When this group was first organized I was invited by one of the original owners to be a part of it. I knew her from a swap we had both been in on another Yahoo group.
How long have you been a member?
Since the beginning - 2005
Where do you live?
I live in Cody, Wyoming USA (Where the West is still Wild!) Cody is the gateway to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park . We are surrounded by mountains and it is a beautiful place to live. We have tons of wildlife - I have deer in my yard every day. Last year we had a doe with fawns that came to nibble on the flowers on my porch every afternoon. It was so fun to watch the babies grow! Cody is the home of the world renowned Buffalo Bill Historical Center, a complex of several awesome museums - The Buffalo Bill Museum, The Winchester Firearms Museum, The Draper Natural History Museum, The Plains Indian Museum, and the Whitney Art Gallery. Cody was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody and his famous Irma Hotel is still in operation. In the summer we have a rodeo every night, concerts in the park, the Cody Stampede, and many other fun activities.
How have your surroundings affected your art?
Growing up on a ranch in rural South Dakota I learned early to love the beauty of nature. We have moved a lot in our married life so I have seen a great deal of this country from Virginia and the Carolinas to the west coast and everything in between including the gulf coast. The variety in the USA is inspiring in so many ways but most especially in the natural beauty - I can never capture those colors and the play of the light found in nature. Living in Wyoming is very inspiring - the wildlife, the majestic mountains, Yellowstone National Park, the prairies, and everything in between. I think this is why birds and other natural things are some of my favorite themes when creating. Right now I am being serenaded by the doves just outside my window.
Please share a little about your own art experience.
I have always been interested in arts and crafts. My mother was very crafty and I grew up knowing that if you wanted something for your house you could always make it yourself if you just tried. I sew, quilt, have dabbled in ceramics, doll making, cross stitch, and many other arts but it wasn't until I discovered paperarts that I really found my niche. It is so varied that one never grows bored with it. My most recently acquired toy is a Silhouette electronic die cut machine and I am loving it.
What are some of your favorite techniques or genres?
I am one of those people who is always trying something new, so usually it changes frequently as I learn new things. Right now I am learning to use my Silhouette and designing cut files for it. I am also learning to relax and be a little more messy in my art. My girls tell me I need to not be so uptight about everything being "perfect" - which it never is! I love anything that is vintage - steampunk, shabby chic -things that remind me of ancestors. I have also been working on restoring some old family photos and dabbling in digital art. I have been playing with torn paper backgrounds for years and am always intriqued about all the different ways that people find to do it. One of my favorite is to tear really bright papers such as origami or printed papers and glue them down with gel medium, then cover the whole thing with a layer of thin white tissue paper, also glued with gel medium. It make the tissue semi-transparent and mutes all of the colored papers for a really pretty look.
What inspires you?
Probably the thing that inspires me most is to see my daughters and granddaughter develop as artists. I was the first in our family to dabble in altered art and mixed media, but now they have all surpassed me in talent and vision. It inspires me to see their work and how they have grown. Also, I am constantly inspired by the art of our group members. They are so varied in their techniques and themes but all are so beautiful and inspiring.
Who are some famous artists whose work you admire and what especially appeals to you aboutthis?
I live in the West and am constantly exposed to wonderful western art by the best western artists ever at the Whitney Gallery Museum, and in the local art galleries as there are many contemporary artists of note who live in this area. Although I do love all of this art, it is not my favorite. My favorite works are those featuring children. I love the work of the Red Rose Girls - Jessie Willcox Smith, Violet Oakley, and Elizabeth Shippen Green. I think Jessie Wilcox Smith is probably my favorite Red Rose artist (I have some of her prints on my walls). I love how she captured the innocence of children in such natural settings. William Adolphe Bouguereau, is another artist I love, especially his paintings of children. Other artists I like are Mary Cassatt and Bessie Pease Gutman.
Describe your work area... Do you have your own studio or craft room?
I do have an art room. It is small (about 9 x 91/2 feet) but I have lots of shelves and have managed to fit all my "stuff" as well as a computer desk in there. LOL It is so nice to have a little place where you can work then close the door if things are messy instead of having to put everything away each time.
What tips or tricks have you found to help carve out a niche for your supplies and art?
I have all my stamps and lots of other supplies in Iris carts. I pulled them apart and reassembled them to add drawers to each making them higher, then I hooked them together so they are a solid unit. My dh made a board that fits on top from pre-finished supershelf so it makes a nice counter-top. I use clear acrylic box frames in the drawers to add a second layer so I can easily lift them out to see what is in the bottom layer. I use mini crates (from the dollar store) to store cut papers and small supplies on shelves that we mounted above the Iris carts. My images and paper ephemera are filed in a two drawer file cabinet which fits under my work table. My cardstock is in plastic paper sorters (Cropper Hopper) on a book shelf unit.
Please share a little about your family and pets...
I have been married to my college sweetheart for 44 years in September. We have 4 grown children and 6 beautiful, wonderfully talented grandchildren ages 2 to 18 year. We now have only one pet - a white goldfish named "Whitey" (his little orange companion "Goldie" died). The imaginative names are courtesy of the little grandkids who gave them to us. :-)
If you'd like, please share a little about your childhood, where you grew up, and when your creativity began.
I was born and raised in South Dakota. I was the only girl in a family of six children – three older brothers and two younger. We lived on a ranch down a dirt road thirteen mile from the nearest town. We went to a rural one-room school until 8th grade, rode horses to school, and always had chores to do before and after school. We grew our own food - butchered and canned it for the winter months and worked hard on the ranch. But we had great times too just being kids - running wild over the hills, wading in the creek, swimming in the stock pond, picking wild berries (oh, you would die for my mom’s chokecherry jelly!). My mother was a make-do kind of person so I learned early how to sew and craft. Family and neighbors were frequent visitors in our home so we learned to share and help one another. As far back as I can remember we were always creating or refurbishing things. When I was thirteen I entered an art contest I saw advertised in the newspaper and won a week-long art camp at a state college. That was so eye opening for me. It was the first time I ever knew about so many art supplies...pencils in every hardness, kneaded erasers, watercolor paper! I was in heaven. My mom had given me $20 for meals (that was a fortune in 1961!) but they ended up being included in the camp so I spent it all at the book store - on art supplies!
Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
I sew and have been making some clothes for my grandkids recently – I have a culotte to finish hemming today in fact. I love to read and just finished "The Help" which was a gift from my daughter and granddaughter - can't wait to see the movie! I volunteer one day each week at the local Family History Center and teach a Family History class on Sundays at church. I have been working on my own genealogy and on digitally restoring some old family photos.