My love affair with art began as a young woman in New York City. It was not my first love, but it became my greatest. My first love was music. I studied classical piano from the time I was about eight years old into my mid-twenties but decided to switch gears and pursue visual arts when I realized there was no way I would be a concert pianist with the little hands I was blessed with.
I came home from music school with my tail between my legs, so to speak, and began pestering my father to send me to The School of Visual Arts in New York. He resisted for several semesters, so I got a job and earned the money to register for night school. Eventually, I completed a three-year Fine Art Certificate program, as SVA was not yet accredited.
After leaving school, I began working in the graphic design and advertising field, doing primarily technical line art and mechanicals. (This was before computer graphics had taken over the market.) After that, I did marker renderings and layouts for ad agencies, eventually leaving New York and settling upstate, near Albany.
After five years, I left the ad agency, which unfortunately coincided with the flip to computer graphics. I returned to school to become computer literate, and while there, I discovered the Internet.
I received a BFA in Graphic Design with a specialty in Web Design from the State University of NY. I began a new career in web design and development. I worked in NY, then moved to Florida, where I spent two years working in print advertising again. It seemed as if no one here had yet heard about the Web!
Eventually, I got a job with eAngler, a local fishing resource, during the Web explosion for two years. I then moved to WUSF Public Media in 2001, first as a Web Designer and then as a WebMaster. Finally, after about ten years, I became the Director of Digital Services until 2020.
At that point, I retired and returned to my first REAL love, painting….that music thing was just a crush, I guess. I felt it was time to reconnect to the physical part of self-expression and that it probably wouldn’t hurt to find a good teacher after so long away from the paints! During that process, I discovered pastels and my current mentor and teacher, Shawn Dell Joyce! I started showing my work and recently won several awards, including an award at the Carrollwood Cultural Center in the Emerging Artist’s show. Very grateful for that experience!
I recently accepted the position of Art Curator at The Gallery at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. I am honored to serve this extraordinary organization and the Tampa Bay Community. My mentor always says that success occurs in clusters! Encouraging other artists to work and show and succeed is extremely rewarding! When we work together, we all succeed.
Willow can be reached at [email protected].