My Simple Little Bio and Even Simpler Philosophy
When I was kid I was always looking for ways to express myself. It was my way of opening the pressure valve that came with institutional living. My formative years were spent growing up in orphanages and served as the nexus for a lifelong artistic practice. When I wasn’t making art, I was helping others make art. As an early teen, one of my first jobs was helping out at an art supply and frame shop. I also had a yearly summer job teaching arts and crafts to the guests at a NJ School for the Blind and worked on art projects with seniors at a local convalescence facility. As an adult, my works have been exhibited in the Salmagundi Club and a number of other galleries in NYC and surrounding metropolitan area, while several of my commissioned pieces are in private and corporate collections across the country.
Institutional rearing didn't exactly foster independent living skills. When I left the orphanage at 17, I rented a room from a widow where I lived until I graduated high school. After high school, I worked as a truck stop waitress, eventually got an apartment, studied music in NYC on my days off - and made art! By age 21, I was living in my car, homeless, rummaging through the dumpsters behind an Italian restaurant for food. Somehow I kept making art, which I'd sometimes get lucky enough to sell at a local art gallery for gas money, a hotel room, and a hot meal. I eventually managed to find a steady job and got back on my feet -And kept making art! What spirit-humbling experiences those first 20+ years of life represent but I wouldn't trade them for anything. They inform my art to this day.
Since those challenging times, I've traveled down lots of roads, some bumpy and some not. I worked in the film business as a stunt woman, a producer's assistant, a stunt department coordinator, art department/production design coordinator/liaison, post production... on and on. It was not really my thing. But I kept making art! I continued to study music and performed for years and kept making art; I got married and became a mom and kept making art; I finally went to college in my late forties and earned my bachelor's and master's degrees in human development, psychology and transformative arts. AND KEPT MAKING ART! My Master’s thesis, “The Border Doe Project” included a sculptural works component which was featured in the Smithsonian Institute's Museums on Main Street exhibition, and in a collaborative border stories exhibition called El Otro Lado, by invitation from the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs. My waterfowl paintings have been included in the U.S. Department of Interior’s Federal Duck Stamp program’s national traveling exhibit of top ten entries. I have illustrated a book on the Leni Lenape, an indigenous people of the Northeastern Woodlands, and was commissioned to illustrate natural science children’s books written by acclaimed naturalist/photographer/author/ lecturer Dr. Leonard Lee Rue III.
And now I'm on my own once again but I’m STILL making art! I've dug out my paints and brushes, reinvigorating my art practice in my home studio here in southeast Arizona. I’m a member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, the Portrait Society of America, and the American Impressionist Society. My focus is primarily on nature and animal art and portrait work and I accept works for hire on a limited basis each year. I welcome your inquiries, questions and comments and I thank you for your interest.
Oh - and as for my simple life and art philosophy, it's this: Do the best you can, from where you are, with what you've got.