Sometimes, peope ask me, "when did you start writing and telling stories?" Or, "when did you start painting?" I started telling stories about as soon as I learned to talk. Once I discovered the power of a pencil - or crayon - for writing down words and drawing pictures, I never stopped. I learned to read very early, and soon was pouring through all the books and magazines my parents had collected. I used to hide books all over the house, so no matter what room I was in, I could dig out my stories and disappear into a magical world someone else had created.
I always liked to draw and started taking art lessons when I was eight. I rode my bike to Mrs. Haye's house every Saturday morning and learned the magic of paint. My little sister, Linda Frayne- Kemp went along with me. She's been a very successful professional artist for many years. Later I studied palette knife with Roger Rondeau. I studied Art in high school with Shirley Owens, then majored in Visual Art and English Literature and completed a Double Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Western Ontario. I studied drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, art history, art theory and art criticism and in English Literature. Then, on to the University of Toronto where I did a double specialist degree in Visual Art and English Language and earned a Bachelor of Education.
I taught High School Visual Art and English and acquired a Master's of Education in Curriculum Design from Brock University. I've continued to take courses in both Creative Writing and the Arts through the years. It's essential to keep learning - especially in our rapidly changing world.
I first lived on the outskirts of a small town, and later our family moved to a working farm. I could drive a tractor by the time I was twelve and helped with the production of tender fruit. And mucked out stalls. The big draw on the farm was that we had farm animals and most importantly - horses. We had a cottage in the northern woods on a small lake. Those things are huge influences in my writing. My dad was a lawyer and my mom was a nurse. They were fantastic role models. My best inspiration comes to me when I am in quiet country settings - and then the words and pictures just flow like magic!
'The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.' Pablo Picasso
ART - I paint in oil or acrylic on canvas. I've exhibited at Rodman Hall in St. Catharines, the McIntosh Gallery in London, Ontario; the Burlington Art Centre, Burlington, Ontario, the Pumphouse Gallery in Niagara-on-the-Lake and in the Rotary Room at the NOTL Community Centre.
My work is colourful and expressive and conveys the feeling or mood of a place or experience. I've enjoyed doing a series of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II that reflect the various time periods and art styles in her life. All paintings are glazed and wired - ready to hang.
I started taking painting lessons as a young child, studied art in high school and university and have worked with many marvellous instructors. There is no right or wrong way in art - and artists throughout time have chosen mediums and styles to suit their subjects, advances in technology and historical developments.
But passion has to be there - and the ability to share the passion with someone else.
'I think kids want the same thing from a book that adults want - a fast-paced story, characters worth caring about, humour, surprises, and mystery. A good book always keeps you asking questions, and makes you keep turning pages so you can find out the answers.' Rick Riordan
WORDS - I write in a variety of styles and genres. I started writing for local papers as a high school student, and have since been published in local papers, on line publications in Canada and the US, and in several anthologies. I have done public readings in school classrooms, at the Niagara Falls Public Library, the St. Catharines Public Library, the NOTL Strawberry Festival and other local venues.
I won a National Award (USA) for writing in the online publication Stage of Life, and have been published on CommuterLit. I've won awards for Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry in the Rising Spirits Contest in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. These publications are available on Amazon.com. My historical fiction novel, Caught Between the Walls was released by Bygones Publishing. This is the incredible (mostly true) story of unfortunate souls who were trapped in the old Niagara Courthouse and Gaol between 1817- 1920. It's a marvellous insight into a forgotten, fascinating tale of Canadian History.
I love storytelling and the opportunity to read to others.
I am the Editor of this outstanding CAA Anthology, and will be doing a public reading of several stories. Please join us at the St. Catharines Public Library on March 24th.