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#1 - It's been quite a ride!

I gave a Power Point slide show and talk this summer, and thought it might fit well in pieces as blog posts. Here goes...

When I was first asked to do a talk about my “Artist Journey”, my first question was “Why”?

It’s just my life. It’s not that different from anyone else’s life. But when I ran that by my friends and family they affectionately pointed out that I was in fact a “crazy artist”. After a little contemplation - (very little) - I realized they might have a point.

I put myself through 8 colleges, often working 3 jobs at once – almost always at least 2. I designed and built a home and studio from the ground up with my own hands - TWICE! When my first child was born, I was meeting with clients in my studio the next day with her in a bassinet beside me. To keep a painting routine with kids, I would get up regularly at 4:00 am to 'sneak out' and plein air paint the sunrise while they were I could get back before they got up. (I still keep up this early morning practice.) And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, I guess I may fit the bill for a “crazy artist”.

It all started very near where I live and work today – in Yellowstone National Park. I was 4 years old when I first visited Yellowstone. There’s a long lost photo of me in a cowgirl outfit at 4 years old in front of a log building in Gardiner, Montana... just about a block away from where my studio is today.

I still have vivid memories of that first time in Yellowstone.... the vast landscapes, the variety from water falls, rivers, lakes to geysers and boiling mud. The wildlife absolutely captivated me. I remember trying to feed the bears out our car windows. I thought it was a great idea! My mother? not so much... "Like the moon" I would tell people. "You have to see Yellowstone in person for yourself. It's AMAZING."

I was on a 6 week cross country trip with my parents. I was the youngest by far, and the only one still at home. We were traveling in the summer before I started kindergarten. When we returned and I started school, I was introduced to the Art Cart – again, I was enthralled.

I had found my passions very early in life. ART & NATURE...


(Anola my oldest daughter gets the credit for the 'caricatures')

To set the stage, I was the youngest BY FAR of my three siblings. My next oldest sibling is 20 years older than I. And, I have a sister that is 26 years older than I am. My mother was 47 years old when I was born, my father about 50 and I was an aunt three times when I entered the world! So I did have brothers and sisters but grew up as an 'only child' with nieces and a nephew my age. My parents were often perceived as my grandparents. My sisters looked to be 'my mom'.

I thought there were some definite advantages to having older parents. Nothing much phased them, so they were happy to let me follow my artist dreams. My mother always said “you can do whatever you put your mind to”. I believed her.

And so the journey begins...

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