My involvement in the art world actually started more than 30 years ago when I was in my teens. During the 70s and early 80s, I took all the art classes I could in high school, went to art shows and received a number of awards for my art. I loved many types of art but was strongly encouraged to pursue other areas of training and work instead of being a “starving artist.” In 1980, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in religious education. The college I attended had no art department.
I trained to do ministry, then teaching and then construction. I have worked in a few different ministries and non-profit organizations. I worked as support services director at Mel Trotter Ministries in Grand Rapids for about 12 years and really enjoyed it.
While working at Mel Trotter, a couple things happened that drastically changed my life. First, I had a couple leg injuries that damaged nerves and resulted in chronic pain in my right calf. The pain has since moved into both my legs and up to the middle of my back. I am always in pain, sometimes crippling pain. I had another work-related accident in 2001 when the power takeoff driver on a tractor hit me in the head. I received a closed head injury and had to leave the job I loved. I can no longer work like I did before because I cannot concentrate, have very little short-term memory and other problems related to the head injury.
But a strange thing happened after this accident. I started to draw and paint more and more. I found myself enjoying the creation of art more than ever.