I was born in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, one of the snowiest places in the USA. I showed passion for art, writing, and the outdoors at an early age. I captured the highlights of my childhood in a memoir, “My Steamboat,” complete with an eccentric family and lots of snowmen. I moved to Boulder, CO when I was 18 to study fine art at the University of Colorado, and ended up living there for 10 years. I got my degree in painting and art history. I would classify myself at the time as part hippie and part sassy fashion girl, although that might describe almost all college women.
After college I set out with my first husband on a wild, three-year journey around the United States in a vintage (read barely-running) motor home. We were literally homeless (unless you call a Wal-Mart or McDonalds parking lot a home) and lived in Florida in the winter and up north in the summer. We made our living at outdoor art festivals, and met a whole lot of way-too-interesting people on the way. Our motor home broke down in 38 states, some states more than 4 times. I wrote a book about that, too, called, “The Freeway.” The subject matter for our small paintings was the homes of strangers, family, and friends with whom we visited and stayed during our travels. In a way we painted a sociological portrait of America, with our own twist on it. Emphasis on the twist.
I fell in love with Birmingham, Alabama while traveling, and we settled there in 1994. I loved its climate, beauty, and Southern culture, but mostly the friendly, genuine people. I had my daughter, Annabelle, soon after we moved there, and she spent her youngest years traveling with us to outdoor art festivals, galleries, and museums to exhibit our paintings. For the next 7 years our career blossomed and grew, and Annabelle showed undeniable promise in the visual arts. We tried to steer her toward insurance sales so she would support us in our old age, but it didn’t take. The highlight of that period was a solo exhibit of our paintings at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
In 2002 my ex and I split, and I’ve been asked about it so much that I wrote an explanation about it. In case you don’t want to try the link I’ll tell you what it says. Two words: irreconcilable differences. I think those two words sum up as simply as possible anyone’s obviously complicated story.
Soon after, I met my present husband, the ceramic artist, daylily hybridizer, and fly fisherman, Scott Bennett. Together we founded Red Dot Gallery, a working studio, teaching space, and art gallery, and we joyfully celebrated ten years in business in September of 2014. When Red Dot first opened, being next to a clay studio afforded me the inspiration and tools to incorporate ceramic tiles in my paintings, and with this mixed media combination I completed two bodies of work over several years. One called “The Grammar of Ornament,” was purely decorative and very satisfying to make. “Exhibit A” evolved from there, a 12 panel paintings-with-ceramics project depicting places in Alabama. I received the Alabama Council on the Arts Fellowship for the series, and it was hosted by the lovely Mobile Museum of Art.
For the past few years I’ve been painting Without a Net, the series of work that inspired this blog. After all of my exploration of different places, I decided to focus extremely close to home and look at my insides. The Hunstville Museum of Art hosted a solo exhibit of the work from February to June of 2015.This blog should catch us up on the rest, so look around and enjoy yourself.
More info about me and my work can be found at reddotgallery.com.