I lived in Colo .until I was about 7 yrs old when he was transferred back to Indpls. where I lived until I was 14. No mountains there
We did travel west for vacations, another childhood memory I cherish. I remember driving along little dirt trails just wide enough for his jeep to fit down, and staring down a ravine on my right that as far as I could see down there was nothing but rock and mountain terrain and occasionally a car that had not made it! And I remember getting car sick because we would drive forever .
I spent a lot of time while I was growing up sitting in my room and drawing or painting and coloring. Instead of playing outside with the neighborhood kids I would sit and make doll clothes or little trinkets or jewelry. For as far back as I can remember I wanted to grow up and be an "Artist". I still to this day make a lot of crafts too.
I moved to Illinois for about a year and a half then back to Colo. The love of the mountains and that part of the country kept calling to me
I was there another four years. I met my daughter's father there. Then it was back to Illinois where I have remained for the past 19 years, I stayed beacause of family and I raised my daughter Shara here.
In 1983 after quitting the post office I started doing freelance artwork as a side business while working a wide variety of other more stable jobs.
I started thinking at this time I could work from home and someday if I ever wanted to go back west or anywhere else I would be able to.
In 1991 I attended The American Academy of Art in Chicago to fine tune my skills. My two year program turned into a four year program.
Some of the most trying times of my life happened during that period, but I did not give up. I even had to drop out for a short time because of a family crisis but returned and graduated with two associate degrees in Aug. of '98.
Before finishing school I went to work part time for Jeff Pacelt ( you will notice his knives in my scrimshaw area) and was allowed to do an internship while I finished school. I worked in an office doing reception work, creative and designing displays and learning Point of Purchase Display Industry.
Jeff made knives as a hobby, he took me to my first knife show. He was looking for a scrimshaw artist. I said well I am an artist maybe I can do it. Most of my craftsman or trade skills I have taught myself. I tried endlessly to find someone to apprentice me both as a signpainter and a tattoo artist. The more I was turned down and turned away the more determined I became to learn.
As with the scrimshaw, I would go to the library and research and read as much information as I could find on the materials, supplies and techniques to perform all of these different mediums. Then I would almost become obsessed and keep at it until I could conquer each and every one of them. This was at different times throughout these years. The skills and knowledge I acquired at school in Chicago have propelled me to be a "finer" artist.
All the while in the back of my mind I kept thinking and dreaming someday I would get caught up enough financially to just venture out and do my artwork full time. The more skills I could learn the more versatile I would be. I was planning the "someday" I would be able to travel, go anywhere I wished taking my skills and therefore my means of living with me. Maybe even West
This year I finally did it. I have heard of and read about so many artists that worked their entire life but not until after retiring do they pursue their dream to be an artist.
In May of 1998 I decided I could not wait any longer I gave up my "real " job and decided to put all my time and effort into my artwork and promoting it.
I must be crazy!
I had some freelance work at the time but I was not financially prepared to do this. I finally asked myself "what are you waiting for?" "What is the worse that could happen?" my answer was I might have to go get a job if I cannot make this work so I went for it! It was a struggle financially I was in no position to do this but would I ever be?
I believe that God gave me this talent, it is a gift from God and I am supposed to use it. To provide service to others, to bring beauty, happiness and warmth into peoples lives with what I can create for them.
I like to capture a moment a look on a childs face or in their eyes or the simple beauty of natures design and record it for others to enjoy. When I am working on a piece for someone all the while I am thinking of that person. It is somewhat of a bonding experience. Especially when I do a child's portrait they are so innocent and simple, unaware of the adult pressures and challenges we are all faced with.
The same is true with animals. People love their animals, even cherish them, they are important in peoples lives. I want to be able to give that to someone, not just a photograph; something more, something I personally created for that person just for them from my heart.
And nature, nature just is
I take a lot of my own photographs for the artwork I do, I am intrigued with watercolor and hope to incorporate it into my work in the very near future. I think that artists may see things differently than other people in a different way I want to share that.
When I grow old I want to look back on my life and hopefully, possibly I may have been able to touch many people's lives in a very small but special way!
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