My journey onto the path of artistry started with a dare. My son (at that time he was 10) and I were at his school signing him up for a class. He saw an art class being offered dared me to take the class – thinking that I was too old to go back to school. Taking the dare seriously, I took the course and that’s where it all started.
My early days felt very awkward as I was isolated with the other beginners while our teacher was busy socializing with the regulars. I felt that I was just wasting time and was thinking of quitting. As the days went by, we were finally noticed by the teacher, but actually had some negative criticism rather than constructive comments. I took it as a challenge and took all the three practice pieces seriously, working with the other ladies at the table and we did our own thing. I did spend more time on the third and last project which was a half moon wood plank of a Loon and baby on a lake – and that’s where my love for wildlife art started.
For the next 14 years, I created art featuring all types of animals and wildlife. I owe that extensive experience from where I started watching a weekly TV show entitled “Yarnell School of Fine Art”. The show had me hooked and eventually I bought every video and book from Jerry Yarnell. From then on, I went through and expanded my skills by taking a certification course from the Bill Alexander school, learning portrait paintings from John Howard Sanden, floral painting from Gary and Kathwren Jenkins. I also have obtained a diploma in Fine Arts through distance learning in Montreal, but I have learned most of my skills through hands-on learning with these brilliant artists I mentioned.
There is only one Master artist that stands out as the one that really helped me find my path and that is Buck Paulson and without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He taught more more than the technique of creating pochades, painting seascapes and landscapes, he taught me about putting my spirit and energy into every piece of artwork I created. At that point, I truly felt like an artist and I wanted everyone to have that same feeling.
Creating art isn’t about what paint or brush you use or even what surface you are creating on. It’s about expressing yourself. Anyone can take green and yellow paint and paint a yellow circle as the sun on a canvas with a pretty tree at the bottom. But if your idea is that the sun has beams of yellow and orange coming out of it, graduating to white and blanketing that tree with soft light, then that’s how you should paint it.
I’ve been retired from formal teaching since January 2019, but haven’t stopped giving back to the community by creating lessons and projects free of charge.
I’d like to invite you try any of the free projects that are available to you on the website which can all be done on your own time, no rush and no pressure.
Mixed Media Artist and Instuctor
To give you an idea on the lengths I go to for researching my subjects, check out the video above. This was for a piece of artwork I was creating for a charity hosted by The Steel City Safari. It was a few years ago, so don’t mind the hair colour! The video is approximately four minutes long and I’m with Keydoh, a Bengal Tiger and Keyarah, a female Lion Cub at the Brantford Twin Valley Zoo back in 2009.