I grew up on the banks of a large river surrounded by dogs, horses, pastures and water. From my earliest years my days were spent riding, swimming and drawing — mostly drawing horses. Every afternoon after school the splendid goal was to get in a good, hard gallop along the river before the sun went down. Every evening was spent drawing.
My aunt, who was in college while I was a young child, was an art major. When home from school she would set up an easel outside near the river and spread out a buffet of crinkly, colorful, silvery tubes of oil paint. I loved the candy-bright, creamy colors that brought mysterious and wonderful possibilities of creation, and I loved the pungent, spicy smell of turpentine associated with the procedure. It reminded me of the same fresh, resinous pungency of the pine tar preparations ubiquitous in every good horse barn (ours as well as those we visited), a scent that brought the exciting promise and possibility of spending the afternoon atop a horse. I knew before I reached grade-school age that I wanted my future to be some combination of painting and horses from then on.
Probably because I read so much as an only child, my earliest artistic influences were often illustrators, painterly ones both old and new, from children's books, horse books, and popular magazines - N.C. Wyeth, Bernie Fuchs, Wesley Dennis, Sam Savitt are some I still remember. Later I adored the brushwork of John Singer Sargent, and the blinding light and color of Sorolla, but even as a youngster I thought that Orren Mixer, the cowboy artist who painted most of the legendary Quarter Horse studs and whose portraits were featured regularly as stallion ads in Quarter Horse Journal back then, must have had the coolest job in the world!
Yet I would have to say that nature, the opportunity I had to grow up in the country surrounded by nature, was itself my strongest influence: the colors of light reflected on the water, the colors of light reflected by the water, the neon glitter of light upon the water, skies, sunsets, clouds, a hundred different kinds of trees, the scattered patterns of leaf shadow they threw, waving fields of timothy, the graceful curved-to-straight lines in every joint of a horse's every limb - hocks, knees, fetlocks - the depth and feeling in the soulful eyes of a good dog. I felt if I could capture these things so that seeing the work could make one smell the outdoors, that would be success.
I am a self-taught artist, but I have had the benefit of some fine artistic mentors (Connie Erickson, Darrell Anderson, John Taft) who shared with me their knowledge of methods, tools and techniques. My professional painting career began about two decades ago as a commissioned portrait artist, painting mostly people. And as I also trained horses, I soon found myself regularly commissioned to paint my first love: horses.
For twenty years I trained and started colts & wild mustangs professionally across the American South and West for private clients, therapeutic riding programs and the Bureau of Land Management. Horse training eventually led me to Colorado, where I had the privilege of not only training donated horses for use at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center and holding training clinics for Colorado Horse Rescue, but also of participating in weekly events and workshops with the Longmont Figure Arts Group.
Joining my love of horse training and painting gave me the material for a one-woman show titled A Good Horse Has Justice In His Heart at the Dog & Horse Fine Art Gallery in Charleston, SC. The title was taken from a favorite Cormac McCarthy passage, chosen to describe a group of my paintings of horses - colts, mustangs, rescues and others - I had personally trained over the years. I have been represented by Dog and Horse Fine Art in Charleston, South Carolina since 2011. During that time, I have been kept busy painting both equine and canine commissions. My work hangs in private collections in Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Colorado, New Jersey and England.
I now live in and work in Nashville with my husband and our dog Boo, where I paint daily both for private commission and for public sale in my home studio. I still consider the grace of the equine form the pinnacle of beauty among breathing things, and I still love to paint horses, along with dogs, flowers, people, landscapes and just about anything that catches my eye in natural light.