I was raised on the side of a remote mountain in New Jersey and then moved with my family to the Houston, Texas metro area when I was 16. I now reside with my two rescue hounds, four rescue cats, and one rescue husband in the wilds of North Carolina, which very much resembles my childhood home. We have grown offspring and grandchildren, all of whom we are very proud.
I have always held a pencil in my hand – like a bird with a twig, it is my instinctual tool.
Living from breath to breath
When I was 4-years-old, I drowned in a half-frozen, slushy, brackish pond in my grandparents’ back yard in NJ. I was fished out and resuscitated by my grandfather Aldwyn, after whom I named myself. I struggled with severe asthma my whole childhood; woke up once in an oxygen tent in the hospital. This was before the advent of nebulizers, so many nights I just had to tough it out with the aid of a humidifier and Vic’s vapor rub.
I missed a lot of school and fun outings because I was sick a lot, however, I still enjoyed a magical, adventurous childhood roaming the forest that surrounded our house with my brother and sister and the few, valued friends that would be driven out to visit.
I kept a secret story journal with imaginary characters that I elaborately illustrated with pencil. They were my first storyboards!
I did finally grow out of my childhood asthma. The discipline of dance I discovered in college really woke my body up and helped me forge a healthy and creative lifestyle.
I love Mac
I love my computer. Mac and I have had a long, creative relationship. I attended the first Macintosh Summit in 1992 in Santa Barbara and had a class with Adobe Photoshop pioneer Russel Brown, and attended seminars by Kai Krause and saw David Blatner roll out QuarkXPress. I attended a seminar led by a National Geographic photographer, who discussed the ethics of tampering with photographs. I had lunch with Sesame Street creators and cartoonists. I rubbed shoulders with staff from Hallmark Cards. It was terrific!
Science and art
In the late 80s, I was working my way through college as a graphics specialist for the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of Houston. I graduated cum laude with a degree in Fine Art. My paintings were included in juried shows at the Blaffer Art Gallery. My illustrations appeared in scientific journals such as Science magazine and Physical Review. I illustrated Symmetry and Chaos by Martin Golubitsky and Ian Stewart, created a painting for NASA, and cartoons for short courses for the American Chemical Society.
Breath, alignment, focus, balance, imagination, awareness, movement, direction, shape, flexibility, courage – DANCE!
I was a participant in the vibrant UH Dance Theatre, and my solo choreography was one of two pieces selected to represent the University at the American College Dance Festival in 1989. I was also the solo performer in a piece called “Dancing Entrances”, by 4th year architecture students under the direction of Professor Bruce Webb, in which we went all over Houston and they filmed me making whimsical dance interpretations of entrances through all types of buildings. This was presented at a CUbit Symposium in Norway.
I also participated in a lyric performance workshop in Boulder, Colorado held by Marianne Faithful and Hal Milner, hiked all over the mountain tops while I was there and attended poetry readings by beat poets Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, and others. I also got an elaborate autograph from David Hockney!
One helluva print landfill
I left the University to work at a local newspaper for a year where I learned a lot about the mysteries of the 4-color printing process. Several of my political cartoons were published.
I went on to work for ADVO, Inc., a national direct mail house, and after a few years as a production artist, I was promoted to a national team of creative artists, who worked with the regional sales teams to produce spec ads for national clients such as Firestone, Pennzoil, Goodyear, Albertson’s, Curves, Nationwide Insurance, Domino’s Pizza, Academy, along with a host of clients from every advertising category you can think of, from cellular phones, carpet sales, dry cleaners, car repair, funeral homes, grocery stores, restaurants, hardware stores – you name it. Enjoyed daily walks and talks and starship camaraderie (we all worked in one big room) with my co-workers that made the stress of the high pressure deadlines bearable.
I hopped around a lot as a temporary in between long-term employment and worked as a graphic designer in a variety of settings, from the Houston Business Journal to Oshman’s. Technology has come a long way since then, and for that I am exceedingly grateful. Back then, you could stay up half the night just waiting for a proof to print that had to be ready by morning.
I then worked a couple years as a contract graphic designer for American National Insurance company in Galveston, where I designed brochures, sales incentive collateral and their annual report. It was so cold in the only skyscraper in town, that I could feel my fingers freezing to the keyboard.
I fear that in my own personal hell in the afterlife, I will be eternally shoveling out the landfill of all the brochures, ads and junk mail that I designed, and composting them.
Only evacuating once, and that’s it.
Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. Friends who evacuated stayed with us in Galveston, and we all watched on tv, horrified, as their neighborhood was slowly submerged in the storm surge. A short time later we ourselves evacuated from Hurricane Rita. We joined the exodus of millions fleeing Houston from the hurricane, fleeing at a snail’s pace. The trip to Palestine, Texas which normally took 4 hours, lengthened to 31 hours, moving at an agonizing 5 mph, stop and go, the entire way. (There is much more to this story…)
Deciding afterwards that someone else might like living in our house and evacuating from hurricanes, we packed up and left Galveston for North Carolina in 2007. Good thing, too, because in 2008 Hurricane Ike made turtle soup out of Galveston. My husband had to go back there and fix up our house, which was as yet unsold. We admire (and miss) our friends who stayed and rebuilt their community from the ground up.
Adventures in non-profit and corporate marketing
I worked as a marketing Art Director at the Museum of Life and Science in North Carolina for 7 years – it was a great job, working with wonderfully inventive, creative people from various departments: development, external relations, membership, education, exhibits, animal care.
Collaborated with Weller’s lively and dedicated global marketing team to produce digital and print collateral for product launches and advertising. We explored Dropbox Business and Dropbox Paper as a way to escape conventional email and to build trust and efficiency in our creative development and proofing processes, and to demolish any language or geographical barriers. No ocean could stand between us.
I also learned a whole lot about the ancient art and science of soldering from Weller’s experts in the U.S. and abroad, and wrote a brief history of Weller that appears in Weller’s 68-page brand guidelines and on Weller’s website.
Sang with the Choral Society of Durham and their Chamber Choir under the direction of Rodney Wynkoop for 2 years. We performed many classic and contemporary pieces, among those my favorite and most challenging piece ever: Hindemith’s exhiliarating “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d: A Requiem for Those We Love.”
As a volunteer, I redesigned their logo and wrote some blurbs, and created some website banners, posters, and Instapage landing pages to publicize our performances. I particularly enjoyed the excuse it gave me to research the composers and music.
Animation moves me
I’ve spent the 2020-21 pandemic immersed in Adobe Character Animator CC, and have several animation ideas working. I love creating characters and making them come to life.
- Adobe Creative Cloud, mainly with Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Acrobat, Character Animator
- Drupal and WordPress
- Microsoft Office
- Dropbox Business Admin, including Dropbox Paper, plus experience with other collaborative platforms like Trello, Basecamp, Google Drive, etc.
- Drawing – cartoons and pencil/pen/brush illustration
- Acrylic painting
- Figuring out how to do stuff
To all those that have stood by me, cheered me on, and inspired me in my good times and bad, I am deeply grateful. There are some of you I could never repay or replace in my life. Thank you for being there.
I particularly want to give a shout out to Richard Balsam, who put a Rapidograph ink pen in my hand and showed me how to draw straight lines and circles, and use a Leroy lettering set. He gave me my first real graphics job, back in the day when everything was done by hand. Up to that point, I was barely eking out a living working various minimum wage jobs in plant nurseries, a frame shop, a delicatessen, and child care. I was also singing in bands, drawing portraits in common markets, and making “wire art.” Thank you, Richard!