in my work—something that makes the viewer smile, or some touch of warmth or comfort. Some of my art may have a dark side,
too, but even those pieces include a hint of light or hope.