The visual world has always held the greatest fascination for me but it was not until I was in my thirties did I have the time to start to indulge myself fully in this interest. The career path that I chose was that of a registered nurse as I did not fancy the thought of being a ‘starving artist.’ Throughout these years I studied and painted in my free time and in time became delighted when I discovered I could make money from something that I loved doing so much! I studied at the Ontario College of Art, the Toronto School of Art, Academy of Realist Art, Toronto and took many workshops with several well-known artists. Through out these years I kept my focus upon life drawing and portrait painting. I am delighted to say that I have been able to organize my live for the past 16 years in such a way that I can dedicate myself fully to Portraiture.
I have been exhibiting my work since 1978. Most recently, since 1999 solo exhibitions in the Heliconian Hall in Yorkville, Toronto also with the Ontario Society of Artists, in the Varley Gallery of Markham. In years further past I exhibited with the OSA in The John B. Aird Gallery, Toronto and in The First Canadian Place, Toronto. In 2005, I won 2nd prize for my portrait of Doc. Neilson with the Portrait Society of Canada.
Teaching has been a delightful extension of my love for the portrait. I have taught, Monday afternoons, 3 courses a year for the past seven years in the Neilson Park Creative Centre, Etobicoke.
I enjoy the time spent in painting models from life and I have been doing this routinely, almost once a week, fall, winter and spring for over 25 years now; however, for me, for commissions this has many disadvantages. Children are unable to sit still, adults cannot spare the endless hours, or if they could, as the hours pass by, a person sitting falls quiet expressionless and often becomes so sleepy. With a photograph there is that spark of life energy and vigor, that special moment in time that is captured. For commissions I consider working from photographs essential! The person commissioning the painting has the ultimate control over the expression and character of the person. They are the ones who choose what they are looking for in a portrait.
1) I talk with the client and we discuss the kind of portrait they would like. I keep this in mind when shooting film.
2) I take a few rolls of film. This time is most helpful for me in getting to know my client. This can be done either in my studio or I visit the person, and or family, in their setting. Once the films have been developed we meet again and discuss the approach for the portrait, settle upon the size of canvas and price. It is after this stage I retreat to my studio, phone off – music on and the painting process begins. It gives me great joy to see a personality grow upon my canvas.
3) When I have finished the painting we meet again. If there is something that the client is not happy with we discuss it and I will take the painting back to my studio to work on further. Being oil on canvas painting this approach is possible. We meet then for the final unveiling.
Through the years, I have asked to paint many portraits starting with my family, friends and then faces which I found most interesting. Many of these portraits have later been purchased. My commissions have included such portraits as Walter Walker for the Peterborough Canoe Museum; R.J. Gray for Osgood Hall, Toronto; James MacDougall past president of the Ontario Society of Artists and Doris McCarthy for the Doris McCarthy Gallery in Scarborough plus other portrait commissions totaling over 81 portraits in the last 15 years.