About the Artist
Often, I am asked “When did you become an artist?” Giving this a bit of thought I realize an artist is always an artist…we are born creative. My earliest memories of artistic practice goes back to when I was just 4 years old entering Kindergarten. There were stations we would be sent to participate…clay, the kitchen, sandbox, etc. This little girl had her eye set on one activity in particular. For an unknown reason, the easel was a place that few were called on to experiment. I knew when I got the chance, that easel was waiting for me to paint masterpieces. The call-for-artist finally announced my name! To this day I can remember the experience as if it were yesterday. The weight of the heavy, oilcloth smock slipping over my shoulders. The smell and color of the tempera paint I was assigned. The large, clumsy paint brush handed to me. As I stepped up to that newsprint on the easel I felt like I must have had on a beret (don’t all artists wear one) painting by a street lamp in the fog. Yes, I had dreamt of this moment. I began dipping the brush into paint. It felt heavy as I lifted it to the paper. And so that girl painted. She painted her heart out! Not wanting to lose a moment of this opportunity, I kept painting until I was told to stop. An artist was born that day. She was proud, confident, and knew it was what she would do with her life. Time warp ahead to my 30’s, my sweet dad passed away. Sorting through his things with Mom, there it was. I discovered he had saved my very first painting on the top shelf of his closet all those years. Dad had been my best mentor and muse. He was also my first collector. I still have that painting packed up somewhere, today.
Through the years, art was always where I found myself happy. Life was lived a bit different stepping outside the lines and through creative eyes. I continued to pay close attention to art assignments in my school years. At 12, I was chosen to design the scarves to drape the church and altar for the first mass to be performed in our parish’s new church. When the bishop paid a visit, I was asked more than once to design holy cards or posters as gifts to him from the school. My first sale was when I was just 14 years old and continued with 3D arts & crafts. At the end of my freshman year of high school, my name was called for the highest award given in art for my class. These opportunities encouraged me to follow my heart and study art in college.
We married young and so began a family when I was barely 20. The choice was necessary to choose diapers and baby food over paints and sketchbooks. My studies were put on the back burner as I took on the role of Mommy. A few years into that gig, the realization was I needed a few hours a week for some self care. I began classes in decorative painting and was soon asked to teach on a local level. The next 20 years saw me teaching up to 7 classes a week, 25+ students in a class at various studios across Southern California. Through those experiences, I was asked to design some work to be displayed at the National Tole & Decorative Painting Convention in Nashville. I thought they were putting a bit of high expectations on me (always the self critic). During that show I was approached by 5 book publishing houses to sign exclusive contracts, 8 magazine publications requesting contributing articles, and my teaching expanded to the national level at conventions and as a visiting artist for private studios. The name of my company and books was “Fresh Off the Vine”. The experiences through that leap of faith lead to many more art business opportunities.
At some point, I reached a block. I was traveling about 6 months of the year teaching, working trade shows, and demonstrating for manufacturers. Grandchildren were born while “Nano” was on the road. I missed the experiences of family. For a few years I kept trying to figure out what it was I needed to express myself through arts in balance with time at home. I realized I wanted to go back to my college roots rediscovering abstract art. Now I know all those bits of life were leading up to that point for me to get back into the study of fine art. My work happens in a home studio that seems to be shrinking with additions of easels, canvases, always more paints and tools of the trade. Life has been a constant of learning and changing, morphing into the next level. Painting in abstract/mixed media is always an adventure, growing by building skills and experience. My husband of 42 years, Leroy King, recently retired after a successful career and now wears the hat of business manager supporting my art endeavors. Our four children I consider my finest creations. Together with their spouses and partners, they have blessed us with 10 precious grandchildren. We make our home in Lancaster, California. Our front door is always welcoming. Please watch your step over the toys, baby paraphernalia, and noise of those rooting for favorite sports teams. You can find me upstairs in my humble studio space where I find my calm, peace and happiness covered with paint splatters.