How many children do you have? What are their ages?
One son, 12 years old
How did your artistic career begin?
While I colored and drew from a very early age, I was also good at math and science so I didn’t study art formally until after graduating from college. Up to that point, I read everything I could on drawing and painting – trying to educate myself. After graduation, I moved to Baltimore and, while I was starting to have some success with my work (winning competitions and selling frequently), I decided to start formally studying. I first attended MICA, but because of my desire for a realistic, old master style foundation, I quickly found myself looking for another teacher. I first studied with David Zuccarini (a graduate of the Corcoran School and then a graduate of MICA as a student of Joseph Sheppard) .
I moved to New York and there studied at the Art Students League and took as many workshops as I could there and at Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia.
Once my son was born, I stayed pretty close to home and focused on my own body of work and the business of my art.
What is your Parenting/work/art situation?
I am married and have a studio outside the home in a commercial building about a half mile from our house. At one point, I had almost 40 students teaching only basic foundational studies. However, as my personal commissions and commitments grew, I started scaling back.
We started homeschooling our son last year. This forced me to get very creative in order to get my painting time in. Often, I will go to the studio and paint in the evenings and on weekends when my husband is home. We remain flexible and have started plans for a studio in our back yard.
Do you now or have you ever worked other jobs while pursuing your art. How to you preserve time and energy for your art. Are there ways that your art benefits from your other job?
From 1983 – 2004 I worked full time and painted every other available moment. When Erik was born in 2004, we made the decision that I would stay home and paint full time. Because I painted the entire time I was employed, many of my coworkers and company management were familiar with my work. One of my biggest commissions was from my former employer to the International Securities Exchange as a gift.
When do you make time to do your art and do you have a regular art routine?
I find time every day to do either a drawing or work on a painting. Now that life is a little more crazy, I often will work either very early or later in the evening. I still have regular studio time for students on Sundays, Monday evenings and Wednesdays.
Do your children get involved with your art?
He loves to draw in a ‘graphic novel’ sort of way. He is often in my paintings as he makes some spending money modeling for me.
Do they inspire aspects of your art?
He often inspires …sometimes in his expressions, sometimes just the way he’s sitting or looking at something. I also try to do a portrait of him every year or so as he grows.
How has having children changed your artwork?
Well, it certainly has expanded my level of “life experience”…as with an actor, the more you experience, the more you can express, and so I feel like I have more to say in my work after having Erik. I feel my work is getting deeper in its message as I paint with a lot of allegory and metaphor.
How does making time for artwork influence other household tasks?
Hahaha…well, I certainly could do more loads of laundry if I wanted. Our house is not spotless, but my husband and I are a good team and when I have a big deadline, he picks up the slack. We live fairly simply so it makes it easier to stay on top of. I definitely get help when I need it though!
Have different ages of your children been more difficult to make time for artwork and in which ways?
It’s certainly easier to make time for artwork as Erik gets older. I can put him on task for an assignment or a project and we can often work together in the studio. When he was very young, it was much more difficult and I would have a “mother’s helper” for when my husband was traveling or not able to babysit.
How do you encourage your children to be artistic?
I encourage Erik to be open to all kinds of ideas and artistic expressions. This is pretty easy as he is a very, very “out of the box” thinker. Right now, he’s creating his own computer games and the graphics to go with them.
Do you feel extra pressure as an artist to raise your children to be artistic?
No. I encourage him to listen to his own voice in terms of creative expression in whatever form it takes.
Have you seen your children take inspiration from your artwork?
Yes actually. He sees how I come up with ideas and sketch them, and then they turn into a painting or large drawing. This has taught him how to follow through with an idea to fruition and to have patience.
In what ways does being an artist make being a parent harder or easier?
Well, as an artist I’ve been taught and encouraged to “see”. To me, this means actually seeing him…being present and identifying signs of sadness, frustration, unanswered questions, etc. – whatever he may be feeling but finding a hard time expressing. As a parent, being open and creative and aware of him makes it a little bit easier. Still, parenting is the most challenging job I’ve ever had.
Do you think being a parent affects the way you are perceived as an artist?
Good question….I have no idea. I guess others would have to answer that one. J
Are there any other things about Balancing Painting and Parenting that you would like to share? Hmmmm….just take one day at a time – grab art time when you can until they reach an age that gives you a bigger window.