I grew up in a small town on top of the Palisades in New Jersey. From my bedroom window, I could see the famous skyline of New York City. As a child, I always wanted to be an artist or a veterinarian. By eight years old, I had cats, dogs, fish, snakes, a monkey, and even a camel. I spent many weekends in New York City browsing through museums and art galleries.
At school, the art teacher considered me “unteachable,” yet now my paintings hang in galleries and collections around the world. Because my lines were never straight and my paintings didn't have dimension, teachers told me they were wrong. My school wasn't progressive enough to recognize primitive painting as a legitimate art form.
I studied filmmaking at UCLA in California and went on the road to document a rodeo team, a long-distance trucker, and even the birth of a baby. Home was a beach house in Malibu, California, furnished with the discarded furniture of movie stars. I had Flip Wilson’s lawn chairs and Barbra Streisand’s settee. To finance my studies, I worked odd jobs, including running the movie projector at the Malibu cinema, chauffeuring residents of Beverly Hills, and fertilizing cacti with a silver spoon at a desert nursery. My odd job now is creating books for children.
On completing my studies, I moved to the Caribbean island of Montserrat, where I began her career as a painter. I later moved to London and eventually to Fremantle, West Australia, where I now reside.
I now have more than forty picture books published throughout the world. Traveling continues to be a major source of inspiration for my work as I render my impression of a country and its way of life in oil and gouache paintings. My greatest ambition is to instil pride and self-esteem in children about their unique heritage and their own ability to capture in it pictures and words.
Three Things You May Not Know About Me:
When I was a little girl, my father brought a pet camel home for me.
My husband, Mark, (the author of many of my books) and I met on Aprils Fools’ Day at a wake in Bali. Neither one of us knew the person who died, but it looked like a good party.
My studio is full of curious objects. I have animal skulls, feathers, old bottles from ghost towns, rocks in natural heart shapes, postcards by favorite artists, and paintings by my friends.