poppy in field
I was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1966. At the age of seven, I knew I wanted to pursue a career as an artist after winning an award for my self portrait in crayon. My mother insisted that I take art classes after school and I became hooked. My grandmother had quite a collection of antiques, so as a child I enjoyed going to her house and setting up still lifes with her ornate treasures. As a teen I did a few commissions for friends and family. I graduated from Converse College in 1988 with a BFA in studio art. From 1988 - 1990 I went on to graduate school at University of Georgia where I received an MFA in drawing and painting. As a graduate student I attended a Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy which greatly influenced my work. The layers of history and the difference in culture were very motivating to me. While in school at Georgia, I met my husband, Garrett Speirs, also an artist.
The still life image has been a popular image for me for most of my time as an artist from the trompe l'oeil paintings on furniture and walls to the boards and canvases I paint today. After extended travels in Italy and France, the love of the region's local produce and flora has become a central theme in my work. Since moving to Santa Barbara more than 23 years ago, I've been inspired by the area's organic objects just outside my studio door and at our local farmer's market. I now strive for the magnified view of a vegetable, fruit or succulent pointing out the exquisite details in the lines, forms and colors one may overlook. Chickens, cows and hummingbirds have moved into my array of subject matter. I strive to portray a "portrait" of each of my subjects. Painting the beauty of the somewhat mundane object is an inspiring challenge for me. Everything that I paint once had a life and continues to “live on” in my oil paintings.