1. Tell us the story of your first painting. How did you discover a love for art?
The first painting I did was in first grade with powdered paints. The teacher would add water to a colored powder in a cup and mix it with popsicle sticks. Sometimes when you were painting, your brush would pick up a lumpy clod of pigment which would smear and mess up your masterpiece. My first art gallery showing was in our kitchen on the fridge. Limited exposure meant I had to work on getting a bigger audience. Mrs. Showalter gave me the opportunity to exhibit my art, even though I had done a portrait of her in which I painted her with black hair, because I explained the darker hair made her look so much younger without her grey (even before Clairol commercials!). She let me out of class.... for a reason?
The hall bulletin board in first grade was my breakout moment. Four things benefitted me from then on through high school: I could get out of class with art projects, teacher loved the art, kids praised and envied my talents, and I got awards and recognition. I guess you could say that is when I started loving art.
2. How has your artistic style changed throughout your life?
Who has a style? When I was becoming an artist, I painted and drew for pleasing someone. I did clowns and airplanes for Dad, fashionable ladies for Mom and dogs and horses for Sis. My grandmother loved my abstracts. She always asked me to tell her about my artwork. It was a kind of way of saying... what in the world is it? Dad did not think too highly of art as a way of making a living.
Styles evolved from being in need of a sale and making a living resulted in changes. I did Impressionistic work for a while, then portraits over the mantle in Southern homes. After that, expressionist pieces morphed into 'what the heck is it?' abstracts.
3. Who is your favorite artist? Why?
My favorite artists are Norman Rockwell in private and Andrew Wyeth in public. They are equally as praised however the first always wanted to be considered a fine artist by his peers but was not. As an adult, I saw many Rockwell paintings up close at my gallery owner's home, his brushstrokes were beautifully painterly and loose. An artist, in my heart, of no peers.
However, Wyeth was the most commercially successful artist without the dreaded tag of being 'commercial'. He garnered reverence and peer praise (and the money!). He got the girl, too!
4. What does a typical day of work looks like for you?
I painted every day when I was paying for shared studio space! I competed with my fellow artists. Now I have discovered I am more successful with painting on a canvas only once. When I painted every day, I was really overpainting the same canvas. I waste less time and paint when I go into the studio with a plan or inspiration.
5. Who is your biggest inspiration? What is the best advice they gave you?
My highschool teacher, who was nationally recognized, Dean Barber, taught me the greatest lesson. Do not depend on a camera or copying. He taught me the value of seeing and remembering. He inspired sketchbooks as a way of recording and learning. 50 years now have seen some vacancies in this learning technique, but I tried.
The best thing that was ever said to me was by a forgotten friend of my grandmother's who asked what I was going to be when I grew up. As a 6 year old, I said I would be an artist. I will never forget her words: "Oh my how wonderful, you will have a life of seeing things like no one else!"
6. What is the biggest challenge of being an artist? What is the biggest reward?
It is a challenge to continue as an artist when one realizes there is so much to learn. In starting out, one's art is so precious. Artwork becomes less so when one realizes how insignificant it can be.... even after one has completed decades of work.
7. What hobbies do you have outside of art?
Gardening is arranging plants much like in composing a painting. When I am stuck in my artwork, I go outside and dig something up.
My real hobby is shopping and secondly decorating. I move furniture at 'real' friends homes. I offer my moving skills just so I can hang their paintings.
8. What are your favorite books or movies about the art world?
Leonardo da Vinci and Monet are my two favorite artists to read about.
9. What is the next painting you're planning to make?
I plan on doing a wall of small paintings that read as one big one.
10. What's one unique fact about you?
A unique belief I hold is a promise that I will be famous when I am old. Lord, dear Lord I am old!