The very first and last art class I took in school was in the seventh grade where I was awarded a C for my efforts… I didn’t follow directions well…always embellishing my artwork and wandering out beyond the scope of the project. After that experience, I wiped my hands of art in school. My mom began searching for another creative outlet for me (bless my mom for that 🙂 ). She discovered that a woman in our neighborhood taught oil painting lessons at the local YMCA. I began taking classes from her and was captivated immediately. Ann Brightwell was an excellent mentor for several years, and to this day, I am thankful for the foundation in technique she taught me. Oddly enough, as much as I loved to paint, I never thought of it as a career path. That “starving artist” thing, I guess.
So, I put my passion for the easel on the back burner and concentrated on graphic design. I got a degree in commercial art and hit the street looking to make my way in the advertising industry.. For the next 25 years, I climbed the marketing & design ladder, experimented with a wide range of industries and enjoyed every rung of it. And then…
A Bad Economy, Thankfully, Hands Me a Pink Slip…
In 2009, I was working as a marketing/design consultant for a large bank and was laid off. A few weeks later, I had an acute appendicitis attack that landed me in the hospital for five days. While that might sound like a pair of pretty negative things, it turned out to be the best thing EVER. Those two events slowed me down enough to think about what I really wanted to do with my life. I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush in 25 years, but my husband took a photo of our cats one day, and I absolutely loved the composition. Immediately, I had a vision in my head involving bright colors and sharp contrasts. That photo, the lay-off and my yucky appendix set everything in motion… Over 500 paintings and and thousands of illustrations later, I am digging my day job and am so thankful that I can make a living doing what I love most.
I adore animals and always have some array of dogs and cats underfoot. They are a constant source of inspiration and keep me laughing all the time. I love injecting humor and whimsy into my work whether it has to do with animals or some other quirky subject matter. And it is such a thrill when I see others smiling or even laughing out loud when looking at my work.
When I was in college at TCU, I was captivated by a painting at a nearby art museum: “The River Seine at Chatou” by Andre Derain. I would go and sit in front of it every week. Something about the colors…It JUST made me feel good. No matter what my mood, when I looked at it, I smiled. When I left, I felt happy. My goal as an artist is to do for others what Derain did for me…to lighten a mood and bring a smile….a pretty top-knotch way to make a living in my book!
Photo below was taken by Robyn Arouty Photography. She is awesome! Check out her site for some very creative, edgy and artistic shots. You’ll love it!