I live just outside my home town of Olean, NY, where I am surrounded by all I love most: a natural setting of eastern deciduous forest and wildlife, where visiting birds are a special delight. In addition to the company of wild birds, I happily keep a flock of chickens and am entertained by their individual personalities. Indoors, my home is made more lively by the companionship of four parrots. The wild and domestic birds are endless inspiration for my work, even finding their way into my fantasy art, where the imaginative creatures are given the same attention to detail, anatomy, and behavior as their real counterparts. I share my life and adventures with my husband, Brian.
My interests are very similar to the artwork I create; I love exploring the natural world and enjoy learning about both flora and fauna. Every walk outdoors is a nature walk and I am a hobbyist naturalist and citizen scientist. I treasure my chickens and parrots as they are endlessly entertaining and surprisingly affectionate. I love learning about and applying permaculture ideals to my property both in gardening and also in restoring native habitat. I am a conservationist at heart as well, and attempt to do as much as I can to raise awareness and donate to conservation groups. As part of my interest in conservation of our natural world and a reasonable level of sustainability, I am also interested in ethical hunting.
In creating my art, I usually attempt to express my feelings for the subject; rarely do I paint animal subjects that I have not observed in person. I feel my most successful works are those that are inspired directly from life and things that I’ve been able to experience myself. I combine these experiences with the emotions I felt as an observer, and take them back to my studio, often accompanied by field sketches. I also take reference photography to help with details, and combine these with other resources such as study skins to create the most accurate paintings that I can while remaining true to my experience. These invaluable levels of research into real animals also allows me to translates into creating engaging and believable fantasy creatures. For my digital art I use Corel Painter with a Wacom tablet, and for my traditional media art I use many mediums, with a main focus on oils, acrylics, watercolors, and sculpture.
I’ve had no formal training; instead, I have studied under the vast canopy of nature and delight in the smallest details of a mossy rock all the way up to grand, sweeping landscapes. Other artists also influence my translation of nature to paint. Even as a young child, I was buried in borrowed library books of wildlife artists. I’ve since had the great fortune to have supportive artist friends to grow and learn alongside.
My greatest achievement and honor to date was having my artwork selected as the winner of the 2015-2016 Federal Duck stamp, on September 20th, 2014.
The transition into painting duck stamps was only natural since the program mirrors my love for birds, art, and conservation. Along with entering many state-level competitions, I first entered the Federal contest in 2010. I chose to paint Ruddy Ducks for my 2015 entry (which became the winning painting) out of love for the personable little diving ducks. I first encountered this charming species in the wild some years prior near Batavia, NY, where they captivated me, and I vowed to paint them someday. I’ve observed them several times since in my home state, on a trip to the U.S. west coast, and in captivity at various aviaries.
The Federal Duck Stamp Program has played a critical role in the preservation of wetlands and entire ecosystems for flora and fauna alike. Started in 1934, the program has since generated more than $850 million, which has gone on to purchase or lease over 6.5 million acres of wetlands habitat in the United States. Best known are our National Wildlife Refuges, over 500 of which were partially or entirely funded by the Program, and into which a current Federal Duck Stamp may also be used as an entrance pass.
Awards and Honors
- Ohio Ducks Unlimited Sponsor Print artist of the year, 2017-2018
- Second place, Michigan Duck Stamp design competition, MI, 2017
- Third place, Ohio Duck Stamp design competition, OH, 2017
- Winner of the 2015-16 Federal Duck Stamp Competition, 2014-2015
- Awarded “Distinguished Artist of the Year”, Cattaraugus County Arts Council, 2015
- Solo Exhibition, “Featherdust”, JCC Center Gallery in Olean, 2015
- Solo Exhibition, Great Swamp Conservency in Canastota, NY, 2015
- Awarded with OHS Fine Arts Wall of Fame, 2015
- Juror’s Choice, Art in the Park, Olean NY, 2013
- 5th Place (Hooded Mergansers), North Carolina Duck Stamp Competition, Washington NC, 2013
- Best in Show, Art in the Park, Olean NY, 2012
- Artist Guest of Honor, MFF, Chicago IL, 2012
- Solo Exhibition, Wellsville Creative Arts Center, Wellsville NY, 2011
- Best in Category (Swan Lake), “Share one Planet” International Wildlife art Competition, 2011
- 4th place (Gadwalls), North Carolina Duck Stamp Competition, Washington NC, 2011
- Various Best in Show, Director’s Choice, Guest of Honor’s Choice… ribbons, Anthrocon, Pittsburgh PA, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015