My parents, John Howard and Eva Ralf, met while both were performing in the New York Broadway musical "Hazel Flag." A few years later, I was born in Los Angeles, California.
Thanks to encouragement from my fifth-grade teacher (I think her name was Charlotte Duque?), who made a lovely pen and ink drawing of me while I sat reading a book, I began to think of myself as an artist. My mother, who taught all levels of classical ballet for twenty years, ran a family business with my sister and I taking her classes plus learning to teach, and also my brother accompanying classes on piano. I eventually became her colleague, teaching ballet and performing modern dance in Los Angeles, until injuries and then marriage led me to pursue finishing my fine arts degree in San Francisco, CA.
Interestingly, most of my family was or is involved in the arts, including my in-laws!
While the necessities of marketing require that our work be identified in terms of media, genre and style, I wish that we artists -- particularly those of us who can work in various disciplines -- would not have to be pigeonholed into categories. I am aware that a few are not.
A full list would be too long, but here are some artists (some of them my teachers), whose work in some way has informed mine: Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Stock, Jay De Feo, Frida Kahlo, Dorothy Cross, Lucien Freud, Martha Alf, Tom Akawie, Julius Hatofsky, Carlos Villa, Franklin Williams, Bruce McGaw, Martine Jardel, Alex Grey, Francesca Pastine, Hifumi Ogawa, P.K. Kelly, Hadley Northrop, Ciara Bedingfield, Lesie Bauer, Amanda Haas, Nancy White, Johanna Baruch, Marta Sanchez-Vasquez...and many mlore. Some of these artists are good friends, who continue to inspire and teach me. My thanks to Bob Hsiang for all these years of photographing my art--and me. My deepest thanks to my husband, family, and friends, for all their support.
My 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, and also to Mara Freeman for her Celtic workshops at the University of California, Santa Cruz.