I’m happy to say I’m not a starving artist. In fact, I’m pretty well fed. My father, with whom my husband and I share a big Vermont house, is a gourmet cook and our dinner table features menus he picked up through a lifetime of sailing the seven seas.
However, even though well-fed, I am an artist.
It took me a long time to become comfortable making that claim. And just when I was able to say, “yes, I am an artist,” I discovered that I am really an illustrator – a different animal altogether.
Once I got that clear in my mind, I learned that I am a particular kind of illustrator – a children’s illustrator. And not just a generic children’s illustrator, I’m a happy children’s illustrator. I’m not sure that’s really a category of illustration, but I claim the adjective because the constant feedback I get – especially from children – is that my art makes them smile.
Really, it doesn’t get much better than that!
This happy children’s illustrator was born in Texas a little longer ago than I can remember. At the age of 4, I moved with my parents to the Persian Gulf, to the Arabian-American Oil Company (ARAMCO) town of Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia, in fact, where my sea-captain father became a port pilot responsible for guiding oil tankers into and out of harbor. We lived there for 7 years before he accepted a position guiding ships through the Panama Canal. I lived in Panama through high school.
While my father worked the sea, my mother and I travel the lands of Europe, Asia, North Africa, and South and Central America. Everywhere we went, what I noticed was the differences and similarities in how people decorated their homes, their public places, their possessions, and even their own bodies.
Decades later, when I began to draw as a way to occupy myself when I was too physically weak to do anything else, I felt pulled by the Mola fabric art of the Kuna People of Panama, and the stylistic elements of the Mola continue to influence everything I create. However, other traditional world cultures also inform my illustrations: India paisley and mendhi, Javanese batik, African and Native American juxtapositions of color, European, Greco-Roman and Islamic religious architecture and design, even the sailor’s scrimshaw illustrations. (more…)
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