I’ve been interested in both art and animals for as long as I can remember. I grew up in rural West Virginia and always had animals around me. Some of the animals we owned were cats, dogs, cows, ducks, and rabbits. We were always surrounded by domesticated animals like cattle, sheep and donkeys as well as wildlife such as deer, turkey, raccoons, coyote, possum, owls and all kinds of other critters. When I was young I loved coloring pictures of animals, but when I was in middle school I made a pencil drawing of a rhino, and I think that’s when I really thought about being a professional artist. The look on that rhino’s face was so emotional, I just wanted to re-create that beauty in my own style. As I moved into high school, I delved even more into artwork and still loved animals as my subject matter. I graduated Salutatorian in 1999.
I attended college at Virginia Tech and graduated with honors in 2004. I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design. Ut Prosim! While at Tech, I continued to study artwork and animals. I was able to greatly expand my knowledge and experience in the arts and took classes in painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design and art history. I also began exploring other subject matter as well including still life, the human figure and conceptual works.
Once I graduated, I was hired as an Art Director for the Roanoke, VA plant of a national billboard advertising agency in 2004. I design both printed and digital billboards, manage our plant website and social media, handle production, and work with our print and prepress technicians among other things. I also create freelance design and fine art in my spare time. In 2008 I started volunteering at my local zoo, Mill Mountain Zoo, and enjoyed it so much that I began doing volunteer work for other organizations as well. I became an Artist in Conservation for the Snow Leopard Trust, designed some logos for them, and even started a chapter of the Trust here in my town. I continue to volunteer for Mill Mountain Zoo, the Snow Leopard Trust and other institutions, and due to my involvement in these various organizations, my artwork has been even more inspired by animals. Conservation is extremely important to me, and I hope to share that message in my art and design work.
So you’ll see mostly wildlife art in my gallery. However, I am at an age where most of my friends are getting married and starting families, so I find myself creating baby portraits as well.
Some random quick facts about me in no particular order:
– I have always wanted to visit Alaska.
– I LOVE animals, volunteering, cheese, and rock music.
– I love my husband Neil, and our animals!
– I like hiking, although sometimes my body doesn’t.
– I love the beauty of the state West Virginia, where I grew up. There is no place in the world like it.
– I love to read, but TV is my guilty pleasure.
– I am totally and utterly petrified of caterpillars. (I was stung by one when I was little – yes, some of them sting!)
– I love pepperoni rolls.
– I have never had a haircut yet, so my hair touches the floor when it’s down. How much longer that will last is anyone’s guess. I mostly wear it up in a bun.
– I have a brother who is sort of a genius.
– I constantly feel busy.
– I am a Christian.
– I want to do good things and I long to change the world.
– I like to cook and bake, but I hate washing dishes.
– I love working with and creating things with my hands.