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When I was three years old, my mother taught me how to draw stick people. Amazingly, this is what set the stage for the rest of my life. It wasn’t long before I started drawing the stick people in various positions, by bending their arms and legs. I drew them sitting, running, etc. My mom says she remembers the first time I drew a facial expression on one of my stick people. “ It had fallen down, and it had this hurt expression on its face. It amazed me that you could put expressions on their faces, because that was something I never accomplished.” Whenever I wanted to express something, I would draw a picture about it. I was always trying to improve my drawing to make it more and more realistic.
I didn’t really get into painting until I was in high school. My teacher had set up a huge still life in the art room, and we could choose sections of it to paint. According to my art teacher, my still life painting and drawing was really good. But I had more I wanted to do, and I didn’t think it could be accomplished as well in those two mediums. I got interested in surrealism and started using oil paints.
At this point, my art teacher inadvertently showed me how not to be an art teacher. My oil paintings were technically only so-so, and I didn’t know what to do to improve. Instead of showing me specific techniques, he chose to tell the class that he didn’t know why I wasted time on oil painting, since my watercolor and pencil drawings were so good. “Maybe it’s the challenge of trying to do something she can’t do.” Is basically what he said.
Of course that made me more determined. And it showed me that when an art teacher sees someone struggling, he or she should teach the student specific techniques. Not just make smart remarks. The success of a piece of art really does rely heavily on knowing how to use the techniques specific to the medium.
I went on to UW-Whitewater and graduated with my BSE in Art Education in 1977. I got married that summer and started a family. The next 12 years, I stayed home to raise my three daughters. When my youngest was 3, I went back to work and taught art for 28 years before retiring in 2017.
My favorite thing about teaching art was debunking the myth that only certain people were able to draw, and that it all depended on “talent”. Teaching the k-5 level students was especially rewarding, because, at that age, most of them hadn’t already given up on drawing. Given the right instruction, students were amazed at the things they could draw.
During my teaching career, I continued to work on my own projects, but had no time to promote my work. Since retiring, I’ve sold quite a few pieces, and have executed many portrait commissions, of both people and pets. I’m expecting the uphill trend to continue as I reach more potential clients.
My art business has been designated as a "Trusted Art Seller" with The Art Storefronts Organization, which means you can shop with confidence, and know that I stand behind the quality and value of my products.
DRIVING THROUGH THE COUNTRY OR WALKING IN THE WOODS, I OFTEN MARVEL AT ALL THE PEACE AND BEAUTY THAT STILL EXISTS, EVEN THOUGH THE TURMOIL IN THE NEWS NEVER LETS UP. THE COMPLEXITY IN A WILDFLOWER, THE CALM IN A COUNTRY SCENE, WILDLIFE, ALL OF IT INSPIRES ME. WITH THE STRESS BROUGHT ON BY 21ST CENTURY LIFE, PEOPLE NEED A PEACEFUL HAVEN TO COME BACK TO. MY ARTWORK IS MEANT TO HELP CREATE THAT.
I LOVE THE RICH COLORS I CAN GET WHEN I PAINT WITH OIL OR ACRYLIC ON CANVAS. I FIND THAT IT WORKS BEST TO PAINT INITIALLY WITH ACRYLIC, AND THEN IN THE FINAL STAGES WHEN BLENDING IS MOST IMPORTANT, I MIX ACRYLIC WITH WATER MIXABLE OIL. IT STAYS WET LONG ENOUGH TO BLEND AS MUCH AS I WANT TO, BUT IT IS DRY BY THE NEXT MORNING. GRAPHITE PENCIL IS MY OTHER FAVORITE MEDIUM. IT LENDS ITSELF WELL TO VALUES, TEXTURES AND DETAIL. I LIKE TO USE ADOBE PHOTOSHOP TO COMBINE A PENCIL DRAWING WITH DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY. I REPLACE THE SKY AREA IN THE DRAWING WITH ONE OF MY DIGITAL PHOTOS OF A SUNSET OR SUNRISE. THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TWO MEDIA IS STRIKING.
I taught art for 28 years before retiring in 2017. During that time, I worked on my own projects whenever I could, but never had the time to promote my artwork. Since retiring, I’ve started participating in art fairs, and art shows. I’ve sold successfully through those venues. Most of my sales come from portrait commissions: both people and pets. I’ve been commissioned to paint other things as well.
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