I took a lot of art in high school, but I wasn't nearly as passionate about art as I was about literature. I read Jane Eyre five times before I graduated. I became an English major in college, eventually earning a PhD in English from the University of California at Davis. I spent most of my working life as a lecturer in the writing program at UC Davis, specializing in scientific and technical writing and in advanced composition.
Since retiring in 2002, I have taken several art studio classes at Sacramento City College and am currently taking private lessons from Philippe Gandiol. Without exception, my teachers have challenged me to go beyond what I felt comfortable with and try new things. Anything I do well, I owe to them.
Currently, I am focusing on pen and ink drawings of California native trees and acrylic paintings of agricultural landscapes and local gardens. My interest in these subjects began way back in my childhood. One of my dad's favorite dinnertable conversations was about the little farm he was going to buy in Auburn or Colfax when he retired. I remember picking peas and squash in what started out as a Victory Garden in Berkeley. Later, we had a garden in southern California with oranges and Fay Elberta peach trees, with a little room left over for Mom's flowers. We also went camping every summer. Our favorite activity was hiking-Dad taught my sister and me to identify trees on our walks and Mom showed us the delicate blossoms of wildflowers.
I am strictly a studio painter and work from photographs that I or my husband and sons have taken. My husband and I travel around California and indeed the world, looking for interesting crops and trees to photograph. Then I do more research in field guides, botany books, and the web. I don't do botanical drawings, but I like my valley oaks to look like valley oaks, my apricot trees to look like apricot trees. More than that, though, I try to capture what makes this tree, this crop, this garden scene unique and worthy of our attention.
I love that I am still learning, still developing my craft, still seeing the landscape with fresh vision, and not knowing where all this is leading me.