It's a fortunate person who determines what they want to do with their life at an early age. When I was about seven or eight years old my mother helped me try my hand at oil painting "by the numbers" and I was convinced that art was akin to magic. To this day the magic continues. It has paid off in my finding something I was better at than most people, discovering an area of consistent positive reinforcement, and provided me with a living doing something I thoroughly enjoy!
Although I was not born in Michigan, I have spent most of my life here, almost exclusively in Portage. I graduated from Portage Schools, earned an art degree and a teaching certificate from Western Michigan University, and later, a master's degree in sculpture from Central Michigan University.
I have managed to earn a living through art for more than 40 years. That time was divided almost evenly between being a graphic designer (package design) and teaching high school art. I tolerated graphic design because it was necessary at times and taught because I loved it!
The economy and other circumstances made an early retirement from teaching a possibility in 2011. By then I had been working in pastels for over ten years and although it was slow going at first, my production and technique have greatly improved over the last few years. It has helped that I have taken classes with some quality pastel artists including Jim Markle and Susan Ogilvie and taught pastels to adults myself. It is very true that one of the best ways to learn a lot about a topic is to teach it.