I started painting about 25 years ago, and eventually started to take classes. I especially love to paint with acrylics and watercolors. I am inspired by impressionist artwork in general, and prefer to paint in that style. I don’t necessarily stick to the true colours of my subjects either; I like colour so much I tend to add it to everything. My paintings evolved from tiny intricate work to bigger work on canvas. Eventually, I did big abstract pieces. Now, I paint based on how I’m feel. I draw my inspiration from so many things, including my own photography. I’m also influenced by nature, but not solely. I believe artists should be able to paint whatever they feel like expressing in the moment.
Over the years, I’ve taken every art workshop possible because I want to learn how things are made. What I love the most about creating art is that I just get lost in it. I could stay awake all night and paint. It’s not something that is necessarily relaxing, because I can get really tense in the process, but I love creating; I love the feeling of sinking into the creative process, and the feel of the paint. I make art because it makes me happy, it’s that simple. It’s something that I need to do.
In 2011 I bought North of 60 Books and recreated it into The Rusty Raven. I’ve always wanted to own that quaint historic building since I moved here 28 years ago. It was built in 1950 by the federal government, and was originally the medical and dental clinic. Since then, it was used for various purposes, but served mostly as a bookstore and gift shop in the recent years. I bought the store because I was afraid that it would be shut down, and I thought that Fort Smith couldn’t afford to lose such a fun local business. We love to sell arts and crafts from local artists, including traditional arts and crafts. I also sell my own art here and I have a custom frame shop attached to the store.