I grew up in the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey on a sheep farm where my mother was a weaver, spinner, and basket maker, and my father was a decoy carver. I was always surrounded by folk art: art that carried both function and form. My two sisters and I were always encouraged to make creative messes, and from an early age, I knew I wanted to be an artist.
I dabbled in art as a middle-schooler, but it wasn't until I took a drawing class in ninth grade that I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career. I sat next to a boy in that class that would sharpen my pencils for me, in exchange for me helping him out with his drawing, and we would have deep conversations about how I wanted to be an art teacher one day and he wanted to be a phys ed teacher.
A few years later, I graduated from Houghton College in 2004 and received a Bachelor of Art Degree, concentrating in painting and drawing. During my sophomore year in college, I took a Renaissance Art History class, and fell in love with the style and purpose of the art of the period. I was blessed to be able to study that style of art abroad in Italy and Germany.
During a senior year independent study, I made myself an apprentice to some of my favorite artists of that period: Albrecht Durer, Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Hans Holbein, and Leonardo da Vinci (See Renaissance-Style drawings in my portfolio.) I would copy their art work as closely as I could, and then make my own modern renditions using their style. It is from them that I gathered my own style and tools for portraiture. Nothing makes me happier than drawing faces...except for drawing faces for the purpose of making other people happier, which is why I started my own professional portrait business.
I eventually achieved my dream of becoming an art teacher, and now work along side my husband, who is a phys ed and Bible teacher in the same Christian school where we met in fifteen years ago. When I'm not teaching art, I am busy raising our two daughters and inspiring them to make creative messes of their own.
For me, drawing faces it is both the most difficult and most rewarding of challenges: to make a two-dimensional surface reflect the most recognizable three-dimensional object. It is such an act of worship for me- to try to duplicate not only what someone looks like, at the same time thinking that my God- the Creator of the universe- knew exactly what this person would look like before He spoke them into being; He knew the sound of their voice, and everything they would accomplish in their life. As difficult as it is for an artist to put every feature exactly in the place it belongs in the perfect color, perfect shape, perfect shade... God has made each of these features function. It was the only thing God made that He said was "very good." And for me, there is no activity I can do other than drawing a face that makes me realize how small I am and how big our God is. As a portrait artist, He invites me to be creative by being inspired by the creation that He loves most.