I paint landscapes and portraits in watercolor. You can often find me off the side of a road - pulling my painting gear out of the car. I once heard that painting en plein air improves your studio portraiture. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time, but since I love both disciplines I decided to practice it. Now I keep jug of water and a briefcase watercolor kit in my car, so I’m always ready to paint when I see something inspiring.
Developing the skill to quickly capture a scene on site has enabled me to see subtle shifts in value and color. This adds rich atmospheric elements to my paintings. It’s improved my portraiture; because, it takes more than capturing someone’s likeness to make a successful portrait. It isn’t just what you see, but also what you feel. When I teach portraiture, I stress the need to forget the likeness and look for the essence. Find what grabs you about that person and paint it. That’s what makes an engaging work of art.
I particularly enjoy children’s portraits. There is a thread in my life that explains this. I am a parent of a special needs daughter with all the demands yet joy that journey brings. I was also a public health pediatric nurse evaluating childhood development. With such involvement with children, what else would I enjoy more than painting their portraits?
My mother was an artist, and growing up I thought all people had easels in their homes. I started a self-directed art education later in life and have not stopped studying since. I avidly read art books and travel to study with master artists, such as Charles Reid, Mary Whyte and Alvaro Castegnet. I find painting with other artists stimulating. I don’t want to become satisfied and complacent with my art.
I am a member of Kentucky Watercolor Society’s Plein Air group and an associate member of the Portrait Society of America, the National Watercolor Society, Kentucky Watercolor Society and other professional groups. I teach weekly classes and paint daily in my home studio.