I was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia in 1958, and feel so lucky to have grown up during a time when life was more simple and free of the distractions of today’s technology. My memories are full of outdoor adventures in what seemed to be a vast universe of woods to explore. My bedroom as a child was full of fish tanks and all kinds of pets such as turtles, mice, guinea pigs and even an occasional iguana. I was so lucky to have parents that fostered my love of animals and horses and eventually got my own horse when I was 15. I would ride after school almost every day and occasionally participate in local horse shows. I even rode in a few drag fox hunts in Ambler, PA which is now sadly developed with housing projects. As a child, numerous dogs were part of the family and I clearly remember “harnessing” our husky to pull us in our sleds during the winter.
I knew in high school that art was what I wanted to pursue, and even then that I wanted to specialize in animals and nature. This chosen career perplexed my father, who was an investment banker. He enjoyed collecting abstract art and had worked along with an architect to design our modern home, but a career as an artist was very foreign to him. Though I considered the excellent art schools in Philadelphia, I loved the wonderful country atmosphere of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania and the local Amish neighbors. My senior year in college, I attended the prestigious Illustrator’s Workshop sponsored by the Society of Illustrator’s in New York where I developed connections that eventually furthered my career in Commercial Illustration. It was also at this time that my senior independent study was with wildlife artist Rod Arbogast, a successful and talented wildlife artist from Allentown, Pennsylvania. I earned a BFA degree in Graphic Design and after graduation followed my dream.
I discovered early in my career, that I enjoyed the independence and personal satisfaction of working as a freelance artist. I was able to establish relationships and provide illustration for major corporate clients including Field and Stream Magazine, Ford Motor Company, Lenox Collections, The Bradford Exchange and The Philadelphia Inquirer. What began as freelance illustration for The Franklin Mint, turned into employment with them as an Information Researcher for a few years at their corporate offices in Media, PA.
Throughout my life, the intimate knowledge gained from owning, riding and working with dogs and horses has played a major role in my life and artwork. I worked for a number of years along with my husband to run a small horse boarding farm in Pennsylvania, where I also was able to own horses again and continue to create my art. After deciding to sell the farm, we also spent three years living full time in a 42” RV, where we travelled the United States with our two Rhodesian Ridgebacks. I had a small “studio” in our motorhome, and continued to paint commissioned portraits of the many dogs we met in our travels.
Over the years, my greatest joy as an artist is the personal connection I develop with my clients and sharing that vision with my artwork. Dogs especially enrich our lives and give us purpose and endless love. When we lose a pet, the experience of grief and deep loss can be overwhelming. To give someone that memory of their animal forever in a painting or drawing is the essence of why I love doing portraits. I have portrayed all kinds of pets from show dogs and horses to parrots and pot bellied pigs. They are all cherished family members. I enjoy working in all mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel and pencil. I prefer to arrange a photography session, but often clients have a favorite photograph of an animal or combination of photos that inspire a portrait.
I now call the town of Vero Beach on the southern coast of Florida my home and find constant inspiration surrounded by the ocean and the beautiful tropical environment. I love kayaking with my camera on the Indian River which is filled with marine and wildlife subjects. I also participate in the numerous art shows and exhibits that this area offers. I am a member of the Vero Beach Art Club and the Cultural Council of Indian River County.