I paint the most important things in life – people, food, our homes and the land that sustains us. I paint about family and life through the foods we prepare and enjoy, through scenes of home and the flowers we grow and bring home to brighten our spirits. I paint memory and emotions, with color intended to evoke and uplift. My food paintings are about life; they provide a portrait of family, reveal local foodstyles, discuss culture and the concepts of goodness and plenty in the context of agriculture, domesticity and urban society. I do not see my food paintings as 'still life'. I see them as dinner - about the importance of preparing and eating a meal with family and friends, about the swirl of a lively kitchen, conversation and goodness. I often place my food in a symbolic agricultural context – a reminder of being thankful for the origins of our food. Every day we work so that we can maintain a home for ourselves where we can enjoy food and life. It is important; that home focus deserves more attention from the art world than it is getting. My process is straight-forward. I paint and or photograph then paint what I am cooking – then enjoy!. Sometimes I am so struck by the beauty of something about to go in the oven that dinner becomes delayed. Sometimes my family of great cooks send me photos of their food and homes to paint. Some food paintings tell stories of where I was or who I was with. The foods people cook are an element of who they are, so my paintings become portraits of people and events. And I also paint portraits of people, ordinary people who make a gift of themselves, their work and their devotion to family.
Some of my food paintings are surreal or amusing; but really, isn’t life surreal and amusing at times?
I studied art in Windsor, Ontario at Vincent Massey SS and, at the University of Windsor where I produced oil paintings, drawings and sculpture in bronze, plaster and fiber. Believing, however, that art would not pay the bills, I spent the next 30 years working as a technical expert, eventually owning regulatory, agri-environmental consulting companies in Canada and the United States. My work is quite diverse in the fields of food and agriculture, regulated fine chemicals, radiation processing, science and medical editing. During this time, my art studies were limited to just trying to see. I have travelled to, and worked in, over 40 countries, spending considerable time in museums and galleries in Paris, Vienna, China (Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu), Thailand, England, Russia and several other countries. I have kept my eyes open. About twenty years ago, I was looking at the paintings of the Hapsburgs in Vienna and I thought that my middle-class Canadian family was just as interesting, and told the story of Canada as much as the Hapsburgs told the story of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So, I started to paint again, diving right into oil portraiture. In 2003 I moved from Ottawa Canada to Maryland to marry a delightful American. I became the Arts Curator of University United Methodist Church on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park and founded the UUMC Visual Arts Guild. I became a citizen of the US in 2010, also maintaining my Canadian citizenship. In 2011, we moved to Niagara Falls, Canada where I moved my passions for food and cooking into my paintings. I began my transition to becoming a full-time artist by setting up a booth at the farmers' market every week and painting whatever fresh produce I could purchase there. We now live just across the Niagara River in Lewiston NY, where I paint in my large studio, in grocery store cafes, outside for landscapes and at farmers' markets. I became an active, juried, member of the Buffalo Society of Artists and the Buffalo - Niagara Art Association.
We spend the winter near Gainesville Florida in a smaller, colorful studio. I am a member of the Gainesville Fine Arts Association. So I balance my time between in-studio with fresh food, and outdoors with fresh air. For me, painting fresh food is the plein air equivalent for still life painting - the need to quickly capture the freshness and essence of the food while still producing a well composed painting. I coordinated 2020 Vision: Women Artists in Western NY at the Castellani Art Museum. This exhibit of 185 women artists opened February 20, 2020 at the Castellani on the grounds of Niagara University, in Lewiston NY. Over 700 people attended the opening event for this first major exhibit of women artists in the five counties of Western NY. Shortly afterwards, the covid pandemic closed the exhibit which was supposed to run until mid-August 2020. Undaunted, I obtained a NY State Council on the Arts grant to turn the exhibit into a video. The video can now be seen on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZPebc-Fg-c&t=255s)