Dogs, their personalities and their lives, have inspired many of my paintings but the natural world is my main focus, as is extraordinary light, mood or color. My preferred medium now is oil but I went through the traditional progression of trying other mediums as do many artists. I started with pencil and pastel – the dry mediums – then watercolor, gouache, and acrylic before ending up with the medium of the masters.
As a self-taught artist I have let life teach me what to paint and how to paint it. Twenty plus years ago I left the city and a career in advertising and headed for the hills of northeastern Oklahoma. That first house was a rustic cabin in the woods, a one-room place no bigger than a motel room. Also sharing that small space was my husband, our three dogs – two large Labradors and a terrier - and two cats. Living in such close quarters with the dogs and cats, surrounded by thousands of acres of raw nature, changed my interests and my view of life forever. The dogs opened my eyes about the language of emotions, a silent language echoed in the changing moods of nature. I so completely immersed myself in this world, hiking, observing, photographing, until it became natural to me, a part of me.
It is the play of emotions that I try to impart in my paintings, whether that emotion comes from the subject or from the viewers experience while looking at the painting. I want to communicate what I felt when I observed a situation or scene. The expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” comes to mind and I feel the ‘spelling’ is the details that I paint.
I am pleased to be able to say that this view of life has gained me international acceptance. There have been invitations to every major wildlife show in the U.S. I have also been invited to Christie’s Wildlife Auction in London and participated in an important show in Hong Kong. I have garnered many Best of Show awards as well as other top ribbons and have been included in The Best of Wildlife Art, a book by Northern Lights Books for education, as well as the cover artist for a university level textbook on veterinary medicine, and have appeared in magazine and newspaper articles. Ducks Unlimited has again selected my work for their sponsor print program and I have painted for the National Humane Society’s annual Christmas card for the last two years.
But perhaps my biggest honor is just to be able to experience the things in nature that I love to paint and I thank everyone who respects and takes care of our natural resources so that I can continue to have this wonderful opportunity.