Please read through these and the FAQs before you email me. I might have already answered your question here!
If you're curious about a specific painting, have a question that I haven't answered here, or just want to say hi, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm quite busy, but I try to answer all of my emails in a timely manner.
So here are commonly asked student questions.
When and where were you born?
December 20, 1976 is my birthday, and I was born in West Germany. West Germany doesn't exist anymore. So that's pretty cool.
What was your childhood like?
I only had one sibling, my little brother Jon. We were latchkey kids, which means we got home from school before our parents got home from work. We lived in Arizona, which is really really really hot. Like, really hot. So during the really hot months, we didn't play outside a lot. We didn't have cable, or smart phones, or the Internet, so we read a lot of books, played with toys, invented games, and found ways to creatively spend our time. We also watched cartoons and rented movies from the video store down the street. In the late fall and winter, we spent a lot more time outside, riding bikes and running around.
When did you start making art?
I have always made art. Like all children, I loved to draw and paint and generally make creative messes when I was a kid. Luckily, my dad is a hobby artist, so my parents understood the necessity of artistic expression. My mom, who was a secretary, brought home lots of what we called scratch paper, paper her office would have thrown out otherwise. With piles of scratch paper and tons of crayons, I made art every day. My favorite things to draw were things found in nature: animals, plants, insects, landscapes, and people.
Did you always want to be an artist?
I never really thought about being a professional artist when I was a child. I wanted to be an athlete, or an astronaut, or a cowboy, or a writer, or a time traveler, or a dinosaur. Or a unicorn. Always a unicorn. But it wasn't until I was grown up that I considered being a professional artist.
How did you start DawgArt?
When I was staying home to take care of my babies, I started doing portraits in graphite (pencil), and offering them locally. My neighbor, who had several animals, asked me to make portraits for her to match her house. But her house was painted in all the colors of the rainbow, every room a different shade! She had seen some other artists working in bright colors, and asked if I could do something like that. So I made an experimental painting, using colors that didn't match reality. She loved it and ordered four paintings. And DawgArt grew from there!
Did you go to art school to learn how to paint?
When I started DawgArt, I only knew what I had learned from art class in grade school and high school. So I was what you would call self taught. I made couple hundred paintings that way, basically, trying to figure out how colors worked and how acrylic paint interacted. Every piece was a new experiment. In 2008, I decided to go back to university and study art. I started in graphic design, at Utah Valley University, but quickly realized that it wasn't for me, so I switched over the illustration program. After a couple years of prerequisite classes, I applied for the competitive BFA Illustration program there at UVU, and I was accepted into the program in 2010.
There began my long years of studio classes and intensive art study at UVU. It was very challenging, and very difficult, and very wonderful. Throughout my years at university, I continued to have DawgArt gallery shows around Utah Valley, so you can imagine that my schedule was quite full. I graduated with honors in 2013, and I can no longer be called self taught. But when you put two DawgArt paintings side by side, one from the beginning and one painted recently, you can see what a difference my studies -- and years of experience -- have made!
Genesis - 2003
Shakti - 2013
Zebra - 2003
Sunrise - 2014
How do you know what colors to paint?
Over the years, and through my art education, I've learned a lot about color theory. But it's still a very intuitive process, and a lot of times, I don't really even think about it anymore when I start a painting. I look at the subject and the values I'll be working with, and the color choices just assert themselves.
What are your favorite palettes to work with?
Obviously, you can look through my gallery and see that I love working with a complementary color palette. I love blue, so it sneaks into just about every one of my paintings. I also like analogous, triad, split complementary, and monochromatic palettes. I would like to work more intentionally with tetradic and quadrilateral palettes though.
What inspires you?
I was raised in Arizona, where we are blessed with wide open skies that blaze with color. With heat too, but that's a different story. I have always been drawn to color. It makes me happy. So I love to find bright colors used creatively. Also, chromatically organized merchandise in stores. Yummy. I love art of all kinds: music, textiles, sculpture, writing, photography, dance, film. So I am inspired by the works of other artists in all fields, along with the beauty found in nature.
What's your favorite thing to draw?
I like drawing fish things and underwater creatures. Also monsters and strange-looking faces, and things that are creepy. Just mostly things that are weird. Sometimes I need a break from painting happy dogs. If you would like to see some of that weird stuff, you can visit my other website.
What medium is your favorite?
I like watercolor. I did a lot of watercolor for a few semesters at university, and then I had to work on other mediums, so I fell out of practice. But I think I will start using them again. Because they make me happy.
Who are your favorite artists and influences?
Vincent vanGogh, Maxfield Parrish, William Adolphe Bouguereau, JW Waterhouse, JC Leyendecker, Donato Giancola, and J. Kirk Richards are some of my favorite painters. Other visual artists I love are Arthur Rackham, Beatrix Potter, Don Seegmiller, Will Terry, Mike Mignola, Jeff Smith, Jay Fosgitt, Omar Rayyan, Jim Henson, Tim Burton, and Edward Gorey.
If you could meet any artist no longer living, who would it be?
If it was just dinner, I would want to meet Vincent vanGogh. If it was following them around in their studio all day, I would want to meet Leonardo daVinci.
Where do you live?
I live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona.
Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I'm a horse person.
Do you have pets?
We have one dog Toby, who lives with us, and another dog Eric, who is currently living with his grandparents.
Are dogs just your favorite thing ever?
I like unicorns way more.
What's the most difficult work of art you ever accomplished?
I wrote a novel. That was really hard. Really. And I'm working on another one. Because I'm silly.
What advice do you have for kids who want to be professional artists?
Keep drawing. Always. Draw every day. Carry a sketchbook around with you. In your backpack, in your purse. Doodle on your homework, when your teachers are lecturing. Draw from life. That means draw things around you: faces, figures, trees, EVERYTHING.
This is my advice: NEVER. STOP. DRAWING. Save all your drawings and look back at them every once in a while to see how far you've come.
Copy other artists. Draw and paint in their style. Get online and watch artists draw and paint. Copy them! This is how you learn. After a while, after trying on other people's voices, you will find your own voice, and it will be awesome.
Experiment. Don't be afraid to make things that are ugly and weird and not what you expected. You can't grow as an artist if you don't make mistakes. Good luck.