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American Artist Appreciation Month Series/A Bit About Gwen

I received my BS in Theatre Arts Education. I wanted to get my masters in directing. I learned that more than performing, I loved taking a play and working with actors to create something fun and interesting. I was also drawn to costume design and spent a lot of time working in the costume shop at ECU.

Appolo for Wagn Festus from 12th Night Evil Stepsister from Cinderella

Life doesn't always take us in the direction we think we are going in. Not long after graduation I met Nick and fell in love. My priorities changed. We moved out to what I call "Wild Serenity." I started doing outdoor art, creating a garden grill area complete with hanging art. I also got into photographing the wildlife we encountered on the property. When we moved out to the woods, I had fantasies of making friends with all the animals like Snow White. Nick and I both decided that it would be a bad idea to get the wild animals habituated to us. We didn't want them to try making friends with other people who would not be as happy to see them eating their trees and making a mess of their yards. We enjoyed seeing them and still try to provide them with a safe haven without interfering with their natural inclinations. throughout the year we could identify over 40 species of birds, along with many other mammals, insects, and reptiles.

I sold a few works including a wall mural and a window. I have also been playing with different media.

Now my main muse is still Jim and the colony cats. I have been working on a new book. It will be a collection of stories, quotes, and poems with artistic photos to accompany each written piece. The goal is to make this a more family-friendly book. Instead of using straight photo images, I have been playing with filters and other enhancements to change each photo into a whole new work of art. There are some limits to this method, but I have been enjoying the exploration.

I am hoping to complete the book sometime next year. One of the great things about using this medium is the ability to make different versions of the same picture usually in one day, Then I can decide which version I like the best. Sometimes I find that the picture I have chosen will only allow for certain kinds of modifications before it just looks like a sloppy mess.

I hope you have enjoyed this article and the series as a whole. Loving animals and writing about them has taken me in many directions, each path is a new chance to explore an aspect of the animals I haven't necessarily considered before. I am enjoying the journey and love that you are on it with me.

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