I grew up in Coral Gables, Florida, the youngest of five children. I had a great childhood playing outside, surrounded by lush vegetation and skittering lizards under a brilliant blue sky. I loved visiting an attraction called the Parrot Jungle, where I was enchanted by the birds' bright, bold colors and patterned feathers. My interest in nature and my love of color evolved during these formative years.
I also spent a few childhood years in Ireland, where my father served as Ambassador during the Kennedy administration. The Irish landscape was a patchwork of sparkly greens, filled with cows, sheep and other animals I'd never seen in subtropical Miami. There were storybook castles and thatched roof cottages everywhere. I read about leprechauns in Irish folk stories and firmly believed in them!
These two very different environments greatly influenced my development as a visual artist. When I create book illustrations today, I still draw on these vivid childhood memories for inspiration.
I developed a love of language from my mother, a published poet. When I was little, she strung rhyming words together throughout the day for fun. My family also made up silly rhymes together at the dinner table. These early experiences taught me the sheer joy of playing with words. Their enduring influence is reflected in my rhyming picture books.
I majored in art at Occidental College in Los Angeles. After graduating, I held a variety of jobs - art gallery manager, special events coordinator and public relations director - while continuing to paint. I also designed covers for notecard companies and freelanced as a textile designer for the apparel industry, designing fabric for clothing sold at Lord & Taylor and other stores.
Years later, my art career took an unexpected turn. While visiting the zoo with my young children, they were amazed to see a flamingo standing on one leg - sound asleep. This inspired my first picture book, Some Sleep Standing Up. My artwork has been featured on puzzles, calendars and other products and exhibited in showcases such as the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show.
I love simplifying scientific concepts for young children and expressing my passion for rhythm, rhyme, color and pattern in my picture books. And nature, the ultimate designer, is always my muse.