I was born in 1954, and have lived in the Grand Rapids area all of my life. I received a B.A. in 1982 from Aquinas College and then obtained a Master’s of Social Work in 1984 at Michigan State University. I worked in the field of social work for more than 25 years.
Due to a childhood injury, I struggled with increasing back pain that eventually led to three successive back surgeries within four years. I began taking pictures while participating in physical rehabilitation after my first back surgery. I would walk a minimum of two miles a day, always carrying a camera and taking shots of birds, flowers, butterflies and anything that caught my eye. I did not have any formal training in photography but did seem to have a good eye for nature. I have been shooting pictures for the last six years and use these pictures as a reference for my paintings.
Five years ago, after my third back surgery left me with many hours of solitude, I began working with watercolor pencils. The anesthesia left me with aphasia and I withdrew into the world of art and images. After a year of speech therapy, I began to show the world the gift I received from the adversity and complications of the last surgery.
I have had no formal training in the field of art, yet I won three Guild Purchase Awards from Mary Free Bed art exhibits. I have gained entrance into the Celebration of the Arts, a Festival of Spiritual Arts, and won the Legacy Trust Prize. Finally, I have shown pieces of my work in ArtPrize and Art Peers. I continue to practice and work with my gift on a daily basis. I believe that my ability to draw and paint is the gift I received in exchange for the loss of my speech.