Growing up in small-town Iowa, I spent lots of time outdoors, in the woods behind my house, the parks in my hometown, and my grandfather’s farm just outside of town. I loved to draw and paint. The farm animals became my earliest artist models. I especially loved horses and would spend hours drawing them. Instead of lemonade stands, I would have an art gallery in our garage and sell my drawings for a quarter each.
My parents encouraged and supported my art talent, bought me supplies, and took me to art classes. My younger brother often tagged along. After high school, I decided to pursue a business career, lead a conventional life, marry, and have children. Ironically, it was my brother who became a professional artist. Then in 1995, at the age of 36, he died of AIDS. Staring at his art and paintings in the evenings after the children had gone to bed, I felt intense sadness, like a hole had opened in my heart. And then, one day, I knew what I needed to do to keep his memory alive and fill the hollow in my heart. I started taking painting lessons from Susanne Forestieri, an accomplished artist living in Las Vegas. By then, I had four children and a full-time job, but I made time to paint, often late at night.
Naturally, my children became the subject of my art. My powerful love for them found expression in idyllic scenes of family outings in the countryside. Ablaze in sunlight, their every feature is suffused with a warm glow that transcends the oil medium. My children are now grown, and I have become a grandmother. I recently began to paint my granddaughter June in whose glowing pink skin I impishly placed an unexpected stroke of purple. And I have returned to my childhood subject, animals, in a series of woodblock prints. Starting with cats and dogs, I’ve expanded to include all manner of wild and exotic animals. I love to experiment with color, and when I peel off the lino block that superimposed a rainbow of colors on a zebra’s black and white pattern of stripes, I know I have the most fun in my artistic career.