I was first educated in the arts at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA back in the 1970s . None of the women in my family attended college and I was made to feel that I shouldn’t follow through in a field that seemed like playing. Instead, I went to work and met my future husband. Although I have worked in several industries (retail buyer, residential real estate sales and leasing, corporate entertaining, art promoter, and artist) and contributed my time and efforts to charities and fund-raising spanning 30 years, my love of the arts and it’s creation, execution, and promotion has always been a source of great exuberance for me. Through my life, I have never lost my connection to art.
So many people, places, and things have influenced my career path in the arts. My grandmother was a sculptor to the celebrities in Hollywood. She always encouraged my creative imagination. Her father was a “known” painter and illustrator named William Balfour-Ker.
In the 1980’s I studied the Art of the Painted Finish at the Isobel O’Neill Foundation in New York City where I lived and was raising my family. I would need to bring some projects home to work on because studio time was not long enough. I had small children at home and had to keep my eye on the coffee can with brushes, mineral spirits and covered jars of japan paints. I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment when a class was completed. This is where I was first introduced to glazing and design application, distressing, faux marble, negoro nuri, gold leafing, casein and milk paints, vinegar painting to name a few. I would also work on their furniture pieces for the foundation’s annual party and fundraiser at Sothebys, and sometimes assisted an instructor at short notice if they needed it.
I took classes at the New School, School of Visual Arts, NYU, Southampton College, and the Finishing School. While living on the east end of Long Island, I’ve taken some very interesting workshops in solar-plate etching and water-color.
I co-owned and managed a working art gallery in 1999-2000. It was my first exposure to the public including weekly publicity. I painted various small objet, from decoratives for the home to large furniture for sale. This was my first successful experience selling my work and those of other artists at the Keyes-Robbins Gallery in Sag Harbor, NY.
I continued selling my painted finishes on furniture from my home and at art fairs or our local Ashwagh Hall, participating in East Hampton Art Alliance group shows. I have also participated in our Studio Art Tour sponsored by the East Hampton Art Alliance. Over the past five years I’ve enjoyed organizing a Boutique de Noel with artist friends in our various homes – they have been quite profitable.
In 2004-2005 I joined a grass-roots art co-operative for one year. I was encouraged to try out other mediums on paper, canvas, and board. I was invited into local art shows by fellow co-op members, but was told sometimes “ no furniture”, thereby needing to spread my wings into new venues.
Travel has had a big influence on what inspires me. In Cambodia, I visited a government run school where the students ( of all ages) were learning the art of painting with lacquer, gold leaf, and egg-shell crackle. This is their predominant art medium in SE Asia. I have sold a lot of artwork for a favorite gallery of mine in Hanoi, Vietnam.