How old were you when you realized you were an “artist”?
When I was two, my father was stationed overseas in Viet Nam. My mom was doodling and drew a dog for me. I watched in awe. She then gave me a piece of paper and a pencil and I scribbled a picture of my family. Her enthusiastic reaction to my effort made me want to do more. Mom saved that first drawing to show my father when he returned from the war. I still have it.
Who or what inspired you as you to make art in the beginning?
My grandfather applied to be a cartoonist for Walt Disney in the 1930s. Alas, he didn’t get the job, but he continued to doodle and create characters throughout his life. My father and I continued the tradition. In fact, I would create my own Flintstones “books”--complete with story lines and drawings of the Flintstones and Rubbles in various situations not shown on TV.
What is your background in art?
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The College of William and Mary in Art History and Architecture. I began painting twenty years later.
What role do you feel an artist has in society?
Artists are the dreamers of society. We help create and refine cultures.
How do you know when your art if complete or finished?
My paintings are never complete. I see imperfections and areas to tweak in everything I’ve ever created. My biggest challenge is to walk away.
What is your artistic medium of choice? Why?
After dabbling with pastels, watercolors, and acrylics and disliking certain aspects of each, I work almost exclusively with oils. They are buttery, rich, and malleable. I enjoy that sense of control and the exquisite results achieved.
Whose work do you relate to most? Who inspires you?
Artist Michael Naples is my greatest inspiration. I “discovered” him after learning about the “Painting a Day” movement and looking at the resulting artwork on eBay auctions. I was drawn to his offerings and began to study them: subject, composition, light and shadows, etc. He “taught” me how to paint without being aware of it! When I finally joined Facebook, he accepted my “Friend” request. Since then, I have enjoyed being a “colleague.” He is very approachable and I’ve learned so much through his example.
What food, drink or song inspires you or gets your creative juices flowing?
Give me food (sweet or savory, I’m not picky), and I’ll give you a painting. I am constantly photographing my meals, especially if shellfish is involved. My family gives me grief over taking oyster shells home in doggy bags.
Has your art evolved or changed in the past ten years? If so, how?
I’ve only been painting for nine years, so a basic command of the medium has been my focus. My father says my work is like attending school: My first pieces were first grade work; now I’m in ninth grade (although I’d like to think I skipped a grade or two!). It is easy to see how my level of expertise has increased based on learning and maturity. I also accept more challenges now. For example, I’ve done calligraphic art, indoor murals, miniatures, and Lazy Susans. I even did a landscape painting on a mahogany silverware chest for a client. I never would have tackled such diversity a few years ago.
Do you have a favorite piece of art? (Please include image for the article.)
My favorite piece of art is “Oyster on the Half Shell.” It combines my love of the ocean with gastronomic pleasures.
Do you find the artistic life lonely? How do you counteract the solitude?
truly enjoy solitude and the artistic life allows me to celebrate that. With previous careers, I had to be in the limelight throughout the day. It was rewarding, but emotionally exhausting. As an artist, I am finally in charge of my own destiny--on MY terms.
If you could picture yourself 5 or 10 years from now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
I’ll be an empty nester in a couple of years. I’d love to teach a few workshops around the country (if there’s interest out there…). Additionally, I hope to explore new locations for inspiration and some plein air painting.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to an artist just getting started?
If you love creating art, then you must find a way to do it. It is never too late to hone your craft and visually express your dreams.