I create illustrations for picture books, gift books, journals, and greeting cards that range from magical flying horses to kangaroos and green pythons to the Nutcracker Ballet. For gallery exhibitions I focus on fruits, vegetables, and elegant still lifes.
I use a variety of watercolor techniques in my paintings: loose washes, glazing, drybrushing and varied textural effects. I also enjoy teaching watercolor and talking to all ages about the process of illustrating books.
One of my earliest horses
When I was a little girl in Philadelphia, I used to watch a children’s television show in which the host would tell fairy tales, illustrating them as he spoke. On a huge blank sheet of white paper, he would render flawless drawings, bringing the stories to life. I had no idea that he was tracing pre-drawn pictures – it was like magic. For years, I thought that drawings and paintings happened this way, perfectly formed at first try, and I would discard my paper the moment I committed an imperfect line. And while I now sketch many imperfect drafts to create a finished piece, I think that my drive for perfection of detail as well as my sense of magic spring from this childhood influence.
My love of design and detail are greatly influenced by medieval manuscript illuminators and leading artists of the late nineteenth century Arts & Crafts movement, particularly William Morris. From the moment I fell in love with Black Beauty as a very young child, animals and nature have always been my favorite subjects to draw and paint, and my life is filled with many, including a lovely Morgan mare, and two affectionate and opinionated cats who have me very well trained.
“The aim should be to combine clearness of form and firmness of structure with the mystery which comes of abundance and richness of detail….”
William Morris, 1883