I was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1951. At that time it was an active industrial community with potteries and steel mills lining the banks of the Ohio River. We lived across the river in Newell, W. Virginia, close to the Homer Laughlin China Company where my dad worked.
When I was 5, we moved to a house on a hill across the river in East Liverpool. It was here that I began to develop my love for trees, birds and just about anything living. The surrounding woods were a source of comfort and intrigue that provides inspiration for my art today.
I earned a BFA in Painting from the University of Idaho in 1974. However, my first formal instruction in art was in sixth grade where I sat among adults making copies of paintings in oil. I had no quality instruction until I went to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA between my junior and senior years of high school. There I sat among peers, most from excellent high school programs, and learned the discipline necessary and the thick skin required to pass through art academia. The day after graduating from high school in 1969, I left Ohio for Boulder, Colorado. That was during the Vietnam War period, campus protests and art teachers too stoned to come to class. I hung around for two years, long enough to meet my husband, then went East to the Philadelphia College of Art to study illustration. The learning environment there was highly competitive. The work load built discipline - an important component of self-employment. However, I felt compelled to head west again, this time to study at the San Francisco Art Institute. Walking the hills through many neighborhoods in San Francisco provided adventure and an invigorating contrast to previous locales. However, the school was too loosely structured for my taste, so I did not object to finishing my education with my husband in Moscow, Idaho. My post secondary education was distinctly colored by the contrasting experiences I had in the varied locations, embellishing the instruction I received at each institution.
While in school at U of I, my husband introduced me to his professor of ornithology and mammalogy, Earl Larrison. He was an author of narrative field guides who hired me to illustrate his book, Mammals of the Northwest published by Seattle Audubon Society. I spent many hours in a room surrounded by animal skeletons and drawers of study skins, carefully making anatomically accurate ink line drawings. This was followed by work on Larrisonâ€™s Birds of the Northwest. At the same time, I was hired to do oil paintings of a selection of birds for Familiar Birds of the Northwest by H. B. Nehls, published by the Portland Audubon Society. After a move to pastoral Puget Island, WA., near the mouth of the Columbia River, I illustrated Strictly Fish: A Seafood Cookbook for the Northwest Fishermenâ€™s Wives.
In the early 80s, after a move to Olympia, WA, we had two daughters, who introduced a deeper layer of love, challenge and self awareness. Experiencing life vicariously through the eyes of a child is always uplifting. Their interaction with their environment is a reminder of the incredible world we inhabit, the pulse of life right under our noses. No job is more complicated than parenting, nor so full of opportunities to grow. My experience as a parent continues to add dimension to my life and work. It also prepared me to become a better academic support tutor and art teacher.
In the mid 1980s I sought broader gallery representation and began selling work through galleries and agents in Denver, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Seattle. For more than two decades Iâ€™ve done commissions in watercolor or acrylic for private and public spaces. Some of the companies that have purchased my work are the Boeing Corporation; Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Adams Mark, Westin and Stouffer Hotels; First Union Bank of Charlotte; Coca Cola, Atlanta; Disney, Los Angeles; Cheyenne Mountain Lodge, CO; Delnore Health and Fitness, Chicago; and Pepsi Cola Company, Denver.
Periodically I take on an illustration project. The largest of these was in 1995, for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, to develop and paint images to represent the flora and fauna of the Urban, Shrub-steppe, and Marine ecosystems in our state. A fourth painting depicted Watershed Restoration Partnerships. They are available at no cost from WDFW. To order, call Carol Gleckler (360) 459-0387.
In 2000 I became a member of the adjunct faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. I teach courses in drawing, design and painting. In 2005 I taught a program that included taking 30 students to Florence, Italy. Evergreen is an institution that promotes concurrent faculty and student learning. As such, my work there has broadened my knowledge base and experience, while giving me an opportunity to pass on the wisdom Iâ€™ve accumulated working for over three decades as a professional artist.
My work reflects the deep connection I have with natureâ€™s energy, the teeming life that buzzes around us while we (often mindlessly) carry on, immersed in our thoughts. Some of my work simply celebrates the color, shapes, lines and forms that catch my eye and stimulate my imagination. I like drawing from life, then shaping compositions with my imagination. I paint from my drawings, which develop from sketches and photos that are inspired by experiences. These experiences might be quite small â€“ a sudden, unusual sighting of a great blue heron perched in a tree, our dogs playing on Puget Sound beaches, a sharp-shinned hawk snatching a pine siskin from our feeder, an arrangement of flowers brought in from the garden. These simple sights, memories from my childhood playing in the Ohio woods, and dream imagery, give me pieces to weave into little stories that explore my sense of being in this world. A coma, caused by post-surgical complications in 1995, deepened my spirituality and interest in the state between life and death and the cycle of seasons. I explore that in some of my paintings as well.
I am easily bogged down by the challenges we face as a global community consuming limited resources. By sharing my work with a larger audience, I hope to reflect natureâ€™s magical beauty and remind us to care for each other and Earthâ€™s resources, which sustain us all.