Q. How did you get involved with the Gobble de Art program?
A. Initially I was a part of a committee to approve the designs of the Hokie Birds. We had to go through the idea process and figure out how it was going to work. We had strict guidelines set by The Blacksburg Partnership and Virginia Tech Licensing and our job was to decide what was appropriate. It was a quite a fun process with the dinners and the auctions. I found out that one of the committee members had already painted a bird or two, and I said, “Gosh I want to paint one too but I thought we weren’t allowed.” So I got vocal. I made a statement—I expressed a desire.
Q. What is your favorite part about working on a bird?
A. The design process and the creativity involved. Especially if I’m working with a client. For instance, I did a project for the fire department in Blacksburg. They wanted a commemorative bird, I painted a fireman bird and it had a certain process. It is a part of decoration if you will and it is used for a certain purpose. Working for 4-H at Smith Mountain Lake was a lot of fun. Especially the school bus safety bird. I had to work out the design to tell a story, to be representative of an idea. The bird sent a message and was able to teach children through pictures. I mentioned the fireman Hokie Bird. The challenge I had with that was making the bird cute enough so it wouldn’t scare young children so that they could use it to teach. When you’re targeting children you need to make the eyes big and bright and colorful. I’ve enjoyed the painting but I really enjoy the design. I’ve enjoyed seeing the joy that others have when they see the Hokie Birds.
Q. What is the most difficult aspect?
A. To be honest, it is the painting process itself. Some of it goes quickly and you think that you’re making good progress. The precision and detail that I like to put into the bird is very time consuming so that’s the most difficult part. The precision that I enjoy putting into my bird creates a slow down and with that comes impatience and that can become difficult. I mount my bird on a little rolling stand, it has rollers on the bottom so I can move it to better lighting. The birds are big and cumbersome so if I didn’t have that it would be difficult. I’ve created ways to make it physically easy for me, but at times, I get bogged down with detail. Sometimes you find that the paint didn’t turn out as well, so with the help of sandpaper you can correct things. It is a labor of love. It is a self imposed problem. I want my presentation to be as good as I can make it. It is a carry over with what I do with my own art.
Q. What other kinds of art do you do?
A. I was an art major in college, I started at Mary Washington- it was called college then, Mary Washington College. I’ve been an active artist with water media and water colors.
Q. Is there anything that you would like to add?
A. I’ve enjoyed each Hokie Bird for different reasons, I’ve enjoyed meeting the people who have wanted to create the Hokie Birds. It has been an experience to be able to work with new people and make sure they get what they want and deserve. It brings joy to a lot of people beyond those that commission the Hokie Birds. The end result brings smiles and joy and fun even if the process isn’t always fun.