Can you tell us a little bit about your background/history that has led you to this point?
I have been drawing and painting since a child. When I was younger, my best friend wanted to play school and all I wanted to do was color. Obsessed then, obsessed still. I had a 13-year stint working for a major airline after college, which gave me a wonderful opportunity to travel and be exposed to so much that inspired me visually.
Tell us about your product/brand and the inspiration behind it?
The art I create is completely inspired by the natural world. Whether it is a riverscape or a beautiful blue heron, for me it is about appreciating the incredible, ever-changing wild world around us. I try to honor each of the animals I paint by attempting to capture their personality. I leave their habitat out of the painting generally. I want the viewer to focus entirely on the animal’s essence.
I am not a naturalist in the terms of being an expert, but will always be a student of nature. Although I live in a huge city, I am fortunate enough to have enough green space with a surprising number of wild animals right in my backyard. Sometimes that is inspiration enough until I can get away to a truly wilder place.
I think wilderness qualifies as any acre of land where you can feel like you have left the human race behind for a little while. All people have a need to find that wild space. There is a reason why the most loved and visited national parks are the ones that are most accessible.
How does sustainability play a role in your brand/product development? How important has this been to consumers?
I don’t think that my consumers really think about sustainability in terms of my product. They either fall in love or don’t with a piece of work. They do care about shipping charges though! So, selling closer is better for lots of reasons….
As far as my product development and sustainability, I make a great effort to use materials and products that I hope will make less of an impact on our environment. Long ago I gave up using any product that was petroleum/oil-based or had high level VOC’s. This was mainly for my personal health. Because of this elimination, I was able to get rid of the huge ventilation system I had in place for years because fumes are no longer an issue for me.
I also try to use as many local and made in America products as feasible, and I do not allow myself any single-use paper products in the studio. Use, reuse, and reuse it again is my goal.
I spent a week in New Mexico with a friend once and now have an appreciation for every drop of water I did not have before. Brush cleaning water is used, reused, reused again. Wastefulness is a state of mind that I am trying to correct. These are all small things that I hope will add up to some positive effect.
What are your thoughts on the future role sustainability plays both professionally in business and in our everyday lifestyle choices, in regards to the future health of our planet?
I think that the average consumer in this country has got to have a change in priorities for any thing to truly change in the business world. Enlightenment is key. We all need to be constantly reminded of the negative impact if we do not embrace sustainability. One photo of a sea turtle with a plastic straw embedded up his nose should be enough to remind us.
How does technology and innovation play a role in your business?
Technology/ social media marketing, reference material, education, web inspiration. Innovation/ better, healthier art materials.
Do you have a favorite item- it may be an heirloom handed down from a grandparent, friend or relative of some kind- that has great meaning to you?
The garden clippers that belonged to my Mother. I use them every time I go scavenging for something beautiful to cut and bring into my house.
If you had to choose one place to live with only the basics available to you where would it be and what would you take with you apart from the obvious survival gear?
Maybe Little St. Simons Island, a virtually untouched island off the Georgia coast. It is home to birds and alligators galore. I would bring along mosquito netting.
Imagine that 25 years from now you are looking back on your life, what would be the legacy that you would hope for your brand to leave behind?
That the art I have created has in some way brought someone closer to the memory of that natural world that they dreamed of or once experienced.
What message do you have for those starting their own business in regards to sustainability and innovation?
Ha! Still trying to figure it out. Start small, go big?
Do you have a quote, saying or poem you find inspirational and what is it?
“It’s always impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela
What brands do you admire?
Eileen Fisher, Megan Huntz (ha, all fashion)
How important do you think transparency and authenticity in brands is to consumers?
Authenticity is critical, especially in the inauthentic world we live in where you can create any image you want on social media and the web.
Can you tell us something about your personal journey that might surprise us to know?
It is getting harder and harder to put the paint brush down. I feel a little incomplete if I don’t paint every single day. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not.
What is your favorite animal and why?
I love cats. They are so smart, so discriminating, so elegant. And then, of course, birds.
What is one thing you would be willing to or have already given up with the health of the planet in mind?
I believe in washcloths!! All those single-use, personal wipes/cleansing cloths that people use are something that I do not purchase/use anymore. People believe that anything can be flushed down our sewer systems and that it just goes away. I will never forget hearing about these washcloths hanging in the bushes south of Atlanta after the Chattahoochee [River] had overflowed and the sewer system had been compromised.