I won a best in show ribbon when I was 7 years old and it left a mark on me ever since. Creating has felt like a natural piece of me I have always carried around so it just made sense to follow this path.
I was born and raised on the Western Slope of Colorado. I primarily grew up in a little town called Rifle. I met my husband in the 7th grade and we began dating when we were 17. I attended the Kansas City Art Institute and graduated with a BFA from Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. I have worked as a waitress, ornamental iron welder, kindergarten teacher, technology teacher, gardener, faux painter, interior designer, graphic designer, art teacher, and fine artist. I have a goofy labradoodle named Maui, a 3-year-old daughter and having a baby in June. My hobbies include wake-boarding, snowboarding/ skiing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, music and traveling. I also really love animals and learning all about them. I currently live in Arvada, CO and work full time as an artist specializing in animal portraiture and teaching online painting workshops with ZensoCreative.com
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Tell us about your passion for animals
I was raised in a home with quite a few animals and living in the country we often found a lot of injured animals. My mother and I would find a bird with a broken wing or a kitten without a mother and nurse them back to health. Outside of the rescues, we had 5 cats. My cat was named Cookie. I could call her name and see her bounding over to me way across the other side of the pasture. She would sleep with me every night and would often meet me at the bus stop. One year, Cookie had kittens and we got to keep all of them. We named them Chip, Sugar, and Peanut. Cookie was so special to me and that was the first really impactful relationship with an animal that I had.
When I was 10 years old I joined 4-H. We adopted a young Paint Mustang, brown and white, I named her Canella which is cinnamon in Spanish. I believe she was a rescue from the Indian Reservation but I'll never know for sure. She and I pretty much grew up together. She learned how to listen to a rider and I learned how to ride her. We competed in barrel racing competitions and I showed her at the fair. We never won but the friendship was real. We had other horses, mules and even the occasional donkeys and cows that would stay at our pasture but Canella was special and learning everything I did with her really built a large part of me.
Losing these animals has shown me how important animals are in our lives and I wanted to create meaningful work that paid tribute to the unconditional love we receive from them. A world without animals would be bare and broken. Every animal I paint has a different story and personality and I aim to capture that in my work as a tribute to their importance on this earth.
It is the most rewarding yet hardest job I have ever had, and I am constantly learning. There is more to it than creating all the time. You have to constantly be open to change. It’s one thing to be able to paint well. It’s another thing to understand how to sell your work, what to price it at and how to market yourself.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist or creative entrepreneur?
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