Off the Beaten Path
Art, animals and nature have always been a part of my life. I grew up smack dab in the middle of Ohio, in a rural neighborhood. Kids free roamed rivers, creeks and ancient apple orchards where close encounters with tadpoles and crawdads were the treasure we sought. Creativity was nurtured in every household. Rock collections, craft projects and sketchbooks cluttered our bedrooms. Barns and out buildings were alive with rabbits, chickens, goats, and the best pony ever – Star!
Now, living in rural Montana, a rambunctious array of birds and beasts parade just outside my studio door. Their antics provide a constant source of inspiration. Some things never change – rocks, nests, shells and sketch books still clutter the studio. Foraging layers of color, texture, shape to find a good tale to tell, is the treasure I now seek.
The road to becoming a fine artist has been nontraditional and full of “happy accidents”. Working as a furniture painter – something I never planned to do- is where I found my style. Collaborating with interior designers expanded my creativity and developed an appreciation for neutrals. Textiles used in projects taught me the power of texture and helped define my sense of color. Painting spindles, beveled panels, drawers and trims created a new awareness for the power of shape and form. Realistic portrayals of wild life transformed into graphic re-imaginings of animals jumping, leaping, floating. Viewers went from saying “It looks just like a photograph” to “This is a refreshing change! Thank you for brightening my day!”
The artist’s way must include time to experiment, play and explore. Taking an occasional online class and participating in artist groups introduces me to new tools, materials and techniques. Some get added to my process- others not. Recent additions include fluid acrylics, fan brush (where has this brush been all my life?), and acrylic mediums. My heathery, Northwestern palette has brightened and intensified with transparent layers. Animal and plant forms are packed with bold pattern.
What remains true and fast is a deep longing to tell stories of the wild kingdom. Stories are meant to be shared and in the sharing, questions are welcome, imagination is encouraged and the mind is free to explore.