I wasn’t born to be a painter.  As a child, museums made me yawn, and while I excelled at getting dirty, I showed no talent for turning messes into works of art.  Nevertheless, my family instilled in me an abiding respect for the arts and almost an awe for artists, whom I considered to be magically gifted people from some planet far, far away. 

Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, I went to college in Ohio, where she majored in English, and afterwards earned my living as an editor, first in New York and later in Baltimore, where I had moved with my graduate student husband. It was then, finally, that I was persuaded to try a drawing class at the Maryland Institute College of Art. 

The teacher armed us with vine charcoal and some big sheets of newsprint.  He set up a simple still life on a table and suggested the time-honored technique of "drawing what you see, not what you know" to reproduce its contours on paper.  Somehow, by the end of the session, I had managed to divorce myself from my overactive left brain and to draw something that actually looked like a table.  I was so excited.

Now that I knew that I was capable of “magic”,  it was Hogwarts time; there was a lot to learn. 

I launched myself into a series of drawing, painting and design classes.  When none were available – as I moved around the country with my family -- I sought out more advanced painters for advice.

Now museums, galleries, and art books were my friends and I began to have opinions.  My models to begin with were were Vermeer, Chardin, and Corot.  I also discovered Rachel Ruysch, a still life painter in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Rusych’s lush paintings and her immensely successful sixty-year career, plus raising ten children, were inspirational in more ways than one.  

Not long after I settled in central Virginia with her family, I swapped out editing for as much dedication to painting as I could squeeze in between part time jobs and three children.

Eventually the children grew up and I could spend all her time in the studio. 
By now, after years of  practicing the "how-to" of painting, my favorites list had expanded to include Giorgio Morandi, Joan Mitchell, Nicolas de Stael, and such contemporary luminaries as Ken Kewley, Moe Brooker, John Walker and Julian Hatton.  

I jumped into the world of abstraction and after some experimenting settled on abstract imagery, in which objects, places and figures are clear enough to have emotional content, but color and composition play predominant roles. 

I believe that nameable elements help the painting with its primary job of communication.  I want to enjoy my work,  and I certainly want sophisticated viewers to like it.  But I also want anybody – with or without experience in the arts – to get it.  I don’t want to make the viewer worry about what they are supposed to be seeing. 

Using Format