Artist and Educator
I was born in Danville, Illinois in 1957. I was raised in a home where creating things was encouraged. Making my own skate boards from old roller skates, tree houses in the woods, collecting poke berries for dying eggs with scratched designs, painting, drawing, and studying music. I participated in a local art league as a model for several painting and drawing classes, where it was always fun to see how artists interpreted my poses. Several adults in this group encouraged me to experiment with different media and took an interest in my art development through high school and undergraduate school.
I attended Eastern Illinois University and studied Art Education. I was fortunate to have highly skilled professors in a number of studio areas. The most notable was Dr. Bill Heyduck, my ceramics professor known across central Illinois. He assigned undergraduate students to important tasks like mixing clay and firing several large gas kilns. His encouragement and ability to teach new concepts was something I carried into my own teaching. In the area of Art Education, Professor Rod Buffington strongly influenced my thinking about teaching K-12 students. During my final year at Eastern, I earned the best of show award in the senior show for a welded cor-ten steel sculpture. In addition, I won the senior award in Art Education.
During my tenure as junior high and high school Art teacher in both Illinois and later in Pennsylvania, I took great pride in teaching students to draw well, which became a fundamental skill they developed in other media.
I taught ceramics and design courses in a large suburban high school program in York, PA. Several students went on to art schools on the East coast.
My personal art activity re-emerged when I took a bonsai class on the East coast from a man whose responsibilities at the National Arboretum in Washington, D.C. were to care for the gifts from Japan. Some of these treasures were over 300 years old. I have since cultivated my bonsai collection for 25 years, as living sculpture that requires daily attention, complex three dimensional manipulation, and continuing education with international scholars.
From the beginning of my career, I have focused my art energy on teaching students. In later years as a school principal and university professor, my time focused on leading teachers and teaching graduate students.