Felicitations and Salutations!!!
There is always more to the story and here is a deeper dive into mine-- accompanied by some fun photos, enjoy!
I came into this world, well, the kindest way to say it would be “confused”—cross eyed and pigeon toed. Within a short time my parents wrangled my feet into a brace and strapped tortoiseshell horn-rimmed glasses onto my face. Thankfully it worked and eventually I was able to walk normally and my eyes straightened.
My inner confusion wasn’t as easy to address. From an early age I felt pulled between academic studies and more creative pursuits. I had no idea what I really wanted. In college I started studying art but after a couple of years I compared myself to my peers and felt “less than” so I switched to academics.
In the professional world finding the right fit was a challenge. I tried my hand at all sorts of jobs including “Professional Bra Fitter”, Ski Tech, 911 Dispatcher, and Dog Exerciser—that last job was my favorite as I got paid to take dogs on 2 hour hikes in the Colorado mountains. Regardless of the job, I ended up using my creative talents to make signs, and help with advertising. Still, I had no idea what I wanted. But art kept finding a way into my life and the only person who didn't know I was an artist was me!
Mid-life hit and my husband and I sold everything, bought a small pull-behind camper and went in search of a sailboat. After traveling from Florida to California to Washington we found our sailboat in Vancouver, Canada. For four and a half years we cruised the stunning British Columbia coast reveling in raw wilderness and spending the winters in the lovely town of Port Townsend, Washington.
There I met an artist who had dreamed of opening her own atelier/school for drawing and painting. I had never heard of an atelier but after seeing her exquisite oil paintings and learning that she could teach me the time-honored skills of the Masters to also create pictures that looked 3-D well, I was in!
For two winters I studied with Nancy Lucas-Williams at her Masters’ Atelier learning the site-size technique, how to use a mahl stick, and how to use plumb lines and black mirrors to accurately find shapes in space. We started with charcoal value studies of casts. At first I was dubious and struggled. But with perseverance (from both of us) 5 months later I had created a drawing of a cast that looked like a photograph. I was hooked! And, for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel confused at all. Every fiber of my body was happy and in alignment.
But life had a nasty surprise waiting for me. After those two winters at the atelier, Nancy said I was ready to do a black and white oil painting. About a week into oil painting I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t focus, my tongue felt too big, and I bumped into things. It turned out that I was allergic to oil paints and solvents! That changed everything as atelier programs are devoted to oil painting. I was devastated but with Nancy’s help I tried acrylics and watercolor before finding chalk pastel.
Eventually my husband and I decided to leave the boating life behind which meant bidding Nancy and her atelier a very fond farewell. I felt like a baby bird being pushed out its nest ready to try out its wings. The first thing we did when we reached our new home in New Mexico was set up my studio so I could start putting to use all the techniques I had learned. After living on a sailboat for 4 1/2 years having space, let alone my own space to create art is, well, amazing. I feel very fortunate and spend every possible moment in the studio finding a way to express my life experiences through my art so that I can share it with YOU.
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