It’s No Fun Being In The Middle
I grew up on a farm near St. Denis, Saskatchewan, Canada. I later moved to the nearby city of Saskatoon where I studied and worked as an orthopedic nurse for ten years. During that time, I avoided the long, cold Canadian winters by traveling extensively throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast and Central Asia, East and West Africa, Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Central America, the South Pacific and the Orient. These remarkable countries, their people, and vibrant nature inspired me to share my experiences through painting.
I did not have any formal training in the arts but learned through books and countless hours of practice. The advantage to being self taught was having the freedom to develop my own style and techniques, although learning through trial and error can sometimes be a slow process. I eventually settled on using acrylics, ink and an airbrush to help create the atmosphere that I look for. I have shown my work in numerous art shows in Canada and the United States; have created stage designs, wall murals, and posters; and have illustrated a textbook for Saskatchewan schools.
Several years ago, I was looking for a new subject to paint and came across a photo of five fuzzy little brown birds huddled tightly together on a branch. When I was nearly finished painting my interpretation of the photo, I added a humorous aspect by depicting the middle bird ‘mad’. I titled the painting, “It’s No Fun Being in the Middle”. With the lifelong desire to illustrate children’s book in the back of my mind, I painted a few more images of my five little animated blue birds, incorporating the important aspect of humor with the same discontented little bird. The paintings were fun and made people smile and laugh at art shows which encouraged me to continue the little birds’ adventures around the world. I added clothing and accessories relating to the country they were in and had them encounter interesting birds from that country. I felt by keeping the blue birds in their own animated world while observing realistically depicted birds in their natural habitat, would make for an interesting perspective that children could relate to. Dozens of paintings later, my husband was polished in providing the humorous titles while my three daughters offered an unlimited amount of comical ideas.
Although I did not have a story to go along with my submissions, I sent several copies of my art to publishers with hope that they could see the potential for a fun, educational story for children about birds and geography. The Blues, including discontented little Uno, happily found their home at Dawn Publications.
I enjoy observing birds and seeing how each species is so different from one another. As I continue to learn more about them and their unique behavior, the more I realize their beauty and understand their importance in our ecosystem.
I’ve always had a great appreciation and respect for the magnificence of nature around the world and it is an honor to have the opportunity to paint and share with children a small part of it.