I was born in Toronto, Ontario and later raised in the nearby city of Barrie. Drawing became my “thing” in Grade 2, and I always knew art was the life for me.
Summers were spent on this beach, by my Grandparents house. Near Wasaga Beach, it is the most beautiful beach in North America. It is huge, and light, with many sandbars, and ripples of uninterrupted sand under the water. Swimming in the Rockies is an entirely different experience, it is beautiful but very cold, so I prefer to stay on the shores and paint!
After graduating from the Ontario College of Art, I worked as a waitress at the Ontario Legislature. A beautiful old building, full of painted portraits, landscapes and sculpture. Painting was an after hours pursuit, and I co-owned The Surface Gallery, on Spadina, for a brief time.
After visiting a friend in Jasper, I fell deeply in love with the Rockies, and moved to Canmore, Alberta, in the early nineties. I would stay there for six years, painting, waitressing, cycling and enjoying the company of great friends. My first big break came with representation by the Sunny Raven gallery, when owner Meg Nicks asked if I would sell my small pastels there. We are friends to this day.
It was in Canmore that the wildlife paintings began. Eventually I moved to Calgary, found employment at Swinton’s Art Supplies, and then moved to a beautiful old street in Okotoks, where we are to this day.
Mr. Wright lived in Okotoks, and it didn’t take long to find and snag him. We had a beautiful small child in 2005, and I was now teaching art at Swinton’s and privately, as well as painting the wildlife and En Plein Air. Once, I approached a gallery in the city with my bears and was rejected. “They’ll never make it here”. I kept painting the animals anyway, at this point it was beyond my control, and The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies was now showing them regularly, thanks to the urgings of friend and fellow artist W.J. Bradley.
Our house is on a mixed use, residential and business street. A perfect place to open my own gallery, at a friends’ insistence, and sell the paintings there. Every Saturday I’d rearrange the living room and throw open the doors. The happiest memories were of the Okotoks Light Up Christmas celebrations. We’d have guest artists, send out invites, light a bonfire and serve mulled wine and award winning chili.
We began camping and hiking in the summers. I’d take a paint box and paint landscapes on location. This was one such hike. This small child loves animals too, and we have many: dog, cat, rabbit, hamster and hedgehog.
One day Robert Wood of Gainsborough Galleries took notice of the paintings, and offered representation there, the oldest established gallery in Calgary. It was a thrilling moment. Thanks to their support, it wasn’t long before other galleries took notice, and today I am represented by 5 fabulous galleries in Alberta and B.C. It makes for a busy life, with teaching, painting and child and animal wrangling. It is worth every second of the struggle. I would not have been successful without the support and encouragement of many fantastic people, family, friends and art enthusiasts.