Painting was my first love. One of my earliest memories is watching in awe as my mother painted the oak tree in our front yard. Instead of a brown stick with a green blog on top, her tree had bark, branches and individual leaves. I was amazed; I wanted to do that, too! Throughout a childhood spent in many different cities, states and even countries, painting remained a constant love. As a child I took art lessons at the Kachina School of Art run by Phoenix muralist Jay Datus, and as a teenager spent several years studying with Costa Rican artist Rafa Fernandez.
Unsure about pursuing art as a career, I majored in science and spent 15 years running research labs, first in neuroscience and then in cardiology. When my son was born I gave up research and returned to art – first to stained glass, then – finally – to painting. My years in the lab, working under microscopes, gave me a fascination with detail and structure in nature and especially in plants. In 1994 I started taking classes at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens at UNC and in 2005 earned a certificate in Botanical Illustration. Since then, I’ve gone back to painting with oils and acrylics. While I still enjoy painting plants, I also like to find unusual views of the everyday; fog-shrouded landscapes, fields seen from 40,000 feet, a water tower shaped like a peach, automobile lights on a bumpy highway.
As Sir John Lubbock, British biologist and politician, wrote 130 years ago in The Pleasures of Life, “Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” I couldn’t agree more!