My parents have more interesting stories than mine: John Howard and Eva Ralf met when both of them were performing in a Broadway musical called "Hazel Flagg." I was born a while later in Los Angeles, California, where I grew up.
Encouraged by fifth grade teacher, Charlotte Duque, I began to see myself as an artist when she assigned me to paint a large portrait of the Franciscan friar, Junipero Serra, for our class history project. (She also made a pen and ink drawing of me as I sat reading a book, which I wish I still had.) When I was twelve, my parents were hired to teach at a Waldorf school, and we moved to the San Fernando Valley. My mother began giving classical ballet lessons at a local YMCA when I was fifteen; my sister and I took her classes, and soon one of our brothers accompanied on piano. At Roland Dupree Dance Academy, and The Dancers' Studio on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, where Eva taught, I also began to teach beginning ballet, while performing modern dance with Richard Oliver Dance Co., plus a brief stint with Rudy Perez Dancers. Upon moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, I continued to teach preschoolers for a few years near Palo Alto, and took local art courses. One of my drawing instructors, Skip Cantwell, suggested to some of my fellow students and me that we apply to the San Francisco Art Institute. I quickly took him up on this. My husband and I moved near SFAI, where I completed my B.F.A. degree.
(While the necessities of marketing require that artworks be identified in terms of media, genre, and style, I wish that we would not have to be pigeonholed into categories. There are those who do work in various disciplines, which I admire.)
A partial list of artists whose work has informed mine over the years: Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Jay De Feo and Wally Hedrick, Frida Kahlo, Lucien Freud, Martha Alf, Dorothy Cross, Alex Grey, and SFAI art instructors* Tom Akawie, Julius Hatofsky, Carlos Villa, Franklin Williams, Bruce McGaw, Martine Jardel, Francesca Pastine, Hifumi Ogawa, P.K. Kelly, Hadley Northrop, Ciara Bedingfield, Leslie Bauer, Amanda Haas, Nancy White, Johanna Baruch, Marta Sanchez-Vasquez, Maartha Lucy. Some are still friends who continue to inspire and teach me. My thanks also to Bob Hsiang for years of excellent art photography. Deepest thanks to my husband, family, friends, and patrons for all your support.
* Sincere appreciation also goes to all those with whom I studied at Mt. St. Mary's College, Foothill Community College, City College of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Art Institute. Mara Freeman's Celtic workshops at U.C. Santa Cruz helped me immeasurably while I was immersed in studies of The White Goddess (Robert Graves) and ancient tree lore. "Moran taing!"