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Although I was born in Elgin, Illinois, I lived the first twelve years in Waukegan, birthplace of author Ray Bradbury and comedian Jack Benny. We moved back to Elgin, where I graduated from Elgin High School. My mother worked for Corinne Loeh, who was the Art Director for Elgin Public Schools in those days, and Mrs. Loeh also lived next door to us. She was a great artist, a visionary, and an inspiration.
The next four years were spent at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, where I studied art and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
While at IWU, I studied painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, drawing, live figure drawing, and art history. The humanities courses were interesting because we took a look at how the creative impulse can be found in art, music, drama, architecture, literature, and dance. One of my favorite courses was anthropology, where the workings and early development of man can be pondered and appreciated.
In those first years after college, I participated in three archaeological digs (in Illinois, Tennessee and Ohio). My mentor at IWU, Mr. Fred B. Brian, first sparked my interest in the anthropological. He taught a class in ancient art, introduced us to the John Wesley Powell Collection of Pueblo Pottery at IWU, and sent me over to Illinois State University in neighboring Normal, IL, to draw profiles of potsherds for a researcher there. (Unexpectedly, those potsherd profile line drawings seemed to visually dance across the page, and later, I took that idea into a series of drawings.) These experiences all had an impact on the way I think and the way I appreciate art.
From 1977 to 1979, I worked for Landfall Press, Inc. in Chicago (now in Santa Fe, New Mexico), where Jack and Ethel Lemon worked closely with artists such as Ed Paschke, Claes Oldenburg, William T. Wiley, Robert Cottingham, Philip Pearlstein, and Jeanette Pasin Sloan to create original, limited-edition lithographs and etchings. During that time, I typed print documentation, maintained artists’ resumés, helped prepare paper for printing, and was a representative of Landfall Press at Wash Art ’78 and ’79 (international art exhibitions in Washington, DC).
I have substitute taught art in public schools K-12; coordinated an Art Volunteers in the Classroom program (associated with the Art Institute of Chicago in our area) in two elementary schools; worked as a graphic designer for Arthur Andersen & Co. at their former training center in St. Charles (1981-1985) where we did quite a lot of cartooning and illustration; and freelanced as a graphic designer for companies in the Chicago area. I have also taken portrait commissions from time-to-time.
At Elgin Community College, I studied black-and-white photography in the late John Grady’s excellent photography program. At The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, I have taken a variety of botanical art classes exploring watercolor, graphite pencil, and colored pencil. I was introduced to the offerings at the arboretum by my artist friend Sylvia Root Tester. For a number of years, she and I shared studio space and regular painting sessions in my home studio building. She and her husband Gene have a great appreciation for art and music, and for lively discussions! Sylvia now enjoys a wonderful studio space of her own, overlooking a forested area, but we still get together regularly. I must also say that my husband Dave and our two sons Nick and Jon have supported me in my artistic endeavors throughout the years. They are creative people themselves.
My main medium is watercolor. Iím also doing some digital drawing (and photo retouching) using Adobe Photoshop and a Wacom digital drawing pad.
Regarding subject matter, I like variety. It keeps me fresh — imagining, problem-solving, sometimes researching, experimenting, creating. As you peruse my website, you’ll see that I’ve painted people, animals, birds, insects, a lovely black-and-yellow Argiope spider, large, hairy magnolia seed pods and other plants, and landscapes. I’ve set up still life arrangements for the visual interest of the objects; challenging myself to translate their rich textures into watercolor. Threading throughout are trips into the fanciful; consulting material from the real world for shapes, colors, textures, patterns, values, etc. More recently, I’ve gone toward the dramatic, using Adobe Photoshop as a tool to set up some of my paintings. These paintings are an invitation for the viewer to make up a story about the image. I want to challenge myself, and the viewer, to open our minds and allow our creative sides to come forward. Creative thinking helps in any profession.