Activities and Associations:
A founding member of the Mispillion Art
League of Milford, DE, with signature status
in the Delaware Watercolor Society, I also belong
to and support other art leagues in Delaware and
have been recognized as a Delaware by Hand
Master. I have also had the honor of serving
two terms on the State of Delaware Arts Council.
Exhibiting widely in the region, I have been thrilled to win many awards and participated in several unique opportunities to express myself creatively. A great joy and rewarding activity is teaching art to both children and adults. Nothing is more satisfying than working closely with individuals on special projects to make their vision come to life is also a genuine pleasure.
Complicated objects, reflective surfaces and machinery are like artistic gymnastics for me. I love the challenge of recreating these but making them mine. I’ll paint an interesting area of a motorcycle and render it in lively colors. Nature brings me the most fascinating and colorful subject matter; shadows filtering through a tree on the side of an old barn. But most of all I love people. Not portraiture, but rather interior and urban landscapes filled with people doing people things. I’ll see an old woman selecting the perfect tomato at a produce stand amidst the bustle of the city street and I’ll snap lots of photos or quickly sketch.
I’ll take those images back to my computer and spend days cutting and pasting and reinventing the scene to make an interesting composition to paint in the studio. Enjoy the ride as you experience the painting. Things are going on all around but they all lead back to the main subject or event. Capturing a moment in everyday life is particularly rewarding. Whether it’s a group of kids chasing a dog, arms and legs spinning like windmills, the hunch of house painters’ shoulders concentrating on the delicate trim of an old house, or the sly glances of a couple sharing gossip in a crowded diner…it’s all in the detail.
I enjoy working in a variety of mediums and trying something new. The medium and colors I choose have to relate to the atmospheric conditions of the scene. A jazz singer letting it wail while the crowd rocks? Maybe cool blues, green-grays with pops of red, maybe in oils. A family at the restaurant table drenched in sunlight? The soft edges of pastels would work, or maybe luminous watercolors. A wedding party would work as a collage in acrylic painted tissue paper or a monotype. Exploring new mediums keeps things fresh.
It might be a painting of a busy coffee shop, women picking crabs in a crab shack or a shiny colander full of lemons about to become the refreshing part of a hot summer day. The challenge is not making those people and objects look like a photograph, it’s how to use texture, color and composition to make me feel the way I felt when I first witnessed their story.
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"My Name is Penelope", by Ingrid Wolfengren, illustrated by C.Mercedes Walls
I don’t remember when my family started telling me that I was an artist, it had to be before I was three. Thanks to this encouragement, I have been active in the visual arts as long as I can remember. Even while pursuing other careers. The meaning of that word "artist" has changed and continues to grow with me. Early fascinations were the artists in children's books like EH Shepard, Beatrix Potter, Dr. Seuss, Sir John Tenniel. I’d do my best to represent the nouns in my world. As my world became more complex, I wanted my art to tell a story, influenced by Norman Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth and the soft impressionism of Mary Cassatt. In 2017, I finally had an opportunity to illustrate a children's book. I am learning how to use color theory and the effect it has on the feeling and mood of the composition and continue to learn from local artists, painters, photographers and sculptors alike.
January 2018 saw the release of a new book by Dana Kester McCabe featuring me along with other artists from “the land of pleasant living."
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This painting was the image on the 2017 Donor mug, commissioned by WDDE 91.1 FM to thank donors for contributing to Delmarva First Media, Delaware's NPR station