I grew up in the heart of the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The “UP” is surrounded by big water and gorgeous shorelines of the Great Lakes, forested lands, inland lakes and rivers. It was only natural that I developed a love and fascination of the outdoors from a very young age. I have wonderful memories of exploring the woods near my home, building forts, and letting my imagination run wild. When I wasn’t running rampant through the woods, I was drawing. Being creative was a joy I discovered early on and I loved being able to get my ideas out of my head and share them through drawing. Those early drawings consisted of renderings of the forest, trees, and animals. A love and compassion for animals seems to go hand in hand with a respect and love of nature. I’ve spent time volunteering at a local raptor and wildlife rehabilitation center, caring for injured birds of prey and bottle feeding orphaned fawns. I’ve had a love of animals for as long as I can remember. When viewing my art, it is not hard to see that animals and nature are what inspires me.
My family recognized my love and enjoyment of creating art from a young age and I started taking oil painting lessons when I was 11 years old. I continued to take painting lessons throughout my teenage years, took art classes in high school, and graduated from Northern Michigan University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art and Design. I love trying new mediums and techniques and quite often my experiments with trying new things turn out rather well. Because of this, I’ve developed a wide range of mediums that I’m excited about and skilled at using. I’m self-taught in my scratchboard and encaustic art, two widely different mediums. I love the high level of detail and realism I can achieve with scratchboard, as well as my oil paintings. And I find the looser more free flowing characteristics of encaustic art allows me to take a break from the meticulous scratchboard art and realistic oil paintings while still allowing me to create. My primary mediums I consider to be Alkyd Oils, Scratchboard, and Encaustics. But I also produce work in inks, acrylics, and colored pencil.
Nature and animals are my main source of inspiration, but I am continually inspired by so much. Color inspires me as well as light, shapes, form, and texture. There almost always is a natural element in my art, though. Often, I feel I’m overwhelmed by the amount of inspiration and stimulation that I see on a daily basis and the amount of ideas that form in my mind for paintings and projects. I hope to see all, or as many of these ideas as I can, through to completion. It is my wish, through my use and skill of my chosen medium, that I can share what inspires me and I can create art that is pleasing to the eyes, uplifts the emotions and draws the viewer in, and stirs the soul.