Even as a small child I was drawn to realism in art. When my parents thought I was too young for a Brownie camera, I made my own out of a small square of plywood that included a peep-hole and two nails, around which I curled my homemade “film.” I took my pictures by looking through the peep- hole, clicking my tongue to take the picture, and drew the image on one of the small film squares. My mother seemed charmed with my creativity, and encouraged me. Later I would earn a college degree in fine arts, after studying drawing, painting, and the printmaking techniques required for woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs.
My art-making was temporarily interrupted by the reality of making a living; but I enjoyed a long and exciting career in public-affairs work, first in California and then in Washington, D.C. What brought me back to my art was the feast of art galleries in the Nation’s Capitol area, which whetted my appetite to return to painting. I soon found myself at the Corcoran School of Art + Design, studying the oil-painting techniques of Renaissance masters and the watercolor methods for rendering plants and flowers. I earned a certificate in botanical art and illustration and spearheaded the organization of a 2006 exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in which twenty-five artists commemorated The Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark.
For the last ten years I have focused mainly on botanical watercolors and still-life oils. But I’ve recently become enamored with plain- air painting. New Mexico’s big skies and huge clouds during summer thunderstorms are massively inspiring. The wide range of tree- and wild-grass coloring offers a palette that moves from sage to forest greens, wheat tones, and golden yellows. Our mountain ranges seem to vary in personality all day every day, from deep purples to bluish-greens to pale blues. And our adobe structures offer a rich counterpoint, moving from earthy peaches to dusky salmons and providing an inspirational symphony of objects and colors from which to choose.