"I like to tell my father-in-law that he is really a scenery farmer. I was born and raised in Iowa and I grew up visiting farms in the Northeast Iowa, where my family hails from. I later married into a family that also has there and through them I came to know the most beautiful place on earth—four hundred acres of heaven—a century farm, miles from what could be considered anywhere. It was this place, and these people, that inspired me to paint landscapes. I knew what a traditional landscape should look like, but I hoped that I could paint something that would relay how I felt when I was a part of these landscapes—standing at the crest of the hill pieces, dwarfed by the giant hay bales, humbled by the massive clouds overhead and great expansiveness of scenery around me. I realized that these landscapes would be different, that these vistas were more powerful than passive, saturated with color, and awe-inspiring in their scale.
I received my BA in Art from The University of Iowa, but that is only part of the education that influences my work. The rest I’ve learned from the insight and patience of the people who live in these landscapes. My father-in-law put a bright yellow parasol on an old Oliver tractor and taught me how to rake hay, and I paint hay differently now. He explained the process of putting oat into shocks and I paint oat shocks differently now. The fields look different from the seat of a tractor. Rows look different after you’ve raked them yourself. These experiences change not only my relationship with these vistas, but also the paintings that they inspire me to paint.