Interviewed by Juli Black
Chris and I built our home 8 years ago on Deloache between Hillcrest and Thackery. It’s the house with the blue Adirondack chairs in front, where we love to sit in the evenings (when not so hot!) – a great way to meet and visit with our neighbors. When we designed the house, we included a painting studio, so not only do I get to do what I love but I get to do it from my own home.
Where did you study?
I earned my Bachelors degree in Fine Arts from Rhodes College and the Memphis College of Art. Upon graduation in 1978, I moved to Dallas where Neiman Marcus hired me to be the primary fashion illustrator for their newspaper and magazine ads throughout the United States.
After ten years in the field of fashion illustration, I returned to school and earned a Masters degree and then a PhD in psychology. My area of specialization was psycho-oncology – an area of psychology that addresses the unique emotional and spiritual issues that accompany a diagnosis of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. I enjoyed a fulfilling career in private practice, primarily working with terminally-ill patients and their families.
I retired from full-time practice a few years ago, having “promised myself” that I would return to art one day. I now spend most of my time in the studio, painting. Along with a new body of work that I have recently commenced (based on Chris’ and my travels to Europe), I focus most of my time on fine art portraiture.
What inspires your art?
As an artist, I am classically trained. My portraiture is often compared with the Flemish masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer, especially in the intricate use of light to bring out my subjects’ best features.
Recent &/or notable works to tell us about?
In addition to portrait commissions for private collections, I have completed two institutional portraits for SMU within the past year. The first shown below is Mr. Paul Loyd, Jr., benefactor of SMU’s Loyd All Sports Center. The portrait now hangs in the foyer of the Sports Center at the northwest corner of Ford Stadium.
The second portrait below is Mr. and Mrs. Gary Crum of Houston, Texas. The Crums made possible the SMU Crum Basketball Center, and this portrait hangs in its foyer. Both of these locations are open to the public.
How does one go about commissioning a portrait?
When someone is interested in having a portrait painted by me, we will discuss ideas for poses, location, attire, etc. Next I schedule a visit with the subject. This allows me to become acquainted with his/her unique qualities and characteristic movements. My goal is to represent the timeless essence of each person that I paint and to convey an inviting sense of who they are. During this visit, I will take dozens of photographs of the subject for my use back in the studio, thereby eliminating the need for long sittings.
I am blessed with three step-daughters – each a jewel in her own right – and three precious grandchildren (the fourth due in October). And as if that weren’t enough, we have two four-legged babies: our mini-goldendoodles Biscuit and Bosco.
When I’m not painting:
I love cooking and hosting dinners for family and friends, going to SMU football and basketball games, bicycling with Chris throughout Preston Hollow and traveling throughout Europe. We are members of Highland Park United Methodist Church, where I volunteer as a grief and end-of-life counselor.
I’ve been a member for many years of the wonderful Preston Hollow Womens Club, and though recently I’ve been too busy to participate in their wide range of fun and enriching activities, I am hoping that will change soon.
Favorite thing about living in PHE?
THE PEOPLE. With the exception of the neighborhood I grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, I can honestly say that I have never felt such a close connection with my extended neighborhood as I do in Preston Hollow East. As someone who both works and plays in PHE, this integral sense of community means the world to me.
What is your favorite time of year/holiday?
The Fall. I love the cooler, sweater-and-boots weather, football, sipping wine fireside, dining al fresco, and getting ready for the holidays. I can hardly wait to change out our yard flag from the current “Hot Fun in the Summer Time!” to our Autumn flag.