About the Artist

As an artist I am a late starter, not taking up drawing or painting until 2001 at the age of 61. Having started with pencil, charcoal, and colored pencils I immediately took to pastels when introduced to them in 2002. This worked out well for me since I have many chemical allergies that prevent me from working in oils. Soft pastel is now my preferred medium of choice although I still enjoy working with charcoal. I work from my home studio that I added onto my home in 2004. My studio overlooks a serene perennial garden and koi fish pond that I have created over the years.

 As I look back on my life I have had many different careers. After graduation from college in the early 1960s my husband and I started our family. The four children occupied all my time for about ten years and then I became a high school science teacher in the mid 1970s. From there I moved on to being a community activist, organizer and serving in public office as a county commissioner in the 1980s. I earned a masters degree in public administration in 1988 and went to work in public service administration at Mansfield University in the 1990s. In 1997 I started my own business doing market research and organizational development work with non profit organizations. This gave way to starting and running a community foundation for ten years. I retired at the end of 2011. I never could have predicted the path my life took but each career prepared me for the one to come.

 People are what really fascinate me and what I most enjoy painting, followed by flowers and landscapes. Although I had never had any formal training in the arts while attending school, neither at the undergraduate or graduate level, I started taking art lessons in 2001 from Gary Watson, of Waverly, NY. He is an artist, teacher, and former NYC illustrator with thirty-nine years of professional experience who does fine oil portraits today. I have also studied under: Robin Paine of Concord, MA Art Association, and taken workshops with Leslie B. DeMille and Judith Carducci of the International Pastel Society and Danille Greene renowned portrait artist. These experiences have enhanced my knowledge of skin tones, light and shadow, color, value, form and shadow all of which are essential elements of a successful painting.

 Almost every artist in learning their trade begins by copying works of art from famous painters. I am no different. Below are seven paintings that I did from the works of Georgia O’Keeffe, Mary Cassett, Carlo Ponti, Leonardo DiVinci, and others from art and photography books.

 A famous saying says that at imitates life and with most of my art that is exactly what I try to do. Sometimes it takes people a long time to realize just what is important in life. You come to a point where you realize that collecting stuff doesn’t make you happy. What makes us happy is the relationships we have with our family and our loved ones. I enjoy capturing and recreating these fleeting and precious moments in people’s lives.

 I love to draw people and to be able to get an exact likeness of their faces on paper and to also capture their unique spirit. What a person is really like shows on their face. I like the challenge and excitement of portrait painting. Ultimately the portrait is the representation of a unique individual as seen through the temperament of a particular artist. As a portrait artist, I am committed to the expression of the essential beauty and dignity of each person I paint.

 It is always thrilling to experience the moment a painting takes on a life of its own. One moment there is a mass of different colors and shapes on the paper and with the addition of a single stroke it is transformed into a lifelike entity. I feel I have been blessed with a special gift and it is very satisfying to know that I can use my talent to bring joy into the lives of others. Every portrait I paint provides me with the opportunity to create a work of art that exhibits both beauty and timelessness. It’s exciting to consider that one day my painting may become a cherished heirloom that provides meaning for many generations to come.

 Michelangelo said the greater danger is not that our hopes are too high and we fail to reach them; it’s that they’re too low and we do. The painter, unlike the photographer, has infinite opportunities to edit what they have observed, whether working from life or from a photo, or both, playing things up or down in order to create something that goes far beyond the surface. My job is to achieve a final composition that best conveys my sense of the person or scene. Each element in my painting must be in perfect harmony with the overall composition before I consider it a successful piece.

 I work mainly in the soft pastel medium because of its flexibility and forgiveness, as well as durability and spectacular colors. My own family members, both past and present, have served as models for my paintings. I especially enjoy doing portraits of children while they are at play. Children are so unassuming and can give us that sense of wonder we seem to lose as we age. I look for those moments that put a smile on your face when you think of your own childhood memories.

 I am fascinated by color and the play of light across an image or object. Having an interest in gardening, painting flowers is a challenge since they come in many vivid colors and have such a short life span when picked. I love the flowers painted by Georgia O=Keeffe. My garden provides me with so many potential paintings. So much to paint, so little time, – that truly is my dilemma.