My journey onto the path of artistry started with a dare that I took with my son when we were in his school signing him up for a class. He saw a continuing education course and that little kid challenged me to take the course – thinking that I was too old to go back to school. Taking the dare seriously, I took the course and that’s where it all started.
My early days in the school created a little awkwardness as I was isolated with the other beginners while our teacher was busy socializing with the regulars. I felt that I was just wasting time in this school and was thinking of quitting. As the days went by, we were finally noticed by the teacher, but actually had some negative criticism rather than constructive comments. I took it as a challenge and took all the three practice pieces seriously, most particularly the third piece which was a half moon wood plank of a Loon and baby on a lake – and that’s where my artistic feel started.
I could probably say that I have artistic blood as my immediate family members are all crafty in one way or the other. My mother is an amazing wood-worker and my father is tricky in inventing new things in the house. My sister is into ceramics and I was into Jewellery making and floral arranging at that time. That’s where I probably obtained my feeling to formally learn art through that continuing education course.
For over 14 years, I have been creating art featuring all types of animals and wildlife. I owe that extensive experience from where I started watching a weekly TV show entitled “Yarnell School of Fine Art”. The show had me hooked and eventually I bought every video and book from Jerry Yarnell. From then on, I went through and expanded my skills by learning portrait paintings from John Howard Sanden, floral painting from Gary and Kathwren Jenkins. I also have obtained a diploma in Fine Arts through distance learning but I have learned most of my skills through hands-on learning with these brilliant artists I mentioned. My one artist that stands out as the one that really helped me find my path was Buck Paulson and without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
When I obtained all my formal education about art, I started painting landscapes and flowers. Then I eventually moved to creating artwork of portraits, seascapes, animal portraits and mixed media. There is a certain bliss and satisfaction that I experience when making art, and I believe that I can do it as long as I live.
To give you an idea on the lengths I go to for researching my subjects, check out the video above. This was for a piece of artwork I was creating for a charity hosted by The Steel City Safari. It was a few years ago, so don’t mind the hair colour! The video is approximately four minutes long and I’m with Keydoh, a Bengal Tiger and Keyarah, a female Lion Cub at the Brantford Twin Valley Zoo back in 2009.