I've lived with art and nature my entire life. Papers and crayons were my favorite toys. In grade school, if the lesson bored me, I would just turn the paper over and draw cats, dogs, flowers, houses, ballerinas. The nuns would smack my knuckles with metal edged rulers to put me back on task. When I went to high school, I signed up for Art I, followed by 2, 3 and 4. My teacher was Shelby Hill. I've tried to locate her to thank her and let her know how much she influenced me, so far without any luck. I earned a 5 year degree in design from the University of Cincinnati, a bachelor's degree in art education from the University of Akron and a masters degree in educational psychology from the University of Akron.
My first job was in the art department of U.S. Ceramic Tile where I designed murals and tiled layouts for swimming pools. The job was fun but the pay wasn't. After a couple years of part-time studies, I earned a K-12 degree in art education. As a traveling elementary art teacher in the Canton City Schools,I made many life-long friends and learned to survive the good and the challenging. I earned National Board Certification in Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood Art in 2001. My last three years in the system were dedicated to being the director of the Canton Arts Academy, a Canton City sponsored community school. It proved my theory that any student could learn through the arts. Surrounded by a dedicated staff and caring mentors, we were a success.
Somewhere in the middle of 33 1/2 years of teaching, I met Rudy Amatangelo, a water colorist extraordinaire. Watercolor painting has always been my nemesis. After attending his groups, my technique began to improve. I owe Rudy many thanks.
In 2005, I was invited to join Walsh University as an adjunct instructor. I currently teach one class in art history and one class in basic watercolor painting. This is not a job! The staff and students are like family to me and the experiences are most enjoyable.
My husband Al grew up on a farm. My grandfather, uncle and mother (Jan Smith, Lloyd Moinet and Don Moinet) were avid gardeners with the greenest of thumbs. Hopefully, a little has rubbed off. Living in suburbia has restrictions - lots of shade and very little space to grow anything but decorative garden beds. In 2012 we purchased our first farm, six acres in Lake Township. With lots of blood, sweat and tears, we converted a grassy field into a workable vegetable garden with a small greenhouse. in 2016, we purchased a second farm, located 2 1/2 miles away from farm #! in Marlboro Township. The decision to get out of Dodge was made immediately after the second farm purchase. Together, the 2 farms, officially called Firefly Farm, will hopefully bloom into what we are dreaming.......a peaceful home in the country, an art studio in the farm's former bull pen, lots of fresh air and sunshine. There is much to accomplish. Our journey has barely begun.
We recently started construction on a retirement home. If you'd like to see what's happening along the journey, kindly check out my blog.