My formal training was mercifully short.

At sixteen I was enrolled at the Skola Primijenjene Umjetnosti i Dizajna in Zagreb when my
took us to live in Croatia. The prospect of finally going to an art school was exciting
beyond words. Very few new students were accepted each year and I had the good fortune
to be one of them.

However, I had already been rebelling against school for some years and it wasn't long
before even
art school felt crushing. Although I was there willingly, I couldn't believe that
my teachers had the audacity to put any restrictions on me whatsoever regarding how
and what I was going to paint.
Clearly, I wasn't going to be a good student.

After I got over feeling ungrateful, I started skipping classes and, eventually, stopped
going altogether.
Waves of relief flooded through me when I regained the freedom
to draw and paint on my own.

One afternoon, when I was seventeen, I made the unwavering commitment to embark upon
my life as a painter. This isn't as far fetched as it might sound. All my life I had access to my
mother's studio. She was an amazing painter. One of the greatest gifts which I received from
her was that she taught me to draw what I really see and not what I think I see. As a kid, I
remember painting in her studio and often bursting into tears from the sheer frustration of

being unable to make something work to my satisfaction. Without my mother's encourage-
ment, I may well have given up. Instead, I learned to persevere and find solutions.

With this strong foundation, and a vast amount of self-discipline and innocence, I was
determined to make a living as a painter. Of course, it was far from easy! Thankfully, right from
the beginning, there were people who loved my work. I had shows, commissions, and private
sales. And, this happened despite the dreadful difficulty I had in speaking to people about my
work. Making phone calls for appointments just about killed me! I congratulate myself for

every call I ever made.

All I wanted was to paint all day. I needed a place to live. I needed to paint. I didn't care about
anything else. For years my fortunes vacillated between broke and very broke. I just didn't
care because I was managing, albeit barely. It's true that I'd wistfully look at grapes when all I
could afford was cabbage. But, that's just the way it was if I wanted to buy that desperately
needed new brush.

I'd be lying if I said there weren't times when I was sick with worrying about how I was going to
make it through the month. Nevertheless, I considered my life to be wildly successful because
I was painting, and painting is what I'd set out to do.

Gradually, the contacts grew. Through exhibitions and word-of-mouth, I met more and more
people who began collecting my work. And, here I am today still painting full time, living in
Croatia these days, and finding inspiration everywhere.

This very abbreviated story of my painting life wouldn't be complete without mentioning
my family and friends. The positive effects of their support and generosity over the years
cannot possibly be overstated. It's with immense gratitude that I thank each one of them
for being in my life.

This is a painting my mom did of me while we traveled through England on our way  back to
Canada after living in Zagreb. I was seventeen at the time and  I was just weeks away from
making the momentous decision
to become a painter for the rest of my life.

It seemed inevitable that I would have a career in the arts. Although I had a longstanding
interest in visual arts since I was a child, in my early teens I had taken acting classes and 
considered working in the theatre. But, painting was making a steady ascent and soon
overshadowed my other interests.

I remember the very moment when I decided that painting would be my life.  At this time I was
living with four friends in a little apartment above a shop. My obsession with painting was only
growing by the day. I remember thinking, "This is all I want." And, I had the distinct knowledge
that if I wanted this then I must paint each and every day and never wait for inspiration
to find me. I must only work and the inspiration would take care of itself.

Far from finding this daunting, I knew I could work this hard. I was committed with my heart
and soul. I am deeply grateful that this desire to paint is always with me





  We are living in Turkey these days. In November we spent
  a few days in the town of Goreme.This town is situated in
  the region of Cappadocia, famous for it's ancient dwellings
  carved both into the cliffs and into the natural towers made
  of rock. This was an amazing place and, although I spent
  a lot of time drawing, I only captured a small taste of the
  wonders of the place.
  I have a huge collection of paintings and sketches that
  I have done while traveling. One could say that I am
  obsessive about recording all the intriguing and beautiful
  things I see.  A short list of subjects in my collection
  includes: fountains, iguanas, mountains, goldfish, horses,
  peacocks, snakes, a road kill dragon fly, a dead turtle,
  coral, oceans, flowers, clouds, and catfish.

  Because I don't work from photos, these hundreds upon
  hundreds of paintings and drawings are truly invaluable
  to me as I work in my studio. For example,  if I need to
  know what a boa contrictor looks like, I"ll go and find the
  drawing I did of one while in the mangroves of San Blas.

  Recently, I found this little painting that my
  mother did of me and my friend, Lori. We were
  always drawing!  There were three of us in the
  neighbourhood who were obsessed with draw-
  ng: Lori, Pam, and I.

  During class at school, whenever we could get
  away with it, we were always drawing. We
  knew we could listen to the teacher very well

  and draw at the same time. Unfortunately, the
  teachers didn't always believe we had this

  ability and they insisted we shut our drawing
  books. However, we just opened them up
  again at the nearest opportunity.

  We were always welcome to work in my mom's
  studio. She would help us with our watercolours
  and, when we suddenly had the notion to do oil
  paintings, she was game to show us how. There
  was always a feeling in the studio that we could
  accomplish anything to which we set our minds.


One rather monumental thing I should mention on this page is that my siblings and I
lived a television-free childhood. My parents firmly decided that life was too important
to spend it in front of a television. We didn't miss it at all since we were always busy
with a million other activities: painting, carving, sewing, beading, print making, playing
outside with our friends, veiwing the stars and planets
through my father's telescopes name just a few. My mother sings
and plays the guitar and my father played the
harmonica, so we often sang together as a family. My mother read stories and novels
outloud to us each evening.


My parents believed we were as strong as oxen, even when we were little! Therefore,
it was a family outing to gather firewood from the forest, work in the large garden,
and go on boot camp canoe trips in the summertime. 

Many of the experiences and emotions of my childhood are woven into my paintings,
sometimes subtly and sometimes more directly.  My abundant memories are my
precious jewels, and as crucial to my work as paint and paper.



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A Collection of Photographs