I’m a Midwestern illustrator, author, and product designer.
Things I love: cats, travel, biking (the old-school kind where you actually go outside), and community gardens.
Grab a seat! I’ll make the coffee
You may have popped in to my Instagram stories and shared a cup of coffee with me in the mornings—nice to see you here! I love chatting with you on Instagram and sharing all the art projects I'm currently working on.
I always knew I wanted to be an artist, so when I attended the University of Illinois in 1992, I got my degree in one of the three art majors they offered—graphic design. The only other options were photography and painting. I am not a photographer and according to my dad, artists (painters) don’t make any money, so graphic design it was. Let’s just say I wasn't immune to my dad’s lack of enthusiasm.
I quickly learned
that kerning (adjusting space between letters) on the back of John Deere oil lube spray cans was not my thing. After a few more advertising agency stints and designing catalogs for farm equipment, I took the plunge and went 100% freelance at 27 years old. No more 9-5 jobs.
I mixed in mural painting
with my freelance graphic design, and eventually went all-out and started designing my own home décor product line in 2000. I teamed up with a fine art publisher and agent, Art In Motion, and began designing countless product lines for retailers across the globe.
Story on style - truth bomb!
I am not like other artists. I have not one, not two, but many styles up my sleeve. Most artists work very hard at developing their own signature style. In all honesty, I have tried my darndest to achieve the same! But I’ve been illustrating since I was in the single digits, and over the years my illustration style has changed dramatically. While that used to bother me, I have since come to embrace the fact that I thrive at pushing myself to try new mediums and methods.
Hanging out with my cats
Rocco and Theo are my family rescue cats. They make us smile like nothing else! Theo enjoys sprawling out across my art table, while Rocco makes his way around the house sleeping in every hidden corner. These two boys inspired me to write and illustrate my new book How to Pet a Cat, where I teach you all the best tips and tricks to be the person your cat wants you to be.
When you live with a travel addict (my hubby runs the travel planning company Any Direction Travel), you go explore every nook and cranny around the world. Over 50 countries to date and we're always planning which one's next!
(Side note): Our family-travel kickstarted in 2008 when we sold our Minnesota home and everything in it, and took our three small children to Europe with a one-way ticket (pre-cell phone era). We traveled the continent with one medium-size suitcase each, living very simply. The only toys the kids had were what could fit in a 1x1-foot space in their suitcase, namely paper dolls and soldiers, and a few raggedy stuffed animals. We returned to the States after one year, but have made many extended stays since.
Riding my bike
Yep, I dusted off my 25-year old bike during Covid and haven’t looked back! I took my first lengthy bike trip, riding across the state of Missouri. Not going to lie, I’m secretly dreaming of taking more and longer bike trips. I promise I’ll bring my sketchbook when I do!
Picking beets in my community garden
I’m a plant lover! While I’ve downsized my indoor plant collection (‘cuz hey! A girl’s got to travel and who’s going to take care of all those plants when I’m gone?), I’ve shifted my plant fix to the great outdoors. Between gardening at home and tending to a plot at the community garden, I do my best to grow my own veggies and cut flowers. Check out my book, Happy Houseplants, on how to grow 30 easy indoor plants.
A look back
Over 20 years of painting + design
- Freelance graphic design and mural painting
- Had baby Cole
- Moved to Missouri
- Exhibited at the Atlant Gift Show selling handpainted home decor + gifts
- Signed on with fine art Publisher, Art In Motion
- Had baby Mia
- Launched extensive product line with Art In Motion
- Sold products in major retailers around the world
- Had baby Ella
- Moved to Minnesota
- Art featured on HGTV + Paula's Home Cooking Show
- Created limited editions for Mario Andretti Winery in Napa Valley
- Sold original paintings in art galleries in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and Lahaina, Hawaii
- Sold our house to travel Europe for one year
- Painted remotely for Art In Motion
- Launched a line of wall decor with Target
- Started licensing my own artwork
- Began a collaboration designing exclusive products for HomeGoods, T.J.Maxx, Marshall's
- Wrote and illustrated the book HAPPY HOUSEPLANTS
- Developed National Parks product line for retailers
- HAPPY HOUSEPLANTS book sold in Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, New York Botanical Garden
- Reached the milestone of traveling to over 50 countries
- Wrote and illustrated the book HOW TO PET A CAT