All my life animals and art have been my passions.
I have been interested in both for about as long as I can remember. I was the crafty kid that always had a project going on… and was forever bringing home stray animals. I was fortunate enough to go to an elementary school that had the philosophy of teaching to the individual child and letting each child develop at his or her own pace. There was also a very strong art program so in addition to traditional classes I spent extra hours each week in the art room, which further sparked my creativity and interest in art.
In college I chose to study art, although I was equally interested in animals and briefly considered a career in veterinary medicine. But the need to be creative was just too strong. I graduated with a degree in studio art, a degree in secondary education, and a minor in philosophy. I taught art for four years, before deciding to pursue becoming a full time studio artist, which I did for about ten years, attending outdoor and indoor art fairs selling my original watercolors and mosaics.
In life there are specific moments most of us can point to as pivotal points of change. While attending an art fair, I met someone interested in displaying my work at her business. She boarded pet parrots while people were on vacation. One of my favorite subject matters was painting parrots, mostly because I am attracted to bright colors. Beyond that I knew little of the pet parrot trade. But this meeting was to prove to be just such a pivotal moment. I learned about the breeding and selling of companion parrots, and the related issue of unwanted companion birds.
As I walked around her facility, I was both mesmerized by the dazzling beauty of macaws, cockatoos, amazons, and other parrots and dismayed at the sudden realization of the number of parrots that existed in captivity. It just wasn’t something I had given much thought to. Fast forward to now: I run a small non profit shelter for parrots along with a small retail store. I continue to make art when I can, and also a variety of artisan gifts and gourmet food items which I sell at my retail store and at area farmer’s markets. Although I could not have imagined the life I have now when I was in art school, I have never regretted my decision to help unwanted companion parrots.