I tell my students that if there is anything I want them to know about me above all else, it is that I am passionate about what I do. The chance to study, create, share and immerse myself in the Folk Art of my ancestors is living a dream for me!
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in Art and Art History. After college during the years when my husband and I were raising our children and moving around following a career, I did free-lance calligraphy and watercolor illustration, juried art shows, and shared my love of art history in my children’s classrooms.
During all these years, even though I was finding outlets for my creativity, I always wanted to learn Norwegian Rosemaling. My Grandparents immigrated to the United States in the late 1800’s from Telemark Norway and my Mother, when I was a child, was a Rosemaler. One of my earliest memories is sitting with my Mother as she painted.
Finally, in 2002, when our daughter went to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, I visited the Vesterheim for the first time. So much history and Norwegian culture and memories came flooding back. The Rosemaling I saw there, both the old and the contemporary, stunned me. It was so beautiful! I bought Rosemaled pieces and books to study and enjoy and started learning more and more about my ancestors. But of course, with my background, I wanted to learn how to paint! Finally, in 2006, after our youngest was off to college, the time was right for me to start Rosemaling. I found teachers and joined organizations and never looked back.
I studied with many Rosemaling teachers from the United States and Norway. I received a Folk Art Grant to study as an apprentice under Nancy Schmidt, VGM. By 2010 I was starting to teach and pushing myself to learn and paint and study every chance I got. I started entering competitions to hone my skills and receive feedback and critiques and in 2013 was awarded the Vesterheim Gold Medal in Rosemaling! I am still pinching myself.
I have now immersed myself more than ever in the painting and study of this incredibly beautiful Fork Art. I paint and teach all the major styles of Rosemaling, but my passion truly lies in painting Gudbrandsdal and the style of my ancestors, Telemark. I am in my studio every day and paint for commissions, have many private students, travel throughout the United States to teach seminars in Rosemaling and have worked with three apprentices through grants from the Wisconsin Arts Board.
In the summer of 2014 I traveled to Norway for the first time as part of a Vesterheim Folk Art Tour. We spent 17 days in the intense study of Rosemaling and Woodcarving. We visited many contemporary artists in their studios and saw a vast amount of the old awe-inspiring rosemaling and carving, many of them in situ. This study tour helped me to gain a greater understanding of the culture from which the Norwegian Folk Arts emerged. I am now more passionate than ever in the pursuit of my art.