What is your art background? I am a self-taught artist in the sense that I did not attend a formal art institution. But to say I learned everything myself is misleading as I’ve studied other artists’ work, devoured countless books and magazines and even took a couple of workshops. None of that would be possible without other artists sharing themselves so generously. I’ve been an artist all my life – but did not know it until my 40s! – and grew up squinting at the world without knowing why. After high school my creative outlet was photography, then I did quilting and pine needle basketry as a wife and mother. Tendon issues “forced” me into drawing and painting which came naturally.
Where did you grow up?
Everywhere! My Dad was in the Air Force so I never lived anywhere longer than 4 years until I got married & moved to Montana. We’ve lived here for 29 years so now I consider myself “from Montana”.
What is your “day job”, if any?
I still oversee home schooling our high school son, I am the secretary/bookkeeper/helper etc. for my husband who is self employed, and I do all of my own marketing and web work (with help!) for my art business. I cook almost all of our meals since we rarely eat out. Depending on the time of year I have hunting, meat processing, gardening and canning to do so we can eat healthy all year. Fortunately, we live a very frugal lifestyle so that I don’t have to work outside our own businesses. My husband has always been beyond supportive in encouraging me to go for my passions!
What is your favorite non-art hobby?
Sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and getting immersed in a good book. Since I’ve been an artist full-time I almost exclusively read art books so I’m not sure that counts?? Probably being out in the wild on a beautiful day and just soaking it all in, but we love good food, music and wine and we plan on traveling in the future.
What is your favorite color? Do you decorate and/or wear that color too?
Depends on the day! I honestly don’t have just ONE favorite, and many times it depends on the surrounding colors and my mood. Warm red is always awesome to me and I have a lot of red accents in my kitchen. The rest of my house is mostly earth tones since we have a very rustic decor. Some days I HAVE to wear bright colors (warm, deep orange is another favorite), other days I am in a subdued, neutral mood and wear those.
What is your studio like?
It is a curved cave-like end of an old Airstream trailer that is an extension off of my kitchen. Approximately 8’x6’x6′ crammed full of so many things it would make your head spin (no, I’m not a hoarder!). I’ve always enjoyed puzzles, and it shows in how I have my work space arranged. I have a sewing cabinet with an old Singer 201 and a built-in dresser 3ft. behind my office chair, an old drafting table for my drawing surface and desk, my computer screen mounted to the wall, pictures and charts on the walls, office files and supplies, pencils, paper, sewing supplies (that I rarely use!), art supplies, a wooden TV tray next to my easel to hold my paint water, etc. a 2 drawer file cabinet atop the Airstream wheel well next to my desk, and old avocado green linoleum on the floor. Two little rounded trailer style windows, one facing north with an awesome view of the meadow, woods & hill in front of our house, and one facing east down our long driveway lined with trees. Oh yes, a cutout is in the wall in front of my desk so I can see my husband’s office in the living room. It’s our communication route LOL!
What do you listen to, if anything, while working?
Whatever is going on whether it’s my amazing husband playing blues guitar, or watching TV or talking. Occasionally I download a podcast off the internet & play it but I love total quiet as well.
Where do you gather your inspiration?
Mostly nature but also dreams and pictures that just pop into my head at the moment I’m drawing. Life experiences and beliefs I’ve formed come to mind in allegorical ways while I’m working on a piece and add their voice.
Why do you use so many mediums rather than just watercolor or just acrylic?
I started off with graphite and colored pencil and still love to do an all pencil piece now & then. When I had the urge to experiment with watercolor, I found that it worked well with pencil drawings and alleviated the time factor and too much detail problem. I fell in love with it, but then found that acrylic alleviated some of the frustrating aspects of watercolor such as lifting of previous color and becoming paler when dry. Now, when I’m working on a piece, I use each medium for it’s strengths at different stages of the painting. Fortunately they all play well together!
If you HAD to choose just one medium, which would it be? Wow, that’s always a tough question! If I didn’t have tendon issues in my hands & wrists I would say colored pencil since you can do just about ANYthing with them. Since I have to be realistic and acknowledge the pain that too much pencil-gripping causes, I’d have to choose acrylic. I love the watercolor effects you can get with them as well as the brilliance when needed. Their fast-drying nature suits my temperament as well.
Feel free to ask any other questions you may have, I’d love to hear from you!